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"I Yam What I Yam"
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'
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.
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
Thimble Theater Comic Strip - by E. C. Segar
This is absolutely darling! If you're a Popeye fan, this is a must for your baby.
My Grandfather at Work
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
To Rent. I loved this movie. I know it wasn't a hit, but it really was a fine job. Robin Williams is amazing as usual.
Dad and Me
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.