Popeye Google Doodle
December 8th 2009 saw the Google homepage taken over by a doodle paying tribute to what would have been E. G Segar’s 115th birthday. E. G. Segar was made famous for the creation of the animated strongman Popeye. The Popeye Google Doodle featured the super strong seaman, who comprised the “G” of the logo, punching the Google logo in order to extract spinach from a tin. Viewers of the cartoon will be aware that the consumption of spinach was the source of Popeye’s superhuman strength. The “oogl” of the logo in the Popeye Google Doodle was drawn in Segar’s trademark style. The Popeye Google Doodle can be viewed by clicking here.
Popeye the sailor, was first introduced to the world in January 1929. He appeared in Segar’s newspaper comic strip “Thimble Theatre”. Segar was born on December 8th 1894, in the state of Illinois. From an early age he displayed talent for drawing and illustration. During his early adult life he worked as a film projectionist, whilst attending a correspondence course in cartooning. He later travelled to Chicago in order to pursue a career as a professional illustrator.
Fans of the series may be surprised to learn that Popeye initially appeared as a guest character in the comic series, Thimble Theatre, which Segar had been running for ten years. Thimble Theatre appeared in the New York Journal. The series’ leading lady was none other than Olive Oyl, who later became the Seaman’s love interest. Popeye made his entrance to the Thimble Theatre when Castor Oyl, Olive Oyl’s older brother, required a mariner in order to negotiate the journey to Dice Island. Upon searching the docks he found Popeye, whose first words in the series were “Ja think I’m a cowboy?” Once Popeye had completed his sequence he was removed from the comic strip. However, Popeye returned to Thimble Theatre as the leading character, due to the numerous written complaints Segar received from members of the public following his removal. Following his return, Popeye and Olive quickly became a couple and remain so to this day, despite the best made plans of Popeye’s love rival, Bluto.
Segar choose spinach as the source of Popeye’s superhuman strength based on a German study written in 1870 he had read, which reported that the green leaved plant contained the same amount of iron as was found in red meat. In addition to Popeye, Segar also created and illustrated The Five Fifteen comic strip for King Features in 1920. The Five Fifteen was renamed Sappo in 1926 and ran as a topper for Thimble Theatre Sunday page’s.
Like so many of the twentieth centuries creative geniuses Segar died young, aged just 43 on October 13th 1938. His death was attributed to a combination of leukaemia and lung cancer. However despite his early death, Segar’s animated legacy and Popeye have lived on. Popeye later went on to become a comic book hero. These comic books were initially illustrated and written by Bud Sagendorf. Popeye enjoyed a number of television series’ and has even made appearances in other animated television shows including The Simpsons, South Park and even Family Guy. Popeye was rewarded 20th place in the 2002 TV Guide list of “50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time”.
1980 saw Popeye step away from the small screen and take on human form in the live action musical which featured Robin Williams as the loveable seaman. The film was extremely successful as the box office profits were double the films budget. Popeye is set to make a return to the big screen in 2015, this time the movie will be a 3-D animation.