Friday, January 16, 2009

Popeye Week #6

Forrest "Bud" Sagendorf has worked on Popeye in print the longest and produced the most material. Sagendorf was E.C. Segar's only assistant. They met when he was a young child selling newspapers on a street corner. Sagendorf said that Segar was his only steady customer, buying the paper to see how his comic strip "Thimble Theatre" looked in print. Rain or shine Segar would be there to buy a paper and give a tip to young Forrest, monetary or artistically.
As a young teen "Bud" became Segar's apprentice, assisting in everything from layouts, inking, and story ideas. Segar liked to work at night and would often call his young assistant to come over late at night because he had an idea that needed to be worked out.
Segar was a avid sportsman and loved to fish, something he did since his childhood on the banks of the Mississippi River in his hometown of Chester, Illinois. Often these late-night story sessions would take place in a rowboat off the banks of Santa Monica, pen, paper and fishing rod in hand. Many a time the two artists had to be warned by the local authorities to keep the loud laughing down as they would come up with ideas for upcoming strips.
Sagendorf continued assisting his mentor when in 1937, Elzie Segar was diagnosed with Leukemia and passed away on October 13, 1938. King Features Syndicate, owners of the copyright of "Popeye" and "Thimble Theatre", hired first Doc Winner then Bela Zaboly to take over the Comic Strip. Sagendorf continued working on the Sunday page, helping with the games and puzzles section, all the while perfecting his artistic skills so that he would one day take over the adventures of Popeye.

In 1946 Dell Publishing, in their Four Color Series, wanted to start printing original Popeye material in their comic books. Bud Sagendorf took up the task of writing and drawing these comic book adventures of Popeye, Olive Oyl, Wimpy and the rest of the cast of characters created by his mentor, Elzie Segar. (The new stories started in Four Color #113 July,1946) After four issues, Popeye was awarded his own title in February of 1948, starting with #1.
In these comics, along with the cast of Thimble Theatre, Sagendorf included stories starring (from Segar's second strip) John Sappo and Prof. O.G. Wattasnozzle, the Mad Genius. He also in the early issues included stories of Olive Oyl's first boyfriend, Harold Ham Gravy. Ham had moved out West and these tales centered around his mis-adventures as a Cowboy.
Sagendorf produced 90 (plus) comic books published by Dell, Gold Key and King Comics. When the publishing rights went to Charlton Comics in 1969, he did covers for the first two issues and wrote and drew a couple of stories for the #100th issue.


In 1959 Bud Sagendorf was finally given the job that he trained for as a young apprentice, writing and drawing the Popeye Comic Strip. He took over the Dailies and Sundays in August of that year and added some new members to the cast. Between the strip and comic books Sagendorf introduced Granny, Popeye's irascible Grandmother - famous for her lousy cooking and fisticuffs. There was also Dufus, Popeye's dim-witted nephew (actually the son one of Popeye's old sailor buddies) and the ghost of his Great-Grandfather, Patcheye the Pirate.
Sagendorf also produced material for Little Golden Books, Western Publishing, coloring books and art for all the merchandise made from the 1950's to the 1990's.
In 1979 Bud Sagendorf wrote "Popeye: The First Fifty Years", a history of the One-Eyed Sailor and Elzie Crisler Segar, celebrating Popeye's Golden Anniversary.
Sagendorf continued on the daily strip until 1986 and the Sunday until his death in 1994. Today King Features Syndicate runs reprints of Sagendorf's work in the daily strip.

If Elzie Segar is the creator and father of Popeye, Olive, Wimpy, Swee'pea, etc. and the comic strip that introduced them, "Thimble Theatre", Bud Sagendorf would be their Step-Father.


1 comment:

Stacey said...

hi! i was wondering where u got ur information from. im trying to do a brief report on bud sagendorf but im having a hard time finding info on him. do you think you can help me out?

please and thanks!

stacey