Rough House is a Thimble Theatre character created by E. C. Segar. A hard-working chef, he owns and operates the Rough House Cafe, a diner that chiefly serves hamburgers and where citizens such as Popeye go to socialize. J. Wellington Wimpy also frequents Rough House's place in his constant search for a free meal. Nevertheless, Rough House has grown mostly immune to Wimpy's tricks and keeps him at bay, yet tolerates him as long as he would only direct his cons to other patrons.
Creation and development in Thimble Theatre
Rough House was created by E. C. Segar for Thimble Theatre, making his debut in 1932. After his first appearance, Rough House would remain as a recurring character and a trusted friend and ally to Popeye, often serving meals to Popeye and his friends, joining them on adventures or simply trying to avoid the mooching ways of Wimpy.
Rough House would return as a recurring character in the 1948 comic book series by E. C. Segar's former assistant Bud Sagendorf, where he continued to run his restaurant. His comic book appearances would continue for decades until the title's end in 1984.
While having been a prominent character in the comics, Rough House never got to appear in theatrical Popeye cartoons.
Popeye's first TV series
Rough House made his screen debut in animation in the 1960s Popeye television series, where he was once again the owner of the Rough House Cafe and would often have to find ways to avoid being tricked by Wimpy.
Popeye's first movie
In 1980, a theatrical movie called Popeye was released, featuring an original story and serving as a more faithful adaptation to Segar's Thimble Theatre. In the film, Rough House appears as a minor supporting character who serves as the owner of the cafe in Sweethaven and often has to deal with Wimpy's mooching shenanigans. He was played by Allan F. Nichols.
Rough House would re-appear in IDW Publishing's revival of the Popeye comics in 2012 as a recurring character, often serving the rest of the cast meals or offering advice while occasionally joining Popeye and the rest on adventures.