Top of Toon Town

A grizzled old sailor smoking a corncob pipe, cussing under his breath with one eye permanently closed is hardly what anyone would imagine as the greatest superhero during the Depression era — but that’s what Popeye was. He started out in a supporting role in the newspaper strip “Thimble Theatre,” and quickly became the lead. By 1933, he was a superstar for producer Max Fleischer and Paramount Pictures. After 25 years in theatrical shorts, Popeye conquered television in the ’50s and ’60s, an enduring symbol of two-fisted American individuality. Blow me down!

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