1929: Popeye Debuts in Victoria Newspaper
Long before Robin Williams ever portrayed a spinach-swallowing cartoon named Popeye, the tattooed sailor made his syndicated debut in south Texas inside the pages of the Victoria Advocate.
The year was 1929. The paper decided to take a chance on a new comic strip created by Elzie Crisler Segar called "Thimble Theater". The comic featured an inked up seaman who's love for spinach would go on to become an animated cartoon series and even a major movie.
Being the new guy at the radio station, I had no idea! Popeye's roots are right here in Texas? Yup, the Houston Chronicle reminded me of the anniversary this morning. I also had no idea how long the Victoria Advocate has been around. It's the second oldest newspaper in the state. I'm learning lots of new stuff today.
Being a kid from the midwest, I had always heard about a guy from Chester, Illinois named Frank "Rocky" Feigle who is said to have been the real-life inspiration for the character. Popeye's first line in the comic book strip back in 1929 was the line, "Ja think I'm a cowboy?" when another character asked him if he was a sailor.
Thanks to the Victoria Advocate for being the first newspaper to buy the comic strip (after it debuted in the New York Evening Journal and became available for syndication).