Monday, September 10, 2018

September 10, 1935: The Premiere of Popeye the Sailorman on Radio

 
September 10, 1935: The famous show Popeye The Sailor Man was aired for the first time on NBC on this day. The show was adapted from a comic strip written by Elzie Crisler Segar. The characters on the show were Popeye (main character), Olive Oyl, Brutus, Wimpy, and Sweepea. Many remember the unforgettable opening, "I'm Popeye the sailor man....toot..toot...!"

Previously a famous cartoon strip, Popeye was adapted as a radio broadcast by over three different networks and by two sponsors from 1935 to 1938. Popeye aired as a thrice-weekly 15-minute radio program, Popeye the Sailor was played by Detmar Poppen,  along with Olive Oyl (Olive Lamoy), Wimpy (Charles Lawrence), Bluto (Jackson Beck) and Swee'Pea (Mae Questel). The program was initially sponsored by Wheatena, a whole-wheat breakfast cereal, which would routinely replace the spinach references made throughout the show. Music was provided by Victor Irwin's Cartoonland Band. Announcer Kelvin Keech also sang (to composer Lerner's "Popeye" theme) "Wheatena is his diet / He asks you to try it / With Popeye the sailor man." Wheatena paid King Features Syndicate $1,200 per week for the ads.

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