I have discussed my favorite superheroes in a previous entry, but the character Popeye took on a whole different meaning in my life. I had always thought I was a little different ever since I was a child, but trying to relate to characters off of what I had watched on television was rather difficult. The characters were either funny and silly or strong and brave, but there really wasn't a character that seemed to take on a more 'humanized' form and still capture the oddities of what I was like as a kid. All of that changed for me when I got exposed to "Popeye the Sailor Man" on T.V. because my newspaper didn't run Popeye in the comics so this was the first time I was introduced to his universe.
For the first time, I got to see a character that did look stranger than the other characters on the show. Many times Popeye was not always 'included' within the circles that Popeye called his "friends". Popeye seemed to have a hard time communicating with others because of his speech issues and he did a lot of talking under his breath, but it seemed like most of his friends and foes never caught what he was saying. I find the oddest thing about Popeye is that even though his 'friends' tend to ostracize him. Oddly, if there is trouble with any of them it was always Popeye that came to the rescue; and of course spinach was his secret weapon to help to give him the strength and save their lives. I find it rather funny that media would tease about kids hating spinach. I'm not sure what the real numbers are, but I do know that through some research on the Popeye historical website that spinach sales skyrocketed when Popeye became a house-hold name during the Great Depression.
I image the question is 'why are you talking about Popeye?' Obviously most of my blogs deal directly with my struggles with Asperger's Syndrome and I hope you can start seeing the connection here. Like people with Asperger's, they are misunderstood - verbal and nonverbal - they tend to be pushed away by their 'friends' unless they are needed. Asperger people want to help others, but are not always sure how. Asperger people tend to talk to themselves out-loud and can be under a lot of ridicule because they are not like 'everyone else'. I could really identify with Popeye...he even has been committed to one girl, Olive Oyl and I always admired his feelings for her even if she didn't always reciprocated the affection back to him. One of the things I really loved about Popeye was that he always wanted to defend the kids that were bullied.
I have to admit that not only do I love spinach, but I actually liked the live-action film starring Robin Williams. I remember my grandma taking me to go see the movie in theaters! I know that sounds a little corny, but it was a special time for me and my grandma. I really did see a lot of Popeye in myself even though I didn't understand what I had at the time. I still enjoy Popeye today, but I think the animators have lost a little of Popeye's true persona as the years have passed by. I can say that I will always have great memories of a weird looking character with bulging forearms, a squinty eye, his tooting pipe and a can of spinach.
"I am what I am, and that's all that I am!" - Popeye
Song of Inspiration [Check it out on iTunes or Android!]:
Song: "I'm Popeye, The Sailor Man"
Artist: William Costello
Album: Vintage Novelty Songs
Here's one of the first Popeye episodes being voiced by William Costello: