Don’t forget that Popeye is a Christmas icon

Since the 1930s, Popeye the Sailor has occasionally clashed with Santa, but always offered a sincere "Seasin’s Greetinks!" to all.

In 1933, the first time we saw Popeye celebrate Christmas, it was in the animated short "Seasin’s Greetinks!"

The cartoon opens with Popeye gifting Olive Oyl a pair of ice skates, which she must immediately try out. The couple heads to the lake, where Bluto is waiting to chop up the smooth frozen surface of the river into ice blocks that send Olive sailing out of Popeye’s arms.

The most dazzling Christmas image from this early cartoon finds Popeye landing a blow to Bluto that sends stars shooting from the villain and then casting off of him to decorate a nearby fir tree.

"Seasin’s Greetinks!" began a Christmas tradition of folding Popeye the Sailor into holiday celebrations, and ever since, this particular Popeye cartoon has been a favorite to screen at nostalgia-themed theater events held during the Christmas season.

But for the biggest Popeye fans, the sailor man himself became a decorative element for their own Christmas trees, as Popeye’s Christmas Tree Set sold in 1935 and 1936. The colorful string of lights that came in this treasured box showed all Popeye’s friends, with different scenes drawn onto each bulb in the set.

Soon, Popeye Christmas cards followed, with slogans like "Seasin’s Greetinks" or "Spinach Greetings."

Then in 1955, we got our next Popeye Christmas short with "Mister and Mistletoe."

This one’s notable because it features Popeye’s first scrap with "Santa," who is actually Bluto in disguise.

In "Mister and Mistletoe," Santa flirts with Olive while Popeye is busy trimming the tree, but once Bluto’s ruse is revealed, the cartoon ends with Bluto clocked and Popeye dressed as Santa.

Naturally, this only led audiences to want more Popeye at Christmastime and in 1961, the longest Popeye Christmas cartoon yet was released.

"Spinach Greetings" finds Santa not on the other end of Popeye’s spinached fist but kidnapped by a Sea Hag!

Instead of Olive needing saving, it’s Santa who Popeye must rescue in this episode of the Sixties Popeye the Sailor animated series.

When you watch "Spinach Greetings," the background scenes in the cartoon look like beautiful Christmas cards in themselves, where each screenshot seems to deliver more and more cheer.

Although Popeye may not today be the first cartoon character to come to mind at Christmas, the sailor man remains a Christmas icon in our eyes.

Anyone out there still making Popeye part of their holiday tradition?

Watch Popeye and Pink Panther's Party on MeTV!

One Full Hour

Saturdays at 7 AM

*available in most MeTV markets
 
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Close

11 Comments

Post a comment
CANARYMETV666 1 month ago
I’m looking forward the Popeye Cartoon they will show.
Runeshaper 1 month ago
I always loved Popeye. Always will! He ROCKS and is definitely a Christmas icon (-:
BudmanW4 1 month ago
My article on the 1950s Popeye cartoons, with a brief reference to MIster and Mistletoe:
https://www.boomermagazine.com/the-lost-popeye-cartoons/
Barry22 1 month ago
There was the Popeye Chanukkah episode, where he ate a little bit of spinach, but he had super strength for eight days.
daDoctah 1 month ago
Ironically, it's been suggested that Popeye is actually Jewish (as are all the characters to come out of the Fleischerverse: Betty Boop, even Superman). Mind you, that wouldn't preclude him observing a secular version of Christmas.
Susan00100 daDoctah 1 month ago
Dunno about Popeye, but there is one cartoon that makes Betty Boop Jewish; it's called "Minnie the Moocher".
This cartoon begins with Betty's Jewish papa trying to nag her into eating hasenpfeffer, which she hates.
What's weird is that the main ingredient of that dish is rabbit--which is not kosher!
You'd think Fleischer would have known that!
Andybandit 1 month ago
I had no clue Popeye had a Christmas cartoon. Popeye and Santa Claus were fighting in the Cartoon that is weird.
justjeff 1 month ago
Well, blow me down! Arf! Arf! Arf!
LoveMETV22 justjeff 1 month ago
💨💨⬇🔻 We wouldn't really, your probably strong to the finishk.
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?