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.
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 1971. In addition to appearing in balloon form, he appeared in 1996 as a walk-around character alongside Olive Oyl on the classic Rocking Lobster toy float, The walk-around characters of Olive Oyl and Popeye also appeared on 75th Parade Superstars in 2001, and on the Hats Off To Our Heritage float in 2011.
Macy's Parade appearances
In 1986, he rode a 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 his first year as a Macy's parade balloon, Popeye's cap got filled with water from a heavy rainstorm, causing him to go off-course and pour gallons of water on the crowd. Due to this, the cap was redesigned (Samething Happened To Donald Duck In 1962).
In 1964, the balloon deflated upon preparation, and was replaced with Happy Dragon.