HomeINTERESTPOPEYE THE SAILOR existed in real life

POPEYE THE SAILOR existed in real life

POPEYE THE SAILOR  existed in real life, he was Frank “Rocky” Fiegel

Popeye the Sailor was created by Elzie Crisler Segar. The character first appeared in the King Features daily comic strip, Thimble Theater, on January 17, 1929.

Fiegel was a Pole who lived in the state of Illinois and, as it was known, was a person who used to have an extreme temperament that led him to fight continuously, even without measuring opponents; getting to take fist blows with men much bigger than him.

What was striking was that, although he was a small person, his strength was not and in almost every opportunity he was victorious in his brawls.

Furthermore, Fiegel was known for other facets: his kindness and, above all, his affection for children and his nickname, “Pop eye” (bulging eye).

In Chester, Illinois, Segar’s hometown, a man named Frank “Rocky” Fiegel is claimed to have been the real-life inspiration for the Popeye character. He had a prominent chin, a muscular physique, a distinctive tube, and a prone and agile ability for fist fighting. Fiegel died on March 24, 1947 without having married.

His headstone has Popeye‘s image engraved on it. The city of Chester erected a statue of Popeye in honor of Fiegel, which still stands today.

It is claimed that the residents of Chester’s hometown also served as inspiration for two other Segar characters, Dora Paskel was unusually tall and slim and wore a bow at the nape of her neck.

For more information, Olivia – the eternal lover of Popeye – was also inspired by a real woman, who went by the name of Dora Paskel while the staunch enemy of the sailor, Blutus, used to be a stocky man who was on the docks and was fought with Fiegel. Who won the fight despite the huge difference? The answer is more than obvious.

And the theater owner, J. William Schuchert, loved hamburgers so much that he sent his employees between performances to buy them between performances at a local tavern called Wiebusch’s, the same tavern that Fiegal would frequent and fistfight.

Locals say they don’t know if Segar ever recognized his inspiration, but they attribute it to his death nine years after Popeye’s debut.

In town, it seems obvious that Popeye, Wimpy, and Olive Oyl all got their start in Chester, especially when you look at photos of Fiegel’s jutting chin, matted frame, and ever-present pipe.

Fiegel was a little guy like Popeye, but without the hint of sweetness in his arrogance. He often got into fights at the Wiebusch tavern, and he didn’t lose many.

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