Popeye Day is a holiday that’s observed annually on the 17th of January. This day commemorates the fictional cartoon character that was created by Elzie Crisler Segar and debuted on this date in 1929.
Although he wasn’t a central character in this debut, his popularity skyrocketed and he soon became a cultural icon. Over the past 9+ decades, Popeye has appeared in countless comic books, television cartoons, video games, and advertisements.
He is so popular that he even made TV Guide’s 50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time List. He appeared at number 20 on that list. So it should be no surprise that he has now earned his own holiday.
The History Of Popeye Day
On January 17th, 1929, the character Popeye would first appear in the daily King Features comic strips called Thimble Theatre. This comic strip was in its 10th year when Popeye first appeared in it, but the one-eye sailor quickly would become the main star of the strip.
During the 1930s, the strip would become one of the most popular King Features’ properties. When Elzie Crisler Segar died in 1938, Thimble Theatre was continued by several different artists and writers, including Segar’s assistant Bud Sagendorf.
In 1933, Thimble Theatre characters were also adapted into the series “Popeye the Sailor.” These were theatrical cartoon shorts that were created for Paramount Pictures. Production of these cartoon shorts would continue through World War II where they were used as a vehicle for Allied propaganda. These cartoons would continue to be made throughout the 1950s. Popeye has since become an iconic character that has appeared in various forms of media throughout the years.
Quick Facts About Popeye The Sailor
Let’s take a look at a few of the facts we’ve discovered about Popeye the Sailor and other characters from the comic strip and cartoons.
- The 900-pound statue of Popeye stands in Elzie C. Segar Memorial Park in Chester, Illinois.
- In Chester, Illinois, there’s a Popeye’s Picnic event that is held the weekend following Labor Day in September.
- Many of the characters, including Popeye, were modeled after real people who lived in Chester, Illinois.
Observing Popeye Day
Anyone wishing to observe this holiday can do so by enjoying Popeye in one of the forms of media that he appears in. Perhaps you can enjoy him in the 1980 movie “Popeye” starring Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall, or maybe in one of the cartoons he has appeared in. And people can always enjoy what Popeye was always munching on: a can of spinach.
People can visit Chester, Illinois to follow “The Popeye and Friends Character Trail” which includes statues dedicated to many of the characters of the Popeye comic strip and cartoon. In 1977, a Popeye statue was added, and in 2006 a J. Wellington Wimpy statue was added. Every year since then, a new statue has been added, with Ham Gravy added in 2021. As of 2022, funds were being raised to add an Oscar statue to Chester.