- Entertainment and Media
Popeye the Sailor Man: A classic cartoon character
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."
Read the history of the most famous and celebrated sailor man. He has become quite the icon.
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