Mar 2, 2011

"I am what I am and that's all that I am!"


'Gobs' of Work, the first appearance of Popeye

Popeye the Sailor Man! He fights to the finish, cause he eats his spinach, and Bluto doesn’t stand a chance! But, he wasn’t always a cartoon, or even the main character! In fact Popeye was once a comic strip for Thimble Theatre, and wasn’t even a character at all until his first appearance in 1929. Now before I get into too much detail about his first appearance, lets discuss who were the original main characters in the Thimble comic strip series before Popeye showed up. First there was a character we’re all familiar with, Olive Oyl, and her original boyfriend Harold Hamgravy. As time went on Harold Hamgravy eventually evolved into just Ham Gravy. Following this, more characters began to appear into the series, such as Olive Oyl’s family members. But still there was no Popeye, but on January 17th 1929, Popeye made his first appearance in the comic strip “Gobs’ of Work”, where he worked for Ham Gravy, and Olive’s brother Castor Oyl on a boat. Of course in this first appearance, Popeye still played a minor part in the plot. But, just as quickly as Popeye left the strip, he instantly returned in the next one. Apparently Popeye had gained popularity amongst the readers of Thimble comics, and soon began to overshadow almost of the other characters. As the comic strip saga continued to feature Popeye, slowly all of the original main characters began to drop out of the comic series one by one. Ham Gravy disappeared from the comic series after Olive Oyl leaves him for Popeye. Castor Oyl managed to stay in the series for a long time, still playing the same main character, only now including Popeye in many of his profit gaining misadventures. But soon Castor Oyl left the series as well, after he decides to become a detective and moves to a ranch out in the west. With Ham and Castor gone, only one Character managed to stay through the series alongside Popeye, and that was Olive Oyl. In 1932, Thimble comics caught the attention of Fleischer studios, and from there Popeye became an animated cartoon. In 1933, the first Popeye cartoon series was officially released by Paramount Pictures, and would continue to be shown for the next 25 years.   


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