Saturday, December 19, 2009
Happy 90th Birthday, Olive Oyl
It was on this date, December 19, 1919, That Elzie Crisler Segar started his new Comic Strip "Thimble Theatre" for King Features Syndicate. At first the strip was a parody of the silent movies of the day and the "stars" of the strip hero Harold Ham Gravy, damsel Olive Oyl and villian Willy Wormwood protrayed different roles each day.
After a few months of this format, Segar started to give his characters personalities and started to tell stories along with the gag-a-day format. Early in 1920 Segar introduced Olive's Brother, Castor Oyl and the stage was set for Thimble Theatre to tell the wild stories of the Oyl Family.
World-wide fame came in 1929 when Segar introduced Popeye the Sailor, the one-eyed, spinach chomping sea dog. He stole the hearts of the readers (and Segar's) and became the central figure in the strip and went on to conquer everything from animated cartoons, radio, TV, comic books and countless toys.
But the strip started with a skinny, pickled-nose "goil" named Olive Oyl. So Happy big 9-0 Olive, thanks to you and E.C. Segar, you gave birth to the icons of the comic strip world Popeye, Swee'pea, J. Wellington Wimpy, The Sea Hag, Eugene the Jeep, Alice the Goon and all the others.