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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 after the parade

After this, Popeye sat atop a building during the 1969 parade, giving the illusion that he was watching it.

In 1980, Popeye appeared in the parade with his various friends, including his girlfriend Olive Oyl, to promote his live-action film, in which he was played by comedy legend Robin Williams.

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.

Incidents

  • 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 (However, the same thing happened to Donald Duck in 1962).
  • In 1958, Popeye's arm got punctured, and so the balloon had to be removed.
  • In 1964, the balloon failed to inflate the night before, and was replaced with Happy Dragon.