Tuesday, December 8, 2009

"Ja Think I Was a Cowboy?"

I know! Two blog postings in one day! What is up with that?

What is "up with that" is that I realized, after my last posting, what an important day this is for fans of all things cartoony. Today marks the 115th anniversary of the late, great Elzie Segar!

You may not recognize his name, but you are most certainly familiar with his work. Mr. Segar was the creator of the one, the only, Popeye the Sailor! Although my first exposure to this character was in the wonderful Fleischer Bros. black & white cartoons of the thirties, he originated in the legendary "Thimble Theatre" comic strip, created by Mr. Segar. I didn't discover the Segar Popeye strips until I was in my late teens. I loved the animated cartoons, so I was eager to sample the "source" material for them. When I did, I was blown away. Creating as rich a character as Popeye would be enough of an achievement, but the vast array of characters and entertaining plot lines Segar created is truly amazing. He was almost the Charles Dickens of the comics page.

He died relatively young, and the strip floundered into formula after his passing. In honor of his birthday, though, try to seek out one of the many collections of his work available at places like Amazon. If you have any taste at all, you won't be disappointed.

If you can't/won't do that, or are too lazy or cheap to, at least check out some Popeye cartoons on YouTube. Even though Segar had nothing to do with these, the best of them show his greatest creation in all his glory. If you'd like my suggestion for a sample, check out "Popeye Meets Sindbad the Sailor". It is definitely on my list of the top animated cartoons of all time.

Happy Birthday E.C.! You certainly were "strong to the finich"!

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Blogger David said...

When I was in college, a friend of mine and I used to blow off sociology class to watch Popeye cartoons in the Student Union. Good stuff.

I've seen two of the three that are in Technicolr, "Popeye the Sailor Meets Sinbad the Sailor" and Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves" and the backgrounds are just incredible.

December 8, 2009 at 5:11 PM  
Blogger Bill White said...

The backgrounds in those shorts (and many of the black and white ones) really must be seen to be believed.

No modern day computer crap could create effects like that!

December 8, 2009 at 6:59 PM  

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