Who's who

Cast of Thimble Theatre.

Thimble Theatre was created by King Features Syndicate comic writer/artist E.C. Segar, and was his third published strip. The strip first appeared in the New York Journal, a newspaper operated by King Features owner William Randolph Hearst, on December 19, 1919 before later expanding into more papers. In its early years, Thimble Theatre featured characters acting out various stories and scenarios in theatrical style (hence the strip's name).

Daily strips

Stories created by Segar


Thimble Theatre began as a daily series of multi-panel gags, at first parodying theatrical films. By the time of Popeye's introduction, however, it had evolved into a serialized humor/adventure comic strip.

Popeye first appears as Castor Oyl, Ham Gravy and Olive Oyl set out on a trip to a faraway casino to win money with the aid of Bernice's powers.
  • "Olive's False Lover"
  • "The Brass-Mine Swindle"
  • "The Black Barnacle"
Popeye encounters the Sea Hag.
  • "The Haunted House"
  • "The Wiltson Mystery"
  • "Popeye and Glint Gore"
  • "The Give-Away Bank"
  • "The Great Rough-House war"
  • "Skullyville"
  • "The Eighth Sea"
Popeye meets the fearsome Bluto the Terrible.
  • "Long Live the King", or, "Gold and Goofs"
  • "King of Popilania"
Popeye rules his kingdom.
  • "Star Reporter"
  • "Puddleburg, the Laziest Town in the World"
  • "Romance and Riches"
  • "Unifruit", or, "White Savages"
  • "Black Valley"
  • "The Sea Hag's Sister", or, "The Pool of Youth"
  • "Popeye's Ark"
  • "You Can't Expect April Showers from War Clouds"
  • "Eugene, the Jeep"
Olive is given the strange animal, Eugene the Jeep, whose mysterious powers are sought by the unscrupulous Mr. Chizzelflint.
  • "The Search for Popeye's Poppa"
Popeye uses Eugene's powers to track down his lost father, Poopdeck Pappy.
  • "Civilizing Poppa"
  • "Mystery Melody"
Popeye helps a young woman who has fallen on hard times, even if it means breaking the law.
Poopdeck Pappy goes too far with his antics, getting himself into a big mess of trouble in the process.
  • "Valley of the Goons"
Segar became ill and was hospitalized in late 1937. Doc Winner took over as artist and completed this story.
  • "Hamburger Sharks and Sea Spinach"
This story was completely drawn by Doc Winner. It contains no art by Segar, as he was still ill and unable to return to the strip.
  • "King Swee'Pea"
Popeye and Swee'Pea (and friends) travel to the latter's kingdom which is threatened by demons. Segar returned as writer and artist and started this story in May, however, Tom Sims and Doc Winner would complete it after Segar once again became ill in August. Segar died in October 1938.

Post-Segar stories


Sims and Winner did two complete adventures as a team and began a third, before Winner left in late 1939.

  • "Spinach Juice Spring"
  • "Homeward Bound"
  • "The Rainbird"

Bela Zaboly took over the art duties in December, 1939, and completed "The Rainbird". The Sims/Zaboly team would maintain Segar's practice of developing longer adventures.

  • "The Roving Champion"
  • "The Roving Champion in the Land of the Jeeps"
  • "Seven Sons of the Sea Hag"
  • "Mystery Mansion"
  • "Where There's a Will There's a Relative"
  • "Davy Jones and the Sea Goon"
  • "Wimpy's Tadpole Tablets"
  • "Admiral Popeye"
  • "The Seagoosk"
  • "The Islands of Sunk Sun"
  • "Popeye in Limbo"
  • "Oh, Ring Them Bells"
  • "Sea-Dust"
  • "Popeye in the Navy"

Sims and Zaboly continued to create longer stories for the rest of their run on Thimble Theatre, but did not give every story an individual title.

  • "Popeye on Paradise Peak"
  • "The Island of Laughing Waters"
  • "A Two Million Dollar Comedy"
  • "Wimpy and the Whaleburgers"
  • "Popeye and the Evil Echo"
  • "The Upping Atom"
  • "Tears from Skies"
  • "Miss Juice of 1948"
  • "The Iceman from Iceland"
  • "Hooray for Ourside, You!!"
  • "Boogerman"
  • "The Lost Bomb Islands"
  • "Popeye's Poslokes"
  • "The Will of the Wimpy"
  • "The Goat-Headed Frogmen"
  • "Popeye vs. Thee Mann"
  • "Mary Lou of H-Burger Ranch"
  • "The Island Derby"
  • "Truth is Stranger"
  • "A Great Mystery"
  • "The Fresh-Water Denizen"
  • "Square Egg Island"
  • "No Stone Unturned"
  • "Look Out, Lummox!!"
  • "Icicle Island"
  • "There's a Hole in the Bottom!!"
  • "Pturkey Island"
  • "Napple or Yapple"
  • (Undoo Island)
  • "Uss vs. Themm & Thees & Thoos"
  • "Pails of Pearls"
  • "Let Us Look to Lettuce"
  • "Popeye's Carnival"
  • "Wimpy's Walking Handbags"
  • (WEE vs. I.O.U.)

In November 1954, Ralph Stein took over the writing duties on the strip while Bela Zaboly remained as the artist. In December of the same year, Stein had Popeye meet explorer Sir Pomeroy and, for the rest of the Stein/Zaboly run, the sailor would travel with the Englishman, having adventures around the world and in outer space. Most stories from this era did not have individual titles.

  • "Olive Oyl's Dilemma"
  • "Private Life of a Privateer!"

Bud Sagendorf took over as writer and artist in 1959. He started with shorter continuities and standalone strips, then later wrote longer adventures.


Bobby London took over as creator of the daily strip in February, 1986. He initially wrote standalone strips and strips with related gags that lasted up to a few weeks. London started creating longer stories in mid-1987.

  • "Sea Hag City"
  • "Relish of the Gods"
  • "Popeye's Main Event"
  • "The Days and Nights of Olive Oyl"
  • "The Smog"
  • "Heavy Metal Toar"
  • "Mad Avenue"
  • "Popeye's Apocalypse"
  • "The Return of Bluto"
  • "Stupid Little Hat!"
  • "Witch Hunt"
Due to the controversial nature of this story, Bobby London was fired from Popeye in July, 1992, and King Features Syndicate recalled several weeks of strips from syndication. London, however, did complete the story, which eventually saw publication in the book "Popeye: The Classic Newspaper Comics by Bobby London, Volume Two" in 2014.

After Bobby London was fired, King Features ran reprints of earlier London strips for a short time. Rather than seeking an artist to replace London, King Features then ran reprints of the Bud Sagendorf era of the strip, a practice which continues to this day.

Sunday strips

Sundays serialized their own stories in parallel to the daily strip, and also alternated these storylines with a series of short gags.


Segar's Sunday pages began as a series of unrelated multi-panel gag strips. While he eventually drew stories or related gags spanning several weeks, the longer adventures did not start until 1928.

  • "The Great American Desert Saga"
    Castor Oyl and Ham Gravy travel to the American West to seek their fortune. This story lasts from March 1928 to March 1930. Popeye would not debut until January 1929, and he does not appear in this story.
  • (Popeye, prize-fighter)
  • (Popeye, boxing instructor)
  • (Popeye, prize-fighter again)
  • "Popeye, the S'Prise Fighter"
  • (Popeye fights against Tinearo)
  • (Popeye fights against a gorilla)
Popeye is chosen to resolve the matter of who would win in a fight, a gorilla or the strongest man.
  • "The Johnny Brawn Fight"
  • (Popeye fights against a robot)
  • "Orphan Mary Ann"
Popeye and Wimpy take care of a young orphan girl, Mary Ann.
  • "Wimpy's Mother"
  • "Popeye Fights Bullo Oxheart"
  • "Popeye at the World's Fair"
Extra storyline in which Popeye and Wimpy attempt to go to the World's Fair without taking Olive, but she follows them.
Popeye meets the Sea Hag's minion, Alice the Goon.
  • "Goldrush to Slither Creek"
  • (Wimpy's restaurant)
  • "Swee'Pea and Alice"
Alice helps Swee'Pea and Popeye.
  • "The Duel"
Wimpy challenges George W. Geezil to a duel.
  • "Popeye Fights Kid Mustard"
  • "Swee'Pea and the Jar of Jam"
  • "Poopdeck and the Civilized Society"
  • "Popeye's Underwear - Putter - Oner"
  • "Wimpy's Sweetheart, Waneeta"
  • "Swee'Pea's Mother: Taking the Baby Home"
  • "Lumberjack Love"
  • "Popeye and the Man from Mars"
Popeye must fight the Martians' champion.
  • "Popeye Alias Poopdeck"
Poopdeck Pappy passes himself as Popeye in order to trick Olive.

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