Friday, September 5, 2008

Popeye Picnic

This weekend is the annual Popeye Picnic out of Chester, Illinois. Chester was the birthplace and hometown of Popeye's creator, Elzie Crisler Segar. Every year the townspeople have a celebration of Popeye and Segar the second weekend of September. Each year they have a different theme and decorate accordingly. Above is the statue that was erected in 1977 in Segar's honor. The statue is located in Segar Park, just off the banks of the Mississippi River.
Last year they erected a statue of Olive Oyl. This drawing was done to be submitted as t-shirt to commemorate the occasion. It unfortunately wasn't picked. Chester plans to erect a statue each year of all the friends (and enemies) of Popeye at different locations around town.
Last years theme was Popeye vs. The Space Invaders. In 1977, UFO Magazine wrote an article that aliens had landed in Chester and in one night, completely obliterated the town, animals and citizens. In the same night, the aliens rebuilt the town and re-populated the town with humans and animals.
Whether this actually happened nobody knows for sure. (The town's folk don't really believe this) The town has become somewhat popular for this and have had visitors from all over the world come to see where the aliens landed. The above sketch was submitted to be used for different events around town. I forget where they used it.

This year's theme is Popeye vs. the Pirates. This drawing was done as a recreation of Patcheye the Pirate created by Bud Sagendorf. Sagendorf was Segar's only apprentice and in the late 1940's he started writing and drawing the Popeye comic books and in 1957, he took over the newspaper strip. Sagendorf created many new characters for the Thimble Theatre cast. (the newspaper strip's REAL name). Patcheye is the ghost of Popeye's great-grandfather. He will seen around Chester this weekend.

If you ever get the chance to visit Chester, I highly recommend it. It's a cute little town with great people. And when you're there, stop in at Spinach Can Collectibles. This is the Headquarters of the Popeye Fan Club. It is also a museum of all things Popeye and a place to buy great Popeye merchandise.

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