I yam what I yam an’ tha’s all I yam!

by on July 1st, 2014
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Segar Popeye

In January of 1929, a squinty sailor made a cameo in “Thimble Theater,” the daily strip Elzie Crisler Segar drew for the New York Journal. By July, the sailor had muscled his way into a leading role, as E.C. Segar acknowledged in “Thimble Theater – Starring Popeye the Sailor.”

Though Popeye was a gambler, a smoker, and a brawler, he redeemed himself with salt-of-the-earth wisdom a love of canned spinach… that gave him extra energy for another fistfight, usually with his enemy, Bluto a/k/a Brutus.

Popeye proclaimed his bravery (“I yam not ascared of no man on Eart’.”) as readily as his finer feelings (“Ol’ ‘Salty’ Bill Barnacle – I yam so glad to see ya, I got to hug ya!”) and was sensitive to disrespect (“Well blow me down. The way they treats me is something scandilum!!”)

E.C. Segar brought us to an off-kilter world populated by odd, scrappy characters – Bernice the whiffle hen, Eugene the Jeep, Alice the Goon of Goon Island, the Sea Hag and Bernard the vulture, and that hamburger moocher, (J. Wellington) Wimpy.

However, from the moment we met Popeye, we identified with the oddest, scrappiest character of all: “I’m only a common sailor but I got sensitivity.”

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Categories: PhLog

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