Debut: January 19, 1929
Voiced by: William Costello (1933-1935), Floyd Buckley (1935) note , Jack Mercer (1935-1983), Jackson Beck (1946)note Harry Foster Welch (1945-1947)note , Mae Questel (1945, for "Shape Ahoy" only) Maurice LaMarche (1987), Billy West (2004)
Portrayed by: Robin Williams (Live-action film)
Popeye the Sailor Man-one of the eight wonders of the Newspaper Comics and Western Animation world, and one of the most popular cartoon stars of The Golden Age of Animation. Initially appearing as a oneshot character in the middle of an arc Thimble Theater, the comic E.C. Segar was making at the time, was going through, Popeye quickly gained the status of Ensemble Dark Horse among the comics readers, and stayed in the comic long after his debut adventure was over, until he finally overtook the whole comic, with it being renamed Popeye and tossing out Ham Gravy as the main character and Olive Oyl's original love interest.
Part of what made Popeye such an instant hit with audiences was that, despite his odd appearance and gruff conduct, he was one of the few moral forces in the world of Thimble Theatre — Popeye also got along great with children, even going as far as to tearing apart a guys hot dog vendor once just because he wouldn't give a broke kid a hot dog on credit (that, and insulting Popeye to his face). In other words, he was a very likable, sympathetic character despite having none of the obvious qualities of one at first sight. He is also a very noble (but ignorant) being and is very loyal to his girl Olive Oyl and will give anyone the benefit of the doubt, even his rival Bluto.
Speaking of original, Popeye is occasionally (but dubiously) considered to be an early precursor to the comic book superhero—over a decade before Superman graced the comic pages, Popeye was blessed with inhuman strength and astounding durability and endurance, taking at least 15 bullets in his first adventure before finally being brought down—but much of this can be chalked up to exaggeration rather than literal superpowers.
While Popeye was already a major force in the comics, the sailor with a sock got his big break when animation pioneers Max and Dave Fleischer, known for their Betty Boop cartoons, brought him to the big screen alongside Betty Boop in a six minute short subject. These Fleischer cartoons took the series to new levels not even touched by the original comics — while Popeye was already very strong in the comics, the Fleischers made Popeye strong enough to stop a train dead in its tracks and move entire landmasses. Even excluding his Super Strength, he also had Reality Warping abilities — he could punch objects which would either morph them into something different or split them into multiple smaller objects — one short even had Popeye blow out the sun like a candle just so he could get some private time with Olive. And he could do all of this without eating any spinach — in fact, the spinach can very rarely popped up in the original comics-this was made prominent in the Fleischer cartoons.
While some animation fans have criticized the series for it's "formulaic Popeye Vs. Bluto structure", in reality this was done out of necessity: the original comics had stories that went on from weeks to even MONTHS at a time, which would have been impossible to compress into six minute low budget cartoon shorts. On that note, the series didn't even rely on the Bluto and Popeye fighting as much as one would think. There were plenty of shorts the Fleischers made that experimented with other settings and stories outside of their rivalry, and even the ones that did feature the status quo pulled many, many different, creative variations of the formula — from battling on logs floating down a river to competing for the title of "King of the Mardi Gras", these shorts are still as fresh and original feeling today as apple pie. And obviously, the Fleischers' love of surreal sight gags and Deranged Animation was carried over from their Betty Boop shorts, with such sights as the visual metaphors that appear in Popeye's muscles upon consuming spinach and the aforementioned reality warping powers of Popeye, none of which ever appeared in the original comics. Another odd fact was that prior to the war years, Popeye was hardly ever on ships — most of his adventures were set on dry land, only sporadically going off to sea.
Needless to say, Popeye's theatrical cartoons were an instant smash success on release, quickly toppling Mickey Mouse as the then-king of cartoons. While the series was gradually toned down as time went by (even in the comics, Popeye was forced to be toned down due to him having a large kid fanbase) this character and friends still pop up in some form or another to this day, with a recent TV special celebrating his 75th anniversary, as well as an upcoming Sony Pictures CGI film. Here's hoping for the best with this sailor's future!
- Beware the Nice Ones: While he has a pretty long fuse, you do not want to make him mad. What's the main example? Mess with Olive or Swee'pea and you'll soon regret it.
- Breakout Character: Popeye came out of nowhere as a oneshot character for an already long established newspaper comic, and wound up becoming so popular that he not only took over the strip as the main character (sidelining its original lead, Ham Gravy, who eventually vanished altogether) but became one of the most iconic comic and cartoon characters of all time. At his peak in the 30's, he was even more popular than Mickey Mouse, and he continued to remain that way in several countries.
- Bruiser with a Soft Center: Popeye is disproportionately muscled and is a gruff and gritty sailor which easily hides his virtues and his soft side and how considerate of others especially kids he actually is. In the live action movie Popeye's song featured the line "An' I gotta lot o' muskle and I only got one eye, an' I never hurts nobody an' I'll never tell a lie". Which is more or less true, as long as you mentally insert "that didn't deserve it" after "nobody".
- Catchphrase: He has several."I yam wot I yam, and that's ALL wot I yam."
"Well, blow me down."
"That's all I can stands, cuz I can't stands no more!"
- Characterization Marches On: Popeye was a lot more aggressive and sometimes nasty in the earlier Segar comics and Fleischer cartoons. He eventually mellowed out into a much more jovial fellow around the mid to late 30's.
- In the Fleischer era, Popeye would frequently mutter under his breath. This dropped in the Famous era, where Jack Mercer would shift back and forth between Popeye's voice tones when Popeye spoke.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He's a bit of a goofball and is easily knocked around, but give him a can of spinach and watch him (sometimes literally) become a One-Man Army.
- Deadpan Snarker: It got even funnier when Jack Mercer took over as the voice and made lots of funny quips and mumbles, all improvised during recording.
- Depending on the Artist: In the late Fleischer shorts, and all of the Famous shorts and the Al Brodax TV shorts, Popeye is shown to have both eyes. He also had teeth in a good chunk of the Famous shorts and all of the Al Brodax shorts.
- Enhanced Punch: The Twister Punch, which requires twisting his arm so that it unwinds upon contact.
- Eye Scream: The comics explain this is what happened to Popeye's right eye. He allowed himself to get beat up over a matter he felt accountable for, and lost his right eye in the process. This may have transitioned into the Fleischer cartoons, but was eventually abandoned by the Famous Studios shorts.
- Famous Ancestor: "Greek Mirthology" claimed that Popeye is a descendant of Hercules.
- Friend to All Children : He's pretty nice to kids in general, and whenever he needs to discipline Swee'Pea or his nephews, he even sobs and cries openly, showing how much he hates to be severe with them. As mentioned earlier, he once beat up a greedy hot dog vendor for refusing to give one to a dirt poor kid (although insulting Popeye to his face sure didn't help).
- Funetik Aksent: His violence may have been toned down over the years, but his accent remains as strong as it ever was.
- Guttural Growler: Has a low, gruff voice.
- Handicapped Badass: One-eyed badass sailor, at least with the comics and Fleischer shorts.
- Happily Married: In Popeye and Son, he does eventually marry Olive Oyl.
- Iconic Sequel Character: Thimble Theater ran for a full decade with Ham Gravy and Olive Oyl as the series leads. Popeye appeared as a minor character in a 1929 story arc, and was only intended as a oneshot appearance, but the sailors personality immediately caught on with readers.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: Popeye never fights without a damn good reason, and chooses his battles very, very carefully. In Popeye and Son, doubly so. When his son, Popeye Junior, sought his aid to recover the Mermaid statue, that was rightfully his under maritime salvage law, from the Bluto family, Popeye let the Bluto family keep said statue, as he immediately recognized it belonged to The Sea Hag and knew she'd be along to claim it soon enough. Popeye, when asked angrily about this, went on to explain just how dangerous The Sea Hag is, and that it's better if the Bluto family feels her wrath.
- Leitmotif: Two. Popeye the Sailor Man is the main one, but hes also associated with The Sailors Hornpipe.
- Lightning Bruiser: Without the spinach, he's still quite capable of battle. With it, there isn't much you can do to stop him.
- Loophole Abuse:
- In Popeye and Son, when Bluto blockaded every possible chapel, church, or house of worship and even went so far as to steal the wedding ring Popeye intended to use for his wedding to Olive Oyl, Popeye remembered that ship captains can legally marry people, and married Olive Oyl on a garbage scow the two were rescued by when Bluto pushed them off the road into a river while making his getaway, after stealing Popeye's wedding ring. Popeye even took a random discarded bolt nut to use as a make-shift ring. Since that day, it's been gold-plated (or replaced with a gold facsimile) and fitted with a diamond which Olive is all too proud to show off.
- He's pretty good at standing by his stance to never fight a woman, but that doesn't mean he won't let a spinach-fueled Olive Oyl fight in his place.
- Made of Iron: Popeye is nigh-unkillable, with or without eating his spinach. The Bobby London Popeye comics take this Up to Eleven in the "Popeye's Apocalypse" story arc, where Popeye survives when all of existence is wiped out by the Supreme Jeep. His only explanation for this is "I eats me spinach."
- The Maiden Name Debate: Depending on the incarnation, either Popeye has no family name of his own, or the Oyl estate has to be in the hands of an Oyl for Olive to keep it. (This is never really made clear.) As such, when he marries Olive, he legally becomes Popeye Oyl.
- Man in White: From the 40's to the 60's, Popeye wore an all-white Navy uniform.
- Marriage of Convenience: In one incarnation, Bluto hits upon what he thinks is the perfect scheme to utterly break Popeye, once and for all. Bluto colludes with a female high-ranking government bureaucrat to send Child Protective Services to strip custody of Swee'pea away from Popeye in return for said official gaining the Oyl estate, unless both Olive Oyl and Popeye can prove they're legally married by sunset. (With Bluto expecting Olive Oyl to be married to himself.) Bluto even went so far as to steal the wedding ring Popeye intended to use during the wedding ceremony. Fortunately, Popeye found another way.
- Meaningful Name: Considering what happened to his eye via explanation in Eye Scream, one can infer where he got his name from. Just simply read his name slowly and tell us what it sounds like.
- Motor Mouth: He's always muttering something under his breath. He talks way beyond the animation. This was because his voice, actor and comedian Jack Mercer, was allowed to improvise lines after the animation had been drawn. This became a staple of the character.
- One-Man Army: Especially after he eats his spinach.
- Out-of-Character Moment: Popeye usually beats his enemies up, however, there has been some instances where he kills them. Most of them were animals, but at one point he shot his friend, Shorty, after he unintentionally ruined Popeye's birthday and his relationship with Olive.
- Papa Wolf: He's very protective of Swee'pea, although Swee'pea has occasionally proven that he doesn't need that much protection.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: He's very short (a common insult for adversaries, especially Bluto, to throw at him is "runt"), but it doesn't hinder him by any means when it comes to fighting.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Popeye has seen his fair share of high sea adventures in the comics, but in the cartoons (at least up until the World War II era shorts, where he rejoins the Navy), he was hardly ever on ships, or even anywhere near water in general.
- Powerup Food: Canned spinach gives him Super Strength. He's even got his own brand of spinach.
- Reality Warper: Big time. He could punch objects which would either morph them into something different or split them into multiple smaller objects.
- Signature Laugh: A staccato ahgahgahgahgahgahgah.
- Smoking Is Cool: Is almost always seen with his corn cob pipe.
- Super Strength: Even without his spinach, he can be quite strong. With it, he becomes a walking, talking tank capable of destroying whole armies in seconds!
- Symbol Swearing: In the original Segar strip, Popeye frequently swore like... well, like a sailor. But his swearing was always displayed in symbols. May even count as Getting Crap Past the Radar or Parental Bonus.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Spinach, of course, but this was mainly a product of the animated cartoons—while he did eat spinach in the original comics, it was far more sporadically than he did in the animated cartoons.
- The Unfettered: In the earlier cartoons, there wasn't much that could scare or intimidate him, much less get in the way of his goals; in "I Yam What I Yam", an entire army of Indians was shooting a barrage of arrows his way, and the arrows at best just annoyed him more than they harmed him.
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: Popeye's voice has a very distinctive accent of unclear origin.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy:
- Despite his father's attitude, Popeye loves his pappy dearly, and vice versa. So insulting him is not a good idea.
- In the initial search for Poopdeck Pappy story arc in the comics, insulting Poopdeck Pappy, who Popeye desperately wanted to find, will really rile up Popeye. He even tells Olive to shut it and even spanks her because she won't stop egging him on about Pappy's terrible behaviour.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Ghosts seem to be the only thing he's really afraid of. He once turned down a free ship after discovering it was haunted.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl:
- He once stopped fighting Alice the Goon after discovering she was female (a baby goon came up and exclaimed "Mama!").
- Sometimes, unfortunately, this applies when he's facing the Sea Hag. Thankfully, in these cases, Olive helps Popeye by eating his spinach to defeat the Sea Hag.
- He did spank Olive Oyl during the Search for Poopdeck Pappy comic arc, but that was because Olive wouldn't stop ranting about how nasty Pappy was to her.
Debut: December 17, 1919
Voiced By: Mae Questel (1933-1938, 1944-1960's), Margie Hines (1938-1943), Bonnie Poe (1933-1934), Marilyn Schreffler (1978), Kelly Hu (Robot Chicken), Tabitha St. Germain (2004, The Quest for Pappy), Amy Adams (animated film), Sandy Fox (Popeye And Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges in Universal's Island of Adventure) Naoko Watanabe (Japanese dub)
Portrayed by: Shelley Duvall (Live-action film)
Popeye's love interest and frequent Damsel in Distress. Olive is a very fickle being, who keeps going between liking Popeye and liking Bluto, despite the loyalty from both of them.
It is important to note that Olive Oyl's creation precedes that of Popeye by a decade, since she and Ham Gravy (and after a year, her brother Castor) were the main leads of E.C. Segar's early Thimble Theater newspaper comics.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: With a side-order of Progressively Prettier. The cartoon Olive started out as similar in design to the comic strip one, she eventually got redesigned and by the time of the Famous Studios cartoons had become rather pretty.
- Alliterative Name: Olive Oyl.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: To Castor; most apparent early in the comic. They spend an awful lot of time arguing and insulting one another, with Olive usually getting in the most digs. In the live-action movie their relationship is pretty much the same, except now Olive is older and Castor is the one seen as the Annoying Younger Sibling.
- Beware the Nice Ones: When angered enough, she's almost as dangerous as Popeye.
- Catchphrase: "Help! Popeye! Save me!" The Famous Studios shorts gave her "Keep away from me, you - you *insert insult here*!" and variants of it.
- Chickification: To an extent: the comics and the early Fleischer Studios shorts featured a more rough and tumble Olive who, while sometimes a damsel regardless, would get involved in the series' trademark roughhousing, especially the comics where she was often right there adventuring with Popeye. The later Fleischer Shorts and the Famous Studios shorts, which were rerun the most and become the more iconic as a result, fell more into Strictly Formula and had entirely as the flighty but passive fair weather girlfriend she's most remembered for being, without much deviation.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: More so in the comics than in the animated shorts, if another woman takes so much as a second look at her "sailor boy", she's ready to gouge their eyes out.
- Damsel in Distress: Popeye saves Olive from Bluto/Brutus...Subverted at least once in an old cartoon - Bluto enters Olive's room, and a scuffle breaks out, Olive is crying for help - when Popeye enters, Olive is still yelling while clubbing an unconscious Bluto with a skillet.
- The Ditherer: One of her defining traits is her inability to choose between Popeye or Bluto.
- The Flapper: Originally conceived as this.
- Frying Pan of Doom: Uses a skillet to club Bluto into unconsciousness in one cartoon.
- Happily Married: In Popeye and Son, she does eventually marry Popeye.
- Informed Attractiveness: In the comic and early cartoons, at least by today's standards. At the time of her creation, Olive's stick-thin figure was considered quite attractive. According to Bud Sagendorf, who wrote and drew the comic strip and comic books for a time, her measurements are 19-19-19.
- Mama Bear: Very protective of Swee'pea, so you better not make him cry.
- Marriage of Convenience: In one incarnation, she married Popeye so she could hold on to her estate, and Popeye married her to retain custody of Swee'pea. They've been Happily Married ever since.
- Morton's Fork: In one incarnation, Popeye reveals through a flashback, explaining Olive's highly unique wedding ring, that Bluto came to her demanding her hand in marriage (so he could control her estate) or she'd lose her estate through a very antiquated inheritance law. Fortunately, she was able to marry Popeye, who had far more benevolent reasons to ask for her hand in marriage.
- Noodle People: She's very thin.
- Punny Name: A play on "olive oil". The rest of her family falls into this as well (Cole Oyl, Nana Oyl, and Castor Oyl). Lampshaded in the live-action film, when Popeye rhetorically asks if she'd rather name the baby, "Baby Oyl".
- Rubber Hose Limbs: Done as a visual effect, and a quite characteristic one, every time she waves her arms while calling Popeye for help.
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: In the comics, particularly. Comics Olive is often surly and snide, and she and Popeye often snipe and swipe at each other - especially on her part - but are endlessly loyal and devoted to one another.
- Slapstick Knows No Gender: She often suffers comic abuse when caught in the struggle between Popeye and Bluto.
- Vocal Evolution: As Mae Questel reprised her role in the Famous Studios Popeye cartoons, she toned down Olive's originally nasally voice for a more pleasant tone that sounds almost Betty Boop-ish. This was probably a purposeful decision to match Olive's Progressively Prettier status in the later shorts.
Debut: September 12, 1932
Voiced By: William Pennell (1933-1935,1942,1943), Gus Wickie (1935-1938), Pinto Colvig (1939-1940), Dave Barry (1942-1944), Tedd Pierce (1942), Jackson Beck (1944-1960s), Garry Chalk (2004)
Portrayed by: Paul L. Smith (Live-action film)
Popeye's rival, who was initially a minor villain in the original Segar comics, but was made into a prominent character in the Fleischer cartoons. He's the bully we all know or have known in life. His relationship with Popeye is shaky, but it seems more like a rivalry than anything, and the two have had their friendly moments together-and if we take one Minute Maid ad at face value, they can become downright affectionate towards each other sometimes. In some cartoons, he was known as Brutus.
- Accidental Proposal: In Popeye and Son, he escapes Popeye's pursuit, after stealing Popeye's ring, intended for Olive Oyl, only to crash and fall (next to a woman who admired him) in a fashion very close to the classical marriage proposal form. He choose to go through with the wedding anyway.
- Adaptational Badass: Though he always looks physically imposing, Bluto's actual strength varies between continuities. In some of them, he is a weakling for all his size and is forced to resort to trickery to catch up; in others, he is stronger or at least equal to Popeye in their natural state, but no match for him when he eats his spinach; and in the rare ones, he is a behemoth that poses a menace even for a spinached-up Popeye. Most adaptations typically run with the second version, though he has never stopped showing a ludicrous glass chin.
- Adaptational Heroism: In the 2004 CGI movie The Quest for Pappy, Bluto is a good guy and actual best friend of Popeye.
- Adaptation Name Change: Named Brutus in the comics and the 60's shorts due to King Features being unsure of whether or not they owned the rights to the character.
- Arch-Enemy: To Popeye.
- And Now You Must Marry Me: In one incarnation, he tries to force Olive to marry him, or she loses all rights to her ancestral estate.
- Babies Ever After: In Popeye and Son, he has a son, Tank. This combines with Generation Xerox as his son really takes after him in appearance and personality as well as having the same dynamic with Popeye's son, Popeye Junior.
- Badass Beard: He's incredibly strong and has a beard.
- Beard of Evil: Bluto has a beard and is a huge jerk.
- Breakout Villain: Bluto was a very minor villain in the original Segar comics, only appearing for roughly 18 daily strips in a 1932 story. The animated cartoons were what made him a major player in the franchise.
- Butt-Monkey: Especially since he keeps messing with Olive Oyl.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Bluto is indeed aware of being evil.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Some shorts feature Bluto and Popeye as business rivals. For example, the Famous short "A Hull of a Mess" had the two of them competing for a military contract to build warships. In the Al Brodax short "Spinach Shortage", Bluto Expy Brutus monopolized Spinach and was withholding it to raise prices. While it's anyone's guess if he did anything illegal to obtain his spinach monopoly, it's still illegal to abuse monopoly even if it was obtained fair and square.
- Catchphrase: When voiced by Gus Wickie, a furious "WHY, I..." whenever someone fought back against him. Sometimes followed by an equally furious "I'LL FIX HIM!" Both are best heard in Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor.
- Characterization Marches On: In the Fleischer era cartoons of the 1930s and 1940s, he was more of a big, dumb, hulking brawler. In the Famous Studios cartoons after World War II into the 1950s, Bluto became smarter, more cunning and crafty, developing more intricate schemes to trick Popeye or get him out of the picture so he could try to get a kiss from Olive.
- Decomposite Character: Although "Bluto" and "Brutus" are typically just different names for the same character, the Ocean Comics and the comic strip have depicted the two as separate individuals, twin brothers in both cases. There's also "The Return of Bluto" storyline from the comic strip which had Bluto meeting several very familiar looking, bearded thugs who all called themselves "Brutus".
- Dirty Coward: Bluto is all too willing to run away from danger, even if it means somebody else is still in trouble.
- Disproportionate Retribution: In "Organ Grinder's Swing", he terrorizes Wimpy and his pet monkey by giving them a burning hot coin, throwing his furniture (including a burning hot grate) at them, and then resorting to smashing apart his grinder, all because he was annoyed by the music he's playing.
- Does Not Like Spam: He hates spinach, which explains why he usually doesn't eat it himself.
- Dumb Muscle: During the Fleischer Studios era cartoons of the 1930s and early 1940s.
- Everything Sounds Sexier in French: The short portraying Bluto as an etiquette teacher had him introducing himself as "Prof. Bluteau".
- Of the villain Red Flack from the film The Big Trail.
- There's another similar character named Brutus. The 1980s Ocean Comics miniseries stated that they're twin brothers.
- Eyes Always Shut: His default facial expression in most of the Fleischer shorts had him with a scowl and his eyes closed.
- Fat Bastard: Is sometimes depicted as being more obese than muscular.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Easily flustered, which goes hand in hand with his brute strength.
- Happily Married: Amazingly. At least in Popeye and Son. Even though it was purely accidental, he finds and marries a woman other than Olive Oyl, who not only suits him better but is far wealthier than Olive will ever be.
- He Cleans Up Nicely: Looks nice when he dresses up and shaves.
- HeelFace Revolving Door: He is stated to be former best friends and Navy buddies with Popeye before Olive got between them, and perhaps that's the reason there are episodes and adaptations in which they have a Worthy Opponent or Friendly Enemy relationship (if not outright friendship until something gets between them again). The best example is Popeye's Voyage: The Quest for Pappy, where he's a nice guy and Popeye's first mate, and when Olive starts hitting on him (not knowing she's being mind-controlled by the Sea Hag), he turns her down.
- Henpecked Husband: In Popeye and Son, his wife utterly dominates him by force of personality. Everyone in town is quite happy with this as it does wonders to keep Bluto from directly antagonizing anyone, especially Popeye.
- Informed Flaw: He is usually described as an unintelligent brute, even by himself as in the quote above, but he often shows pretty cunning and convoluted plans.
- Jerkass: Hes womanizing, crude, and an all-around butthead.
- Karma Houdini: Averted for the most part as antagonizing Popeye almost always winds up getting him utterly humiliated one way or another. There is one notable exception that meets this trope and takes it Up to Eleven. Bluto never suffers any consequences in Popeye and Son for stealing Popeye's wedding ring meant for Olive Oyl. No, he actually gets rewarded instead, by marriage to a far wealthier and more suitable woman, who not only makes him happy, but bore him a son.
- Large Ham: Bluto enjoys hamming it up.
- Leitmotif: The Fleischer Studios cartoons used the sea shanty "Blow The Man Down" as a motif for him, always played with tubas, basses and other low toned instruments.
- Made of Iron: Though not quite to the extent of Popeye.
- Manipulative Bastard: In the 1980 live-action film, when he plans to exploit Swee'Pea's fortune predicting abilities to find Poopdeck Pappy's treasure.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: His countless, unsuccessful attempts to get Popeye out of the picture so he can woo Olive Oyl.
- Named by the Adaptation: Combined with Alliterative Name.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: Yeah, he's goofy and not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, but he's as dangerous as Popeye when you provoke him—and that doesn't take much, either.
- Out of Focus: Despite being a major character, Bluto is absent from a surprisingly large number of the Fleischer Popeye cartoons, particularly late in their run on the series—out of the 109 they made, he is absent from at least 49 of them.
- The Rival: Mostly in the cartoons, whenever he and Popeye have the same occupation. In the comics, Popeye claims Bluto is the only person who might be able to beat him in a fight.
- Stout Strength: Round and barrel-chested, but he can hold his own in a fight against Popeye before spinach is involved. Particularly when he was first introduced, he was one of Popeye's few matches in physical strength.
- Strong as They Need to Be: Bluto can overpower Popeye without spinach, no problem, at times but he can't overpower him without tricks at other times.
- Suicidal Overconfidence: In Popeye and Son, over a decade after both he and Popeye have gotten married, and now have teen-aged sons, he thinks he can take on, in open combat, The Sea Hag who is hurling around hurricane strength winds and has Popeye scared when she came to reclaim a mermaid statue that his son Tank stole from Popeye Junior. Had not Junior taken the statue back and thrown it at The Sea Hag, the town they were in would have gotten pulverized.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Brutus, during the 1960-1962 King Features TV cartoons
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Occasionally, Popeye and Bluto were depicted this way. The best example is "Fightin' Pals", which starts off with the two of them exchanging "playful" punches just as Bluto is heading off to explore Africa. When months pass and Bluto doesn't return, Popeye heads to "Darkesk Afrikey" to find his old pal. Driving himself to exhaustion, he finds Bluto... surrounded by lovely native girls, living in a tropical paradise. When Bluto sees Popeye on the brink of death, he hauls out a can of spinach and revives him. The two exchange polite greetings... and proceed to start beating the living crap out of each other, laughing all the way.
- Vocal Evolution: Due to him rotating through several actors in the series, Bluto has gone through a fairly wide range of different sounding voices. His initial voice, William Pennell, gave him a very deep, raspy sounding voice. Then Gus Wickie, his second actor, ditched the raspiness for a very deep Badass Baritone. Pinto Colvig, his third voice actor...basically gave him a very odd voice that sounds like his voiced for Grumpy. His most prominent voice actor, Jackson Beck, eschewed all of the previous voice characerizations for a smart-alecky wise-guy voice.
Voiced By: Charles Lawrence, Lou Fleischer, Jack Mercer (1960-1961), Allan Melvin, Daws Butler, Maurice LaMarche, William Baldwin (animated film), Sanders Whiting (2004)
Portrayed by: Paul Dooley (1980 film)
Wimpy is a recurring character in the Popeye comics and cartoons, and the sheer incarnation of The Load. Smart, but cowardly, greedy, selfish, and overall a glutton, Wimpy is the kind of guy who would sell out his friends for a hamburger (in fact, he even sides with a villain at one point in the comics).
While he was a very significant character in the comics, in Segar's days even coming close to eclipse Popeye himself in importance, the Fleischers merely made him an incidental character in the cartoons, who was always just there for the mere sake of comic relief — mostly because Dave Fleischer considered the character, such as he was in the comic, "too intellectual" to work in the film cartoons. In fact, he was so minor in the cartoons that he was abandoned by the Fleischers after "Onion Pacific", and it wasn't until a full decade later that he would appear again, in the short "Popeye Makes A Movie." (and even then, that appearance is through Stock Footage of 1937's Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves)
However, he has become a fan favorite, and even has a brand of burger joints in Europe named after him called "Wimpy's."
- Big Eater: But too cheap to pay for his own food.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: Wimpy often exhibits great technical prowess and a high level of competence — it's just that he either uses this intelligence just to get more food or needs food as an incentive to do anything.
- "I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today" is the most well-known one, and the only one to gain prominence in the cartoons, but in Segar's comics he had several:
- "Nice weather, isn't it, we're having?"
- "I'm buying, he's paying."
- "I'd like to invite you over to my house for a duck dinner. ...You bring the ducks!"
- "Let's You and Him Fight!"
- "Jones is my name... I'm one of the Jones boys." (Said when people are getting angry with him.)
- And whenever he's opining his preference for burger fillings: "I'll have pickle and onion and lettuce both."
- The Charmer: When he wants to be, although it doesn't always work on people who know him too well.
- Con Man: He has a million schemes to get food from others. Someetimes goes to extreme lengths for petty reasons; in one Sunday strip he literally drops dead and comes back to life as part of a scheme to get a hamburger from Rough House.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: When Popeye and Bluto are fighting over him as a customer, whether at a carnival booth or in a diner war, Wimpy will find a way to take advantage of the situation by promoting the "fight of the century" between Popeye and Bluto, or getting a meal for nothing in the midst of a diner war. He even manages to find a pearl in an oyster at Roughhouse's Diner, and Geezil tells Roughhouse that he sold Wimpy a phony pearl for a dime, which just happened to be the price of a single oyster.
- Demoted to Extra: A major character in the comics, but a recurring bit player in the theatrical shorts. He was dropped from the cartoons for several years except for a minor, nonspeaking reappearance in "Popeye Makes A Movie" and a role in "Spree Lunch". He started to make more appearances once the made-for-tv cartoons came along. This was primarily due to the fact that Max Fleischer felt that intellectual characters weren't that funny, and the studio wasn't sure of what to do with him.
- Everyone Has Standards: Wimpy is a mooch, cowardly, selfish, lazy, and has stabbed Popeye in the back on several occasions, but he absolutely refuses to kill under any circumstances. He's also greatly angered at the idea of anyone poaching Goons.
- Eyes Always Shut: The only time his eyes are ever visible is when he's surprised or scared.
- Fat Bastard: Wimpy is fat and selfish.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Even his best friend, Popeye, can only take so much. Popeye once got so angry with him, he paid off a cop to have Wimpy arrested!
- Gentleman Snarker: He's usually polite, but that doesn't mean he always says nice things.
- The Ghost: In "Spinach vs Hamburgers".
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
- Completely self-centered and won't hesitate a moment to con his friends out of their food or money, but he's never malicious, and gets many Pet the Dog moments.
- In a Segar story arc where Popeye adopts an orphaned girl, he's brought to tears after hearing her situation, and willingly parts with one of his hamburgers so she can have something to eat. The girl graciously gives it right back though, which Wimpy is more than willing to accept (much to Chef Roughhouse's chagrin).
- Kavorka Man: He's a fat, squinty-eyed moocher, but certainly he has no trouble wooing the ladies, and he will try if he finds out they have access to hamburgers.
- Last-Name Basis: Most people who know him just call him Wimpy, although a few women who've been romantically involved with him, including the Sea Hag, will call him Wellington.
- The Load: Usually, but in his case it's not so much that he isn't capable of being helpful, it's just that most of the time he doesn't bother to. When he actually bothers to use his smarts for other things than conning food out of others, he can actually be quite useful.
- Meaningful Name: He is quite the wimp, true to his name.
- Pet the Dog: He willingly parted with one of his beloved hamburgers to feed an orphan girl (although she gave it right back to him).
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: In the Segar comics he was one to Geezil, an Ambiguously Jewish shoemaker (who only appeared in a few cartoons), though he mostly ignored him.
- The Stoic: Generally more emotionally reserved than the other characters, Wimpy usually keeps a cool head unless something genuinely saddens, frightens or angers him. He rarely even laughs.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Hamburgers. For which he'll gladly pay you Tuesday.
- Vocal Evolution: Wimpy frequently changed actors throughout the cartoons, and he goes through a variety of different sounding voices as a result.
- Wild Card: He can be Popeye's friend, or a Punch-Clock Villain assistant to Bluto, which varies according to the episode.
- With Friends Like These...: A lot of times, he'll either try to mooch off of Popeye, or stab him in the back for the promise of food, money, or safety.
Voiced By: Mae Questel(1936-1938),(1940s- 1960s), Margie Hines (1938-1943), Marilyn Schreffler(1970s-1980s), Corinne Orr (1972), Tabitha St. Germain (2004)
Portrayed by: Wesley Ivan Hurt (Live-action film)
A Doorstop Baby adopted by Popeye (or Olive Oyl, depends on the incarnation or the story), Swee'pea is a little baby who has a knack for getting himself into trouble.
A fairly major character in the comic (especially after he learned to talk) but a pretty minor one in the cartoons — his last appearance under the original Fleischer Studios was, fittingly, in their last cartoon, "Baby wants a Battleship" in 1942, and he would appear again in the 1950 Famous short "Baby Wants Spinach."
- Badass Adorable: Has some rare moments of this, like the short "Lost And Foundry" for instance, and in the comics, he's taken out grown men, including one who was supposed to be Popeye's opponent in a boxing match. But then again, with an "infink" raised by Popeye, what do you expect?Popeye: He eats his spinach and drinks his milk.
- In a later Segar story arc, Sweepea unwittingly ends up on the front lines of a war, and he actually manages to pull through it in one piece. He even unwittingly throws a grenade into an enemy trench, blowing them to kingdom come!
- Changeling Fantasy: In the comic, at least, he turns out to be the Crown Prince of Demonia, who after his father was killed was sent to Popeye for protection against his Evil Uncle. This tends to be ignored by later writers, though.
- Depending on the Writer: He's either adopted, Olive Oyle's child, or both her and Popeye's child. In some cartoons, he's hinted to be Olive's nephew that she sometimes takes care of, in others he's hinted to be Popeye's nephew (making him a cuter, less rascally replacement for Pupeye, Peepeye, Pipeye and Poopeye). In the live-action film, he's adopted. In the 2004 CGI film, he's definitely Popeye and Olive's child.
- Some cartoons, especially the '60's shorts, has him talking.
- Happily Adopted: Make no mistake, it's abundantly clear that he and Popeye love each other very much.
- Not Allowed to Grow Up: A strange version; in his first appearances he was a fairly normal baby (or at least a normal cartoon version of a baby), but over the years learned to talk and could converse on anything just as well as any adult, but in appearance he remained a crawling baby. This was Lampshaded a few times. Later appearances sometimes reverse this development and present him as too young to talk again.
- The Omniscient: Only in the live-action movie, thanks to his role being merged with that of Eugene the Jeep. He can tell the future and seems to know exactly what's going on at all times, causing him to become a Living MacGuffin to the other characters — but as he's too young to talk, they're limited to "yes" or "no" questions.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: His real name is "Scooner Seawell Georgia Washenting Christiffer Columbia Daniel Boom" (Popeye got a little carried away when naming him), but he's usually just called "Swee'pea" — to such an extent, in fact, that several writers have forgotten that this isn't his real name.
- Straying Baby: Very frequently in the theatrical cartoons, he will usually end up wandering off and getting into trouble with Popeye desperately chasing after him.
Debut: April 1, 1936
An odd dog-like, orchid eating creature that is Popeye's pet, usually referred to as "The Jeep", he has a very powerful nose and his able to teleport, turn invisible, phase through walls and even levitate/walk on air!
- Demoted to Extra: A somewhat major player in the comics, but he only appeared in three of the Fleischer cartoons (two in a prominent role, and a cameo appearance in "Wotta Nitemare").
- Early-Bird Cameo: His first full appearance was on an April 1st comic strip, but his appearance was alluded to in several preceding strips, which obscured most of his appearance in the box he was shipped in.
- Living MacGuffin: In his first appearance in the comic, he becomes this — there are a lot of people who want him for his abilities.
- The Omniscient: He knows everything and can predict the future, and will gladly tell you if you ask him — but since he can't talk he can only answer "yes" or "no" questions.
- Once for Yes, Twice for No: Ask him a "yes" or "no" question; if he raises his tail, the answer is "yes," if he lowers it, the answer is "no." This method of communication isn't flawless, however, as he like so many animals also often uses his tail to express emotion; at one point Popeye thought the Jeep was answering "yes" to a question — it turned out that he hadn't heard the question and was raising his tail because he had seen something interesting on the ground and was curious about it.
- Picky Eater: Only eats one thing, orchids.
- Pokémon Speak: Only speaks by saying his species name.
- The Unintelligible: Some cartoons ignore the Once for Yes, Twice for No thing and just make him this, leaving other characters to translate what he's saying.
Debut: January 14, 1920
Portrayed by: Donovan Scott (live action film)
The main character of Thimble Theater alongside Olive, before Popeye came along. He's Olive's older (but shorter) brother; originally an opportunistic and money-obsessed adventurer who eventually settled down to become a detective.
- Adapted Out: He's almost entirely absent from the Fleischer cartoons, really only appearing in one of them, The Spinach Overture from 1935. Likewise, he's nowhere to be seen in most other adaptations... apart from the live-action movie, where he's a fairly major character.
- Adaptational Dumbass: In the live-action movie, Castor is far from an idiot (he does manage to trick Bluto out of beating him up), but he is notably less intelligent and sophisticated than his comic counterpart.
- Age Lift: A minor one, but in the live-action movie he's Olive's younger brother.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: The live action movie making him younger than Olive also means it turns him into this.
- Demoted to Extra: And how. Debuting only one year after the start of Thimble Theatre, Castor was arguably the main character of the comic for nine years — only to have his role drastically reduced after Popeye appeared and rose to stardom. He remained an important character in the comic for quite a while after that, keeping his role as the one who started plots off by dragging Popeye and Olive along on his Get Rich Quick Schemes, but after a while he began appearing less and less, and was eventually Put on a Bus when he bought a ranch and moved out west. However...
- The Bus Came Back: ...he did return to prominence when Bobby London briefly took over the strip, and in the 2012 IDW comics he was also a major recurring character.
- Get Rich Quick Scheme: Especially in the comic's early years, many of the plots were driven by Castor's penchant for these.
- Little Big Brother: He's older than Olive, but he's only about half her height.
- Punny Name: Like his sister, his name is a play on a type of oil.
- Shorter Means Smarter: Far shorter in stature than Olive or Popeye, but a good deal more clever than either of them... though not quite as clever as he himself thinks.
Voiced by: Jack Mercer (1941) note , Jackson Beck (1961)
Portrayed by: Richard Libertini (live action film)
A presumably Russian(?) cobbler with a profound hatred for Wimpy.
- Adapted Out: For the most part. His only appearance in the theatrical cartoons were two cameos. He also appeared in a couple of the sixties cartoons, and was given a supporting role in the movie.
- Ambiguously Jewish: He looks very much like an Orthodox Jew, with his long beard and black attire.
- Funetik Aksent: His odd speech pattern seems to give off the impression that he's from Eastern Europe, possibly Russia. The movie seems to confirm this.
- Dark Horse Victory: He gets an amusing cameo at the end of the short, "Clean Shaven Man", where Popeye and Bluto get into a fight at a barbershop after hearing that Olive prefers her men to be well groomed, only to find she's now going out with Geezil!
- Hair-Trigger Temper: He's frequently flustered or angry, especially if Wimpy is nearby.
- Ruritania: He's from some unspecified country in eastern Europe, and may be Ambiguously Jewish.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: He hates Wimpy with a passion, who for the most part, just ignores him. He even once went so far as to kill him and would have succeeded had he not offered to buy everyone a hamburger after the doctor pronounced Wimpy dead.
Debut: September 27, 1936
Voiced By: Jack Mercer (1938-1960's), Billy West (2004)
Portrayed by: Ray Walston (live action film)
Popeye's long lost, 99 year old, senile father. Almost identical to Popeye in appearance (although he frequently denies it) except with a beard and a higher pitched voice.
- Cool Old Guy: Senile he may be, but super strength and fearlessness is something that runs in Popeye's family. He aided Popeye in taking down an entire legion of Goons in "Goonland"! In the 1980 Popeye , he manages to rescue Swee'Pea from an octopus and Bluto.
- Defrosting Ice King: He was a total jerk to Popeye and Olive in his initial comic appearances, mainly because he wanted to be left alone on his island. Popeye eventually manages to win him over and bring out his more sympathetic qualities.
- Dirty Old Man: He seems to enjoy the company of much younger women.
- Grumpy Old Man: An aggressive man in his 90's.
- He-Man Woman Hater: In the Segar comics, he is downright misogynistic and hostile to Olive Oyl, and the feeling is mutual.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In all incarnations, he is grouchy and even downight hostile at times, but when it comes down to it he's not such a bad guy; he ultimately has a change of heart when he starts bonding with Swee'Pea in the movie.
- Kavorka Man: He frequently manages to go on dates with women that are maybe a third of his age at the most.
- Leitmotif: Once he became a regular, he got Popeyes Poopdeck Pappy.
- Manchild: He's more childish than his son is.
- Papa Wolf: Despite being rude and grumpy towards Popeye, he is shown to be very protective, even taking on an army of Goons in "Goonland", and rescuing Swee'Pea from Bluto and an octopus in Popeye (1980 film).
- Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: Poopdeck is elderly, plus he is curmudgeonly.
- Uncanny Family Resemblance: He looks like an unkempt version of Popeye with a scraggly white beard. He's taken advantage of this on a few occasions, and shaved off the beard to mess with Olive.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: In both the comics and his animated debut, he doesn't care about his son at all. In the comics, he gradually warms up to Popeye, while in "Goonland", he springs up at the sign of Popeye's life in danger, and eats some spinach so he can save his only son.
- Would Hit a Girl: He slugged Olive Oyl when they first met. The two have been at odds ever since.
Voiced By: Jack Mercer
Popeye's quadruplet nephews.
- Bratty Half-Pint: They're very stubborn and rather obnoxious.
- Captain Ersatz: They are an obvious attempt to emulate the likes of Happy Hooligan's nephews or Donald Duck's nephews.
- Canon Foreigner: They never appeared in the comics; their appearances are largely exclusive to a handful of the Fleischer cartoons, and several of the Famous Studios shorts and episodes of the All New Popeye Hour show.
- Chaste Toons: Outside of their first appearance, they're Popeye's nephews.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: In later appearances, only two or three of the nephews would appear, presumably due to budget cuts.
- Does Not Like Spam: Despite being related to Popeye, they despise spinach, even after finding out it's benefits.
- Early Installment Weirdness: In their first appearance in 1940, they were only a figment of Olive's dream, were Olive and Popeye's sons, and Poopeye was called Pepeye instead.
- Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: It probably felt embarrassing for one of Popeye's nephews to live with the name "Poopeye".
A short, bespectacled navy buddy of Popeye. He appeared in three early Famous Studios Popeye shortsnote .
- Canon Foreigner: Exclusively created for the Famous Studios Popeye shorts.
- The Load: He's an airheaded, overly earnest buffoon who is often a great burden to Popeye, basically reducing the latter to a straight man role as he puts up with all the trouble Shorty unwittingly causes for him.
- Meaningful Name: A small guy named Shorty.
Voiced By: Mae Questel (1961), Marilyn Schreffler (1978), Kathy Bates (2004)
The Sea Hag is a pirate witch with a ship called the Black Barnacle and a finger in every evil scheme. She fell in love at first sight with Popeye and grew vengeful when he didn't reciprocate.
- Abhorrent Admirer: Although Popeye doesn't make a big deal out of her unattractiveness. (Nor is it that notable, in context.)
- Adapted Out: From a lot of the adaptations, though not all. She wasn't worked into the Paramount cartoons until the early sixties and didn't appear in Robert Altman's live-action film.
- Amazing Technicolor Population: She had green skin in the 60's shorts.
- Antagonist in Mourning: Anytime it seems that Popeye is vanquished.
- ArchEnemy: To Popeye.
- Last of Her Kind: She's the last witch on earth.
- Lean and Mean: Sea Hag is a lanky woman who is evil.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: She's a pirate witch who practices voodoo and sometime runs criminal shell corporations.
- Shapeshifting: In the 2004 CGI movie, she has the ability to change into a young beautiful siren-voiced mermaid.
- Witch Species: She's stated to be the last witch on Earth, so apparently it's not something just anyone can learn.
- Woman Scorned: She is really Not Good with Rejection.
- Worthy Opponent: Popeye considers her this and was relieved to find out she hadn't died when it looked like she had.
Voiced By: Jackson Beck (1961), Allan F. Nichols
A local, hard working chef and recurring character of the comics, who runs the Rough House Cafe, one of Popeye's local hangouts. Wimpy also frequents his restaurant, although Rough House has a clear dislike of him due to his methods to con free food out of him.
- Adapted Out: Completely absent from the theatrical cartoons. He did make an appearance in one of the Al Brodax Popeye episodes, "Wimpy the Moocher".
- Berserk Button: Rough House openly hates Wimpy, and as Popeye finds out in "Wimpy the Moocher", just mentioning his name is enough to set off Rough House.
- The Bully: He loves to throw his weight around, or if that's not enough, his parents'. He never goes too far because that would threaten his athletic scholarship. What he hates most about Popeye Junior is that Junior will never bend the knee to him.
- Jerk Jock: He's the number one athlete in school with Popeye Junior a very close second, and he's every bit as unpleasant as Bluto, his father.
- Never My Fault: Not only do his parents bail him out when he gets in trouble, they go out of their way to try and find some way they can blame Junior for it, while ignoring his own behavior.
- Spoiled Brat: Not only do his parents pretty much give him whatever he wants, whenever he wants, they openly enable, support, and actively encourage his nastier traits.
- Corrupt Politician: She twisted inheritance law, eminent domain, and the Child Welfare Act into pretzels to try and seize the Oyl estate for herself, and her interests, and to strip Popeye of custody over Swee'pea respectively. While the way she did it was entirely legal (at least in-universe), the morality behind it is dubious, at best.
- Entertainingly Wrong: When it came to Bluto's "proposal," she took 2+2 and got 22. She figured that he had her blockade all the places where one could get married, and under his name, because he wanted her to marry him, and the moment he crashed into her estate, totaling his car in the process, Popeye's stolen wedding ring in hand, and landed before her in the classic pose (or something very close to it), she immediately agreed to marry him, aloud, before he could say anything. He never bothered to correct her.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: She wears glasses and has little in the way of scruples.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Her machinations to seize the Oyl estate and strip custody of Swee'pea from Popeye get Olive and Popeye married to each other, giving Swee'pea, aka Popeye Junior, a stable, loving, two-parent family where he grows up to be a happy, well adjusted teen-age boy that is also a moral pillar for the community.
- Villain Has a Point: Child Protective Services should have been very, very interested in Popeye. A bachelor with a shady past, prone to get into fights, and no stable source of income is clearly not a good place to raise a child.