Saturday, March 9, 2013

256. Tailored Sailor: POPEYE CLOTH DOLL

I've always been a Popeye fan ever since I was a kid, so when I saw this vintage cloth doll in Bangkal, I just had to get it. Popeye the Sailor Man, as the world knows, was born in 1929, a cartoon character created by Elzie Segar. Popeye first appeared in King Feature's daily comic strip and proved to be quite a hit; in 1933, cartoons were produced until 1957. In the Philippines, Popeye cartoons were shown starting in the mid 60s on Channel 7, delighting kids like me with his feats of strength (from a can of Spinach) used against his nemesis (Brutus) whose shenanigans always put into harm's way Olive Oyl, Brutis and hamburger-chompin' Swee'pea. As predicted, Popeye's global popularity resulted in the production of millions of licensed merchandise--toys, dolls, costumes, comics, books, to name just a few.

This Popeye cloth, I assumed was U.S. made--it had a cloth label with the very foreign-sounding brand name Henlich Mark.To my surprise, it turned out to be Philippine-made, a creation of a company owned and operated by the Henares-Lichauco Family back in the 60s. The enterprising Mrs. Lichauco had started the business at home, first, making powder puffs, then branching into children's costumes and stuffed toys which were popular among kids in the 70s thru the 80s. The company is still in existence today. This 22 inch doll has silkscreened features (including his anchor tattoos and trademark pipe), and comes with a separate collar and buttons to complete his sailor outfit. After all these years--Popeye lives on in this doll-- "strong to the finish, 'cause I eats me spinach, I'm Popeye the Sailor Man! Toot-toot!"

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