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Popeye and Me

The Imperfect but Loveable Hero


Popeye, Dad and Me

How my dad's love of cartoons developed within me a love of vintage cartoons and the happy feelings that come with it.

No, I'm not at all the violent type, compared to my pipe-smoking friend here. But Popeye the Sailor was a show on TV my dad and I could enjoy together. I remember my father imitating Popeye and saying words like Popeye would say them: s-w-hward for sword or mus-kels for muscles. I had no idea what spinach was, but I knew that Popeye ate it for strength and it was in a can. As a three year old, one of the first songs I ever learned was 'I'm Popeye the sailor man, toot, toot!' My dad grew up with Popeye and conveyed his love of this and other cartoons to my sisters and I.

Show Off Those 'Muskells'

my dad as a boy showing off his 'muskels'

my dad as a boy showing off his 'muskels'

Family and Drawing

Almost everyone on my paternal side dabbled in painting. But my grandfather 'Deedaw' not only painted, he was a political cartoonist and comic strip writer for the Pittsburgh Courier. Deedaw taught me how to draw eyes, ears and noses. My grandmother 'Mema' taught me to how to draw trees. Drawing and cartoons carries for me a feeling of nostalgia and content. Family life wasn't always this calm and grounded, but this aspect of it always was.

Popeye Cartoons

Goonland: I actually remember watching this on TV when I was four or five. In this adventure, Popeye discovers this island of strange goon-people while searching for his Pappy (Father). I just love how he mumbles to himself. I'm sure there are lots of jokes and quips in there I can't quite catch. He disguises himself as a Goon to infiltrate the village. He finds his Pappy who wants nothing to do with him. When Popeye is about to be smashed by the Goons, Pappy eats a can of spinach and saves his son. I love how their pipes are used for a multitude of tasks (hitting, digging, swiping).

The Complete E.C. Segar Popeye 1930-1934 is a series of books containing the original strip - from the Nemo Bookshelf.

I Yam What I Yam 1933

Goonland 1938

Thimble Theater Comic Strip - by E. C. Segar

Thimble Theater

Thimble Theater

Amazon Ideas

My Grandfather at Work

Deedaw at work (notice the pipe).

Deedaw at work (notice the pipe).

The Pipe Story

I was about four or five when my family visited Deedaw's house. We had lots of relatives there. I was wandering around the coffee table when I saw Deedaw's pipe. I thought about Popeye and how he blows smoke out of his pipe in the cartoon. Soooo... I picked up the pipe and blew. The dark ash poured out and filled my face and eyes. I'm extremely lucky the pipe wasn't lit. I remember feeling relatives pick me up and rush me to the sink and pour water over my eyes. Once they found out the ashes were cold, they breathed a sigh of relief. I then went home and I had to stay in my darkened room with the curtains drawn for several days. My dad, who was a physician and my mom kept close tabs on me until my eyes healed from the irritating ash. My near disaster, however, did not keep my dad and I from still watching and loving the Popeye cartoons.

The Imperfect but Loveable Movie

Dad and Me

Dad and I during Christmas time, about 1962.

Dad and I during Christmas time, about 1962.

My Dad: Not Perfect But Still My Hero

My favorite Popeye Episodes are the black and white ones from the 30's; not the 40-50's versions that are more famous. There is something about the 30's era in general that I'm drawn to. When I reflect on what drew me to write about this, I realized that the cartoon represents spending time with my dad. A luxury not everyone has. I did not spend tons of time with him, he was always away working. But the times we did share are forever priceless.

Your comments are most welcome. What are your cartoon experiences?

Kim Milai (author) on March 21, 2014:

@John Dyhouse: I loved reading your story. Our Dads loved to do the Popeye voice and style! :)

John Dyhouse from UK on March 19, 2014:

Another story from my past, My father used to do a take-off of popeye. he could pull a marvellous face and had the rasping voice off to a tee. Also, I would watch the spinach-eating sailor on my way home from school as I tucked into toast and dripping at my grandparents house. (I used to eat the crusts off granddad's toast as he always left them on his plate. I yam what I yam, and that's all what I yam, 'cause I'm Popeye the Sailorman, Toot Toot. Wonderful.

Kim Milai (author) on January 14, 2014:

@Charito1962: I'm glad it got to be shown all over the world. Thank you for stopping by!:)

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Charito Maranan-Montecillo from Manila, Philippines on January 14, 2014:

"Popeye" was first aired in Manila in the late '60s. I loved watching it as a little girl. - Ms. Charito from the Philippines

Kim Milai (author) on January 12, 2014:

@Heidi Vincent: Thank you for your thumbs up on my storytelling. Looking forward to seeing your future lenses FreshStart7.

Heidi Vincent from GRENADA on January 11, 2014:

I like Popeye and funny cartoons also, kimmilai. It is interesting how you wove your quality time with your Dad around this story about cartoons.

Kim Milai (author) on January 06, 2014:

@Egils Petersons: Thank you so much!

Kim Milai (author) on January 06, 2014:

@Egils Petersons: Thank you so much!

Egils Petersons from Latvia on January 06, 2014:

Nice cartoons, nice lens :)

Kim Milai (author) on January 01, 2014:

@anonymous: Thank you so much for stopping by. You must be so proud of your son. Maybe you'll to an article about him someday for us to see.

Kim Milai (author) on January 01, 2014:

@WriterJanis2: Thank you. You're making me think now- I want to re-rent the movie, I haven't seen it in a while.

WriterJanis2 on January 01, 2014:

This was such a nice read. My youngest son can sound just like Popeye.

anonymous on December 31, 2013:

As my son makes a living drawing cartoons of people as well as by more conventional painting this article is of great interest to me. I am going to tell him to read it too.

Kim Milai (author) on December 23, 2013:

@sierradawn lm: Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I'm finding lenses like these tend to flow out naturally in writing. I look forward to checking out what you are doing too. Warmest Regards.

sierradawn lm on December 22, 2013:

The time I spent with my dad was so forever priceless to me too. Time spent with Dads are the most valuable thing in the world to girls. It shapes and defines who we become. I was so delighted with your poignant lens and am so happy to meet you. I loved Popeye too!

Kim Milai (author) on December 22, 2013:

@SheGetsCreative: Thank you so much. Now my kids are watching Invader Zim and The Amazing World of Gumball. :)

Angela F from Seattle, WA on December 21, 2013:

I wasn't a big fan of Popeye but so glad you have such good memories (cute pic of you and dad too!)

Kim Milai (author) on December 19, 2013:

@hmommers: Thank you. It's interesting, in researching this article I found that Max Fleicsher took the comic strip character Popeye created by E.C. Segar and did the first animated shorts.

Kim Milai (author) on December 19, 2013:

@takkhisa: You're quite welcome! Thank you for visiting.

hmommers on December 18, 2013:

Oh sweet. Popeye was on TV here as well in those days :)

Takkhis on December 17, 2013:

I always enjoyed watching Popeye cartoon in the past, honestly I still do. Thanks for sharing this lens :)

Kim Milai (author) on December 17, 2013:

@lesliesinclair: Thank you. I understand. I look at all the violent cartoons I saw and loved am a little aghast. I guess I can appreciate it for the positive things it did for me and then move on- concentrating on a more peaceful world! :)

lesliesinclair on December 16, 2013:

I always had mixed feelings about Popeye as a child, but liked him in adulthood. Your tale, however, is very entertaining.

Kim Milai (author) on December 16, 2013:

@DLeighAlexander: As I was doing the article, I just had to watch the videos. Hadn't seen them in a while. Bluto was even more scary in the early films.

Kim Milai (author) on December 16, 2013:

@CampingmanNW: You're quite welcome. Appreciate you coming by.

Kim Milai (author) on December 16, 2013:

@DebW07: Thank you so much. My memories started pouring out as I was writing. These challenges get me thinking.

DLeighAlexander on December 16, 2013:

Cute story about the pipe :) I enjoyed watching Popeye too but the guy with the beard (Bluto, I think?) was always very scary to me as a child. Glad you have these good memories of time with your Dad.

CampingmanNW on December 16, 2013:

An excellent tribute to your Father (and Popeye too of course.) Thanks for sharing.

DebW07 on December 16, 2013:

Sounds like you have some great memories and a few serious ones (the pipe incident) of Popeye and spending quality time with your dad. I like the Popeye cartoons, great lens!

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