• :
  • :

What was Popeye’s obsession with Spinach

Popeye the Sailor man …. Is a song and television show that many of us enjoyed during our childhood, even if the character first came into existence in the 1930s. But what was his obsession with eating spinach and usually eating it straight from the can. I always assumed that it was perhaps due to his lack of cooking abilities. I am sure that he didn’t have access to a 4 burner gas oven like those that are available on to make some delicious evening meals on.

There are some interesting facts about Popeye and here are just a few for you to have a read of.

  • Although his spinach obsession seems slightly extreme he did help to encourage American children during the Great Depression to eat more of the healthy green vegetable. This increase in popularity was largely due to the fact that Popeye’s strength and muscles increase dramatically once he has consumed the can of spinach he has stored away somewhere on his person.
  • Popeye is thought to be the first cartoon figure to have a statute created. Back in 1937 a statue in full colour of Popeye was erected in Crystal City in the Texas area. It was created and displayed as a recognition of the positive impact that the cartoon had on the spinach production in the area.

Image Credit

  • The inspiration for the characters of Popeye and Olive Oyl came from people who lived in the Chester area of Illinois where the cartoonist Elzie Segar also lived. Popeye was based on a sailor called Frank Fiegal who had inscribed on his gravestone the words “inspiration for Popeye”. Olive was based on a slim, tall woman called Dora Paskel who similar to the cartoon character often wore her hair in a bun.
  • In 2004 the cartoon celebrated its 75th anniversary and to mark the event the Empire State building was lit up in a green colour as another homage to spinach.

Image Credit

  • The Popeye the Sailor Man theme tune written for the original cartoons was composed by Sammy Lerner who is a US songwriter. It reportedly only took two hours to create the song. Lerner based the tune on the opening lines of the Gilbert and Sullivan’s 1880 ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ operetta.
  • Popeye was originally introduced as a supporting character in the Thimble Theatre cartoon and due to his popularity was given a recurring appearance in the series before taking the starring role in the cartoons and going on to have his own television series and number of films.