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One of the most endearing comic creations of the 20th century was Popeye the Sailor Man. The pipe-smoking Navy man who gulped spinach to activate massive strength in his over-sized forearms and lower legs popped up first in 1928 in a newspaper comic strip drawn by E.C. Segar called "The Thimble Theater". Olive Oyl,Popeye's skinny,jittery girlfriend,was already a regular in the strip,along with her brother Castor Oyl,who spotted Popeye on a dock. The character's popularity grew,and soon his sayings like "I yam what I yam!" and "Well,blow me down!" became a massive hit with the younger set,leading in short time to having the character adapted for the movies,first in a 1931 Betty Boop animated short and onward to his first-ever theatrical cartoon short that premiered in 1933. The character also starred in a radio series heard briefly on NBC in 1935-36 and CBS in 1936. Between 1933 through 1957,they were 234 Popeye animated theatrical shorts that were released through Paramount Pictures which were huge box office hits.
In 1958,Paramount Pictures released 234 Popeye theatrical cartoon shorts to local television stations,where they proved to be very successful. In 1960,King Features-Syndicate,which had syndicated the Popeye comic strips for newspapers,went into its first TV production with a new version,supposedly because it was not getting residuals from the video screenings of the movie cartoons. As with the Paramount shorts,Jack Mercer voiced Popeye and Mae Questal was Olive Oyl while Bluto,Popeye's arch nemesis was replaced by the similar looking and sounding Brutus was voiced by Jackson Beck. The syndicated version ran for two years in syndication ending in 1962. From 1962 until 1978,there were no "New Popeye" cartoons in production. The repeated episodes of the series from the original TV production along with all 234 of the theatrical shorts were shown in syndication.
It wasn't until 1978,after more than a decade out of the spotlight,Popeye made his return to television and not to even mentioning made his debut into the abyss of Saturday Morning television. "The New Adventures of Popeye" had him back with the old crew including Sweetpea,Eugene The Jeep,Wimpy,and even Olive Oyl,and also brought back not only Popeye's arch-nemesis Bluto and also gets to face his greatest adversary and the most greatest villain--SEA HAG!!! in various adventures. This show was produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions in association with King Features-Syndicate and Paramount Television that ran from September 9,1978 until September 10,1983. Only 26 episodes were made of this series. Jack Mercer returned as the voice of Popeye. Here as in other previous versions,the violence quotient was markedly deemphasized-to the point where Popeye could not even roll up his sleeves to show off his massive biceps,much make a threatening gesture was banned despite the offset of what the producers could not do in the guidelines of censors for Saturday Mornings and the executives of children's programming at CBS-TV,which broadcast it. And to make sure that everyone was educated and not incited by the show's content,the short "Popeye's Safety Tips". The worst of this came in 1981,when the show was cut to a half-hour under the title "The Popeye and Olive Comedy Show",and under this added new characters that included "Private Olive Oyl" with Sgt. Blast and Col. Crumb in the female version of "Gomer Pyle".
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