Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tetragrammaton in Popeye the Sailor Man?

In Popeye?

With all my recent attention focused on the Gospel of John and the Tetragrammaton, I almost neglected to note the Name of the Lord implicit in the title and text of the second Popeye cartoon, released in 1933, though it was apparently the first official one according to The Big Cartoon Database entry on this animated feature:
The first official Popeye cartoon. This short also has Bluto singing the opening title song. This cartoon also featured the debut appearance of J. Wellington Wimpy, as well as the first usage of the opening/closing ship doors in the main titles. (The Big Cartoon Database)
You Tube seems to have the entire animated cartoon for our viewing pleasure, though tastes in humor have changed, as have views of Native Americans, thank goodness.

An interesting side note is that Ralph Ellison's protagonist in Invisible Man, published in 1952, quotes Popeye's self-identifying line. According to Anne Seidlitz, writing "Ralph Ellison: An American Journey" (PBS, August 24th, 2005):
When the protagonist in INVISIBLE MAN comes upon a yam seller (named Petie Wheatstraw, after the black folklore figure) on the streets of Harlem and remembers his childhood in a flood of emotion, his proclamation "I yam what I yam!" is Ellison's expression of embracing one's culture as the way to freedom.
Was Ellison alluding not only to Popeye but also to Exodus 2:14 in his protagonist's own madeleine episode? Exodus was, after all, a favorite book for African Americans, given its story of freedom from slavery.

Well, one can't always be serious about issues of religion, hence today's blog entry on Popeye's self-identification, but as to whether the Popeye figure himself obscurely alludes to Exodus 2:14, only Max and Dave Fleischer know for sure . . .

Labels: , ,


At 4:26 AM, Anonymous dhr said...


At 4:36 AM, Anonymous dhr said...

btw! The man who translated Popeye's (grotesque) comic strips into (a grotesque) Italian was the father of a friend of mine!

At 4:37 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Small world . . .

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 4:38 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

But that second link doesn't seem to be working . . . at least not from here in Korea.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 4:40 AM, Anonymous dhr said...

huh, the website is protected, the link doesn't work. Her name is Serena Guidobaldi however, www.serenaguidobaldi.com, a journalist, writer etc. (AND she was the wife of one of my own Comic Art teachers).

At 4:42 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Protected from links? Why bother to have a website? Anyway, thanks.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 4:54 AM, Anonymous dhr said...

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind...

(Genesis 1.2 "surfaces" again)

At 5:02 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I tried blowing in the wind, but that didn't seem to answer anything.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 8:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, it doon't work in Arkansas neither.

(Oh, while I'm here, I lost "our friend's" contact info. 'Huber' falling into a figurative Hell was one fine surprise.)


At 9:15 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

You can likely find that contact number at the website.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *


Post a Comment

<< Home