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"I Yam What I Yam"

Updated on September 10, 2015

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' | Source

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 | Source

Amazon Ideas

Swee'Pea Baby Infant Costume - Newborn
Swee'Pea Baby Infant Costume - Newborn

This is absolutely darling! If you're a Popeye fan, this is a must for your baby.


My Grandfather at Work

Deedaw at work (notice the pipe).
Deedaw at work (notice the pipe). | Source

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

Dad and I during Christmas time, about 1962.
Dad and I during Christmas time, about 1962. | Source

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?

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    • Kim Milai profile image

      Kim Milai 4 years ago

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

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 4 years ago from UK

      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 profile image

      Kim Milai 4 years ago

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

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 4 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      "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 profile image

      Kim Milai 4 years ago

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

    • Heidi Vincent profile image

      Heidi Vincent 4 years ago from GRENADA

      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 profile image

      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @Egils Petersons: Thank you so much!

    • Kim Milai profile image

      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @Egils Petersons: Thank you so much!

    • Egils Petersons profile image

      Egils Petersons 4 years ago from Latvia

      Nice cartoons, nice lens :)

    • Kim Milai profile image

      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @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.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

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

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      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 profile image

      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @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 profile image

      sierradawn lm 4 years ago

      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 profile image

      Kim Milai 4 years ago

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

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 4 years ago from Seattle, WA

      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 profile image

      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @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 profile image

      Kim Milai 4 years ago

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

    • profile image

      hmommers 4 years ago

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

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 4 years ago

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

    • Kim Milai profile image

      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @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 profile image

      lesliesinclair 4 years ago

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

    • Kim Milai profile image

      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @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.

    • CampingmanNW profile image

      CampingmanNW 4 years ago

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

    • Kim Milai profile image

      Kim Milai 4 years ago

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

    • Kim Milai profile image

      Kim Milai 4 years ago

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

    • DLeighAlexander profile image

      DLeighAlexander 4 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      DebW07 4 years ago

      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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