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Popeye the Sailor Man: A classic cartoon character

Updated on May 4, 2015
Popeye the Sailor Man - now on DVD
Popeye the Sailor Man - now on DVD | Source

Popeye - from 1930 to 1960 - available on DVD

What a treat. My parents were brought up with Popeye and by the time I was a kid, the cartoons were shown regularly on British television. Of course, our entire family just loved it. We all grew up enjoying the antics of our favourite sailor man. Did you?

The first super-hero - and the best

As time went by and we grew older, we found out about the Marvel comics and discovered many super-heroes (the comics were imported from America and only available in one local store) and although we loved them, Popeye remained a firm favorite. How could he not?

He got the girl and he ate his spinach

Despite Popeye's best efforts, my mum could never get us kids to eat spinach but nevertheless, we were sure that it was a miracle food. Look how it worked for our favorite sailor man. There was the evidence.

This spinach was his secret weapon. Every time he was in a tight spot - which was every episode of course - he would eat his spinach (sometimes sucking it can-and-all through his pipe - and suddenly he was our super-hero with tanks firing in his biceps.. They say that in the height of his popularity, spinach sales soared.

I believe it.

Today it would probably be banned

Truly. It features mindless violence (Popeye will punch anyone for the slightest infringement), smoking (even baby Swee'Pea is seen with a pipe in his mouth), spanking kids (for not eating their spinach) and as for that Olive Oyl - she's no better than she ought to be, is she?

She's an unmarried mother, seemingly, who toys with the affections of Popeye and Bluto, working one against the other .... and she's probably got an eating disorder too. Do you remember that she had a cousin called Castor?

But the old episodes still exist on this DVD

You can see an example in the video below. "Well, blow me down."

Popeye: An Illustrated Cultural History
Popeye: An Illustrated Cultural History

Read the history of the most famous and celebrated sailor man. He has become quite the icon.

Popeye: The Sailor Man (75th Anniversary Collectors Edition) restored.
Popeye: The Sailor Man (75th Anniversary Collectors Edition) restored.

You can't stop at just one. Once you've seen the episodes on the DVDs above (it's two DVD set) you'll want to see more. Your kids certainly will. This is the anniversary collectors' edition.


Are we too careful today about children's viewing?

In the days when the first Popeye cartoons were made, they were created by film studios. The aim of these studios was simply to provide entertainment to the masses.

This, of course, is what Popeye and his colleagues did so admirably.

But today, the people who make and create entertainment for children aren't left alone to create simple entertainments. In latter years, child psychologists and educators have had they say too.

Oh, it's not good for children to watch violence. Oh, children's entertainment should be educational. Oh, we have to be so careful about those little minds who are watching this stuff.


Maybe it's true - maybe there is an element of truth in this careful attitude. But I'm just wondering if children really are so malleable - especially when all we're talking about is something they see on the screen.

Even very young children can tell the difference between reality and a cartoon.

I'm also wondering whether I have been influenced in my life by anything - anything at all - that I watched on television as a young child. I really doubt I was.

I still see Popeye as fun entertainment. It hasn't made me hit people, smoke a pipe ... or even eat spinach.

Are we really being too careful these days? We do, as a society, tend to wrap our children in figurative cotton wool these days.

There used to be a famous email doing the rounds many years ago described how we used to swim in dirty rivers,play dangerous games, spend all day out of sight of our parents, climb high trees, fight with each other .... and so on and soon.

The punchline was, of course, that we survived.

(Well, maybe not everyone did).

But I do see that this sterilised world is going to have an effect on our children as they grow to adulthood. Here in Florida it's very rare to see a child- or even group of children - walking in the streets without adult supervision.

Children are almost always driven to school, or taken via a school bus. There are those of my generation who either walked to school or used public transport. Do today's children really need to be looked after so preciously?

Yes,they are precious. But do they really learn how to be effective and useful adults by being mollycoddled and watching material on the screen that has been especially created for them? I'm not sure...

I'll stick with Popeye.

© 2013 Jackie Jackson


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    • asereht1970 profile image

      asereht1970 3 years ago

      I missed watching Popeye, used to watch this a lot when i was a kid. I even tried opening a can like he does just by grasping at it real tight. Of course, no luck there.

    • PaigSr profile image

      PaigSr 4 years ago from State of Confussion

      There are several Popeye cartoons running through my head right now. The two that stick out the most are Sinbad the sailor and the one with the termites.

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @sousababy: I still can't get to grips with it - baby leaves in salad are OK but otherwise, no thanks. I think that with the violence, we knew as kids that it was 'pretend'. I agree so much about the games. My granddaughter had one innocent-sounding game that had to be accidentally 'lost' - it was so bad.

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Brite-Ideas: I prefer the old classics - even at my age :)

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 4 years ago

      Yeah, I'm amazed at how brash these characters were - the cartoons nowadays (Canadian ones) seem much tamer. Nowadays, the pipe would never be considered acceptable (I think Santa had his pipe revoked too). Funny, Toronto's mayor seems to "keep his" and his job, though. I noticed that old episodes of Bugs Bunny have been edited to remove more violent acts (I'm relieved as a mom) but I'm concerned about the gaming industry (and the graphics are much more realistic). Sorry, I rambled . .Popeye probably brings back some fun memories of Saturday morning for folks. (Perhaps not so much of spinach).

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I used to watch this when I was young - one of the best cartoons for sure