POPEYE-THE SAILOR MAN
Among all the famous & beloved cartoon characters, Popeye can be named among the top standards. Since the day of very creation, this pipe-puffing sailor has become a global name. This cartoon character has encouraged millions of young hearts to eat spinach eagerly in order to achieve the incredible strength like Popeye. The confusion about spinach was created right from the beginning. Is the Spinach a particular type of magical herb which gives unlimited strength? Or the cartoon-lover children all over the world are actually worshipping a hero who is addicted to marijuana, a forbidden weed? However, there are only circumstantial evidences. But if all of those are added together, a clear indication can be achieved which tells that the strength-giving Spinach is nothing but a metaphor of the famous forbidden weed – marijuana!!
Popeye was first created by famous cartoonist Elzie Segar in the year 1929 and after then many artists and writers helped to curve this famous cartoon character. Popeye was not the central character right from the birth; rather he was first evolved as a small character in the comic strip ‘Thimble Theatre’. This comic strip describes the adventurous journeys of Olive Oyl, Castor & Ham Gravy. In a particular overseas voyage, there was the entry of Popeye who was hired as a sailor. Very soon Popeye collected importance in this comic strip. Within a year, Popeye became the new sweetheart of Olive Oyl replacing Ham Gravy. The comic no longer remained ‘Thimble Theatre’, rather became the comic of Popeye, the sailor man. This comic included Wimpy three years later and also the sweet pea baby a few years after that. At the beginning, the infinite strength of Popeye did not include any explanation. But later, on the basis of some ongoing jokes, the spinach was made the source of this energy.
Popeye did not refrain himself in the boundary of the comic books. Gradually this sailor character gathered much attention and popularity in the animated cartoon shows. After the death of Segar, Spinach became indispensible part in every plots of the adventure of Popeye. With the consumption of Spinach, there happened a magical swift in the plot and the enemies of Popeye get destroyed by the infinitely powerful Popeye. The original comic by Segar was much more complex with a huge number of interesting characters and there were also different adult jokes. But in the later cartoon versions, Popeye’s adventures become short, much simple and also suitable for viewing by the children.
The identity of Spinach raised much controversy from the beginning of this comic. In the 1920’s & 30’s ‘Spinach’ was a common word for marijuana. Its best evidence was the famous ‘Spinach Song’ recorded by the popular jazz band Julia Lee & her boyfriends. There was also a rumor then that the intake of marijuana could make a person super powerful, even resistant from the bullets. This rumor could be a good reason for the evolution of Spinach. Whatever may be the source or identity, Spinach became a craze among all the cartoon-lover children in the world.
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