Monday, December 2, 2013

Monthly Muse: Olive Oyl

I have decided to revive the 'Monthly Muse' section of the blog that I used to write in view of the fact that they were some of the most read articles on the blog. This month's muse is a little bit different as I was inspired by my Halloween party outfit and decided to find out a little more about Olive Oyl.

Olive Oyl is a cartoon character created by Elzie Crisler Segar in 1919 for his comic strip Thimble Theatre. The comic was later renamed Popeye after he the most popular member of the cast; however Olive Oyl (along with the whole Oyl family) was a main character for 10 years before Popeye's 1929 appearance.
In  Segar's strip Olive is a coy flapper who is fiancee of Harold Hamgravy, a lounge lizard slacker who is always borrowing money and never seems to work. Harold's attraction to other women (particularly rich women) incensed Olive but she stuck with him until Popeye arrived on the scene in 1929. Olive and Popeye actually hated each other when they first met (her first words to him were "Take your hooks offa me or I'll lay ya in a scupper"), but instead fought bitterly---and hilariously---for weeks until finally realizing that they had feelings for each other.

In her early days Olive Oyl appears with an extremely thin frame that would have lent itself to the fashions of the time. Popeye describes her as a perfect 57... 19-19-19.

Olive Oyl first appeared on our screens in 1933 in Betty Boop #18 Popeye the Sailor Man as a feisty fighting broad however she still has to be rescued by Popeye at the end of the cartoon. However the cartoon turned out to be a huge hit and was followed by a succession of Popeye cartoons. 
In 1942 Paramount Pictures took ownership of Fleischer Studios and started making Popeye cartoons under their Famous Studios The creators of Famous studio gave Olive Oyl a makeover to make it more believable that Popeye and Bluto would fight over her. They also made her personality more subdued and lady like with an upbeat and optimistic twist. At the same time, she would demonstrate more empowerment, as she would often put up more of a fight towards her abductor(s) or other female characters trying to woo Popeye. This incarnation, however, is found by some to have even more of an unlikeable personality.
In the films and later television cartoons, Olive Oyl is Popeye's girlfriend, although she could be extremely fickle, depending on who could woo her the best or had the flashier possessions, and was prone to get angry over the tiniest things. She constantly gets kidnapped by Bluto (aka Brutus), who is Popeye's archrival for her affections, and when she gets angry with Popeye for whatever goes wrong, it's usually Bluto's doing. But Popeye always rescues her, winning her affection in the end.

In the cartoons, she helps take care of a baby named Swee'Pea or she usually asks Popeye to take care of him if she's too busy; it's unknown if Swee'Pea is Olive Oyl's biological or adopted son. In the comics, Swee'Pea is a foundling under Popeye's care. Later sources (mostly in the cartoon series) say that Swee'Pea is Olive Oyl's cousin or nephew that she has to take care of from time to time.
In recent years Olive Oyl has appeared in Robot Chicken and this ad for Pregos sauce. She influenced Moschino's cheap and chic scent collection and they also released a line of Olive Oyl accessories.
Kobi Levi released an Olive Oyl style heel and she is even mentioned in Lil' Wayne's song "I'm On One. It is also rumoured that Sony are producing a new 3D Popeye movie so I'm sure we'll be seeing more of Olive Oyl in the future. You can find more about Olive on her website here.

No comments:

Post a Comment