Debate erupted when this toon got married

Do you remember which toon tied the knot in '99?

1999 was a year rife with controversy. No, we're not just listing Prince albums, we're talking about the very real fan blowback when Popeye was married in his 70th anniversary comic book. 

"The Wedding of Popeye and Olive" ruffled more than a few feathers when it hit comic stands across the nation. Bluto wasn't the only one who needed to speak now or forever hold his peace. Some real-life characters were steamed over the wedding (which by all accounts was an otherwise classy affair). The Official Popeye Fan Club, based in Chester, Illinois, was at the forefront of a vocal minority of fans who disliked the toon union.

"As Popeye would say, 'The whole idea of me marryin' is disgustipatin'.'" Although he was attempting to speak for his favorite 2-D sailor, those were actually the words of fan club president Mike Brooks. "We're not throwing any rice here in Chester. We know Popeye would never hitch up with Olive. It would destroy the love triangle between her, him and Bluto. The wedding is pure fantasy, a scheme, a disgrace." Brooks' very real words and feelings about a very-much-so made up event were recorded forever in the Des Moines Register in April of 1999.

However, this wasn't necessarily a view shared by all fans, even within the club itself. Brian Hull, a fan club member, had this to say: "I'm a romantic. Why shouldn't Popeye marry? After all, Superman married Lois Lane. The purists should give the marriage a chance." 

While each was entitled to their opinion, President Mike Brooks maintained that only one person could have declared Popeye married. Series creator E.C. Segar, who'd been dead for more than fifty years, never decreed that Popeye was anything but a bachelor. So, in Brooks' mind, a bachelor Popeye must remain.

The most trivia-obsessed among us may recall the 1987 single-season animated television show Popeye and Son, wherein Popeye and Olive Oyl were, in fact, married with children. Most of the fan club didn't consider this "canon," apparently. "We like Segar's Popeye," said Brooks, when confronted with the truth.

Having first appeared in the newspaper comic Thimble Theatre in 1919, Popeye would have been around and in the public consciousness  as a bachelor for eighty years by the time he was married. So, in some way, it makes sense for a group to push back against the change. Fans were used to seeing the sailor man one way, and the wave of change came without their direct approval. But, as has always been true, fans are not in charge of the properties they engage with. We do not pick whether Popeye is married. We do not decide what happens to Luke Skywalker. We're not in a position to tell Spider-Man who to chase after. Fans are along for a ride and can choose whether or not to pay for that ride to continue. 

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Ccook1956 9 months ago
"Popeye & Son" is not only not canon (as the status quo was retained for the 1996 special "Me Quest For Pappy"), it wasn't a very good show.
Runeshaper 9 months ago
Popeye is AWESOME! Mezco Toyz made some awesome Popeye and Bluto figures! As for Popeye being married or not, I'm good either way.
cperrynaples 9 months ago
Popeye & Olive have been married in dream sequences just like Superman & Lois Lane! The only difference: Lois & Clark finally got the 2 of them together for real! In the current Superman & Lois they even have teenage sons!
cperrynaples cperrynaples 9 months ago
PS Erasing Popeye's head was stupid! After all, no other toon has THOSE arms...LOL!
Andybandit 9 months ago
I have no clue who got married in that picture in 1999. The cartoons were stupid then.
justjeff 9 months ago
As the old adage goes "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"... However, writers, cartoonists, Hollywood studios and so many others are tampering with success.

Superheroes come out as gay or bi, White characters turn Black, characters are married off... I've said this before and it's worth repeating: Create *new* characters and *new* story arcs and let those characters be whomever they are.

I'm not against LGTBQ+ or minority characters... I'm against converting an **established** character to suit a whim (or a potential money grab)... and where does it end?

Do we extremely re-write and totally reimagine Shakespeare, Chaucer, Keats, Shelley, Hemingway, Capote or any other literary giant because we want their characters "to look and act more like us"? NO!

These authors created their characters with a specific point of view - good or bad - in mind, and that's the way the stories remained - unchanged over the years...

If the role was reversed and we made every LGBTQ+ or minority character straight, white and male there'd be a major outcry. This is a perfect example of how the entertainment industries are running out of fresh ideas and are simply cannibalizing established characters and stores to squeeze every nickel they can out of them.

Give us new characters who are gay, bi, trans, female, Black, Native Amercan, Asian, etc. Grow and develop these characters so those who have felt marginalized over the years can now look up to these characters with a sense of pride and relating.

We don't need change just to change and for profit's sake. We need writers, artists and story developers who see a need and fill it, not just slap a new coat of paint on something...
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justjeff daDoctah 9 months ago
Well, if you'r referring to the CNN article about the new film Superman being half-Jewish and the deeper dive into the creation of the character, yes - they cited the Moses-like backstory... they also said this:

"...As Siegel details in his unpublished memoir, he was also inspired by Samson, the biblical judge with super strength, and the Golem of Prague, an indestructible defender of the oppressed.

Superman’s alter ego, Clark Kent, borrowed from silent film actor Harold Lloyd but was mostly autobiographical. Siegel and Shuster were both bespectacled, geeky, awkward and painfully aware of their otherness. Superman was their wish fulfilment, while Kent was their reality."

Here's the link if anyone wants to read the full ariticle:

I had taken your comments in a different direction. I thought you were referring to how Hollywood stereotyped characters based on their creators or certain social comments or actions...

However, let me add that the article also notes how Christianic influences were added over the years by other writers... Even in the 1978 Superman movie, Jor-El's hologram says the he's given to Earth his only son... that''s a much more obvious referral to Christianity than Judaism...
daDoctah justjeff 9 months ago
How about Popeye, then? In the 1933 short "I Eats Me Spinach", in which Popeye punches a charging bull. The bull goes up out of frame intact, but falls back to earth as a meat market, with the last cut stamped as kosher.
justjeff daDoctah 9 months ago
I interpret that as an "inside joke" between Fleischer Studios' Jewish staffers... similar to the inside jokes from the WB "Termite Terrace" crew. Take for example "One Froggy Night" (with the singing 'Michigan J. Frog')... the last building to be demolished was the "Tregoweth Brown Building". Treg Brown was the film cutter and sound editor for the cartoon shorts...
Bapa1 9 months ago
Popeye should have married that blonde female boxer who beat up Olive in the 1930's.
McGillahooala 9 months ago
There’s always someone trying to beat an extra dollar out of an established storyline. I hate to think what Popeye may be up to in 2023.
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