E.C. Segar: Why Popeye popped onto Google's homepage

Popeye, the spinach-gulping sailor, celebrates E.C. Segar on Google today.

E.C. Segar, the creator of Popeye, gets a birthday surprise from Google.
Here's Popeye back in his Thimble Theatre days. Tuesday is cartoonist E.C. Segar's 115th birthday.

E.C. Segar, the man behind Popeye the Sailor, received an appropriately raucous birthday message from Google Tuesday. Its home page features the husky hero smacking around Google's logo and about to swallow a quick serving of his favorite meal, canned spinach.

Today marks what would be the American cartoonist's 115th birthday.

Elzie Crisler Segar grew up in Illinois and quickly took to drawing. While holding down a job as a film projectionist and background percussionist at a local theater, he pursued cartooning through a correspondence course.

Segar eventually moved to Chicago and created the Thimble Theatre cartoon strip in 1919. After nearly 10 years of Olive Oyl and others gracing its panels, the series introduced a new character – a balding sailor with a perpetually shut eye, anchor tattoos, preposterous forearms, and a curious vocabulary.

Popeye soon outgrew the Thimble Theatre, earning his own cartoon strip, animated series, and live-action movie starring Robin Williams.

The spinach-gulping mariner is the latest in a long line of Google Doodles. Recent highlights include clay duo Wallace and Gromit, H.G. Wells's mysterious UFOs, and a week's worth of Sesame Street favorites.

Do you like Google's new retro logo style? Upset that the lovely Olive Oyl is MIA? Let us know in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter. We're @csmhorizonsblog.

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