Like most of my readers, I love the historical listing of light and fun facts. Did you know that on this date, March 26, 1937, spinach growers in Texas erected a statue of Popeye as a testament to him as a spinach icon? Now even our very young readers know that Popeye is a one-eyed sailor whose escapades with his companions are still entertaining today; and are not just a mechanism to make kids each spinach. What many of us don’t know is that his character was created for a comic strip in the 1920s. In 1933, Popeye and his friends were developed further into cartoon shorts for motion pictures. These cartoons proved to be among the most popular of the 1930s, and they were continued through 1957. Over the years, Popeye has also appeared in comic books, TV cartoons, games, advertisements, and peripheral products ranging from spinach to candy cigarettes. Later, Popeye was brought to real life by the big screen in the 1980s enacted by Robin Williams.  In 2002, TV Guide ranked Popeye number 20 on its “50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time” list. (Wikipedia)

So let’s digest the important lessons presented by this history. The first is that a character has been created that is so instilled in our hearts that he has endured for almost 100 years. Second lesson is that this character was a comic book character loved by children of many generations. Third lesson perhaps is that what we love when we are children lives in our hearts and furthermore is passed on as valuable to the next generation. Fourth lesson is that light hearted and wonderful characters are valuable whether the source of their creation is in a fairy tale, a comic strip, a novel, a drawing, a song, or whatever. Our memories hold dear that which make us laugh or perhaps makes us cry. A fifth lesson is that creativity is not limited to the likes of Van Gogh or  Mozart or actors or singers or scientists or etc.

The sixth lesson, most importantly, is that when Popeye was created as a cartoon character, nobody in that era expected him to be the spinach eating icon that he has become. The artist or writer or musician or cartoon drawer or anyone involved in the creative process is enveloped in the process of creating not knowing if what is perceived as the job at hand will ever be anything more than just a project. The sixth lesson then is: continue on and create. Give it your all. You see something important then tell it, draw it, write it! By creating, you add joy and knowledge to our collective hearts; and it’s your vision you present.

K. B. Pellegrino, Author

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