Popeye is a fictional cartoon character created by Elzie Crisler Segar and owned by King Features Syndicate. He is a gruff sailor with only one good eye (the other appearing to be permanently blinded), muscular arms, and somewhat bad manners, and outsmarts various villains, including his nemesis Bluto, with superhuman strength which he gains from eating spinach.
Popeye debuted in the daily comic strip Thimble Theatre in 1929. In 1933, Max Fleischer gave the character his own theatrical cartoon series, distributed by Paramount Pictures, which became one of the most popular of the 1930s and continued for over 20 years, being produced by both Fleischer and Paramount's own Famous Studios. He later expanded to comic books, television, video games, and advertising.
History with the Macy's Parade
His first appearance as a balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was in 1957, the year his cartoon series was discontinued. He made on-again, off-again appearances until retiring in 1967, with a retirement party being held after the parade.
The next year, he was filled with helium and placed next to the parade route at Herald Square, giving the illusion he was watching the parade. Popeye has not appeared in balloon form since. in 1972. the balloon's head appeared in a today show segment on how to deflate the balloons. It's speculated his head and hat still survives, but this remains uncertain.
In 1986, he rode the Rocking Lobster leading the way for a balloon of Olive Oyl. Ten years later, in 1996, Popeye and Olive would appear riding the Rocking Lobster together. The two characters later returned for a pair of "Superstars" floats celebrating milestones of the introduction of balloons into the parade: one celebrating the 75-year mark in 2001, and another celebrating the 85-year mark in 2011.
- In 1958, Popeye's arm got punctured, and so the balloon had to be removed.
- In 1964, Goodyear workers forgot to reseal the rip panels on the balloon after inflation. Because of this, he was removed from the Parade and replaced by Happy Dragon