POPEYE… and angry toy shop managers!

Spinach-guzzling, pipe-smoking, forearm-expanding Popeye the sailor man made his first comic appearance in 1929 in the comic strip Thimble Theatre. Created by E.C. Segar, Popeye has featured in comics, cartoons, film and has appeared on merchandise sold around the world.

France. Pif Gadget. 1981.

France. Pif Gadget. 1981.


The 1981 French advert above was for a competition to win a Popeye toy display. The 2nd to 6th prize was for a walking Popeye, and the 7th to 200th prize was to win a kite. All you had to do to win was go into your local toy shop (in France) and take a photo of the Popeye display aisle!


Bit weird though don’t you think… taking photos of Popeye toys in a shop? I imagine some angry manager turning up demanding to know why so many local children are cluttering up the aisles with their Kodaks! But it’s okay really because the competition was for participating stores, and children would realise this by looking out for leaflets, flyers and posters inside the store instructing them to happily snap away. Phew!

Next up is this double page comic ad for the Parker Brothers video game Popeye The Sailor Man.

US. Alpha Flight 4. 1983.

US. Alpha Flight 4. 1983.

Corgi Popeye cars

Fair Play. France. 1980.

Fair Play. France. 1980.

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