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Popeye finds his father, Poopdeck Pappy, 1936.
|Created by||E. C. Segar|
|Portrayed by||Ray Walston (Live-action film)|
Poopdeck Pappy is a fictional character featured in the Popeye (Thimble Theatre) comic strip and animated cartoon spinoffs. Created by E.C. Segar in 1936, the character is Popeye's 85-99-year-old father.
Pappy first appeared in Thimble Theatre not long after Popeye acquired Eugene the Jeep in 1936. Popeye decided to use the creature's supernatural knowledge to find his father. An expedition was set up to go to Poopdeck's home on Barnacle Island, which included Toar the caveman and Olive Oyl. The ungrateful father answered Popeye's greeting with, "You look like something the cat dragged in... I don't like relatives." He came to Popeye's home anyway, followed by some mermaids whom he had flirted with.
Poopdeck Pappy made his first animated appearance in the Popeye the Sailor short Goonland (1938). In this cartoon, it is revealed that Popeye has a long-lost father, not seen since infancy, who is being held captive in the bizarre realm of Goon Island. When he goes to rescue the "ol' goat" in the Goon prison, his father refuses to acknowledge Popeye as his son, but when Popeye himself is captured by the Goons, he eats Popeye's mislaid can of spinach to rescue his only child. In the mêlée that ensues, the filmstrip is broken and the animator must safety pin it back together to finish the cartoon.
Popeye is the spitting image of Poopdeck Pappy, though Pappy has a white beard. He is far less principled than his son, stealing from Popeye's bank account and trying to sell water for $5,000 in Death Valley. (To which, Popeye, while pouring water to the parched traveler, tells Poopdeck, "I yam disgustipated wit' ya!") There is no love lost between him and Olive Oyl, whom he calls a "lath-legged bean pole." (This stemmed from Poopdeck slugging Olive when they first met). However, while he is grumpy and somewhat hostile, he is quite protective of Popeye, and does have a hidden soft side.
After Segar's death, Poopdeck's mother (called Granny who looks like her son and grandson, but wearing a bonnet) was introduced into the strip. She refuses to treat her son as an "eighty-five year-old adult" (his age has been reduced from 99 to 85 in the comic strip) and often disciplines him after his raucous "nights on the town." She tends to be more amiable to Popeye, although she too believes that Olive needs a bit more meat on her bones. However, Olive agrees with how Granny keeps Pappy in the house, because when she does, the town is able to get a sound sleep. Granny is also notorious as being one of the worst cooks in the world.
In Robert Altman's Popeye, Poopdeck Pappy is played by Ray Walston. He is the "Commodore" of Sweethaven, but gets kidnapped by Captain Bluto and must be saved by Popeye. When Popeye sees his "squinky" eye and his pipe, he recognizes his long-lost father—though, as in their meeting on Goon Island, Pappy initially refuses to accept that Popeye is his son.