Well, blow me down: Popeye and Olive are tying the knot

January 24, 1999|By Arizona Republic

It won't supplant the nuptials of Charles and Diana as the Wedding of the Century (and let's hope it has a happier ending), but another celebrity marriage is on the horizon.

Next month, after 70 years of an often-bizarre dating relationship that makes Dennis Rodman and Carmen Electra look like Ozzie and Harriet, Popeye the Sailor Man will finally marry Olive Oyl. (Relax: Swee' Pea wasn't born out of wedlock; he was left on Popeye's doorstep.)

Does this mean the mush-mouthed, spinach-scarfing sailor will settle down? No more battle royales with Bluto? Only dipping into the spinach on the sly?

Hard to say. "The Wedding of Popeye and Olive" is a one-shot deal, with no plans for a follow-up story, says Bob Palin of Ocean Comics Inc., in Rhode Island.

After years of trying, Palin got the OK from Popeye's owners, King Features Syndicate, to do the wedding comic book, but says it's doubtful they'll let him do more.

The wedding, though, will be a gala event, featuring characters not seen in decades, such as Ham Gravy, Olive's former boyfriend (who, it seems, may try to win her back); Cole and Nana Oyl, Olive's parents; Castor Oyl, her brother; Eugene the Jeep and Poopdeck Pappy -- and Wimpy, of course.

Also invited is the Wiffle Hen, the character that originally gave Popeye his near-invincibility. "Spinach," Palin explains, "is a cartoon thing, not part of the original [comic] strip."

So why, after all these years, are the comics icons tying the knot? "I'd like to see them get married," Palin says simply. "I've been married 23 years. I think marriage is a cool thing. That's it, not anything deeper."

Actually, there's a little more to it. Palin thinks the landmark event will be a "profitable idea" -- sort of like when DC Comics killed off Superman a few years ago.

Perhaps. And perhaps pop culture is a living thing, which is why one can understand George Clooney leaving "E.R." or Van Halen getting a new singer every few years. But is any comics stunt worth making Popeye say "I do" rather than "I yam what I yam"?

Pub Date: 01/24/99

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