Today’s Google Holiday: What would have been the 115th birthday of E.C. Segar, the creator of Popeye. Anyone ever been to Chester, Illinois? That’s where E.C. — or lil Elzie, as I’d prefer to call him — was born and raised. Chester residents love them some Popeye, and to prove it, statues of various characters from the cartoon are taking over:
In 1977, Segar’s hometown of Chester, Illinois honored its native son with a park named in his honor. The park is home to a six-foot-tall bronze statue of Popeye, and since 1980 has been the site of the annual Popeye Picnic, a weekend-long event that celebrates the character with a parade, film festival and other activities. In 2006, Chester launched the ambitious “Popeye & Friends Character Trail,” which links a series of statues of Segar’s characters located throughout town. Each stands on a base inscribed with the names of donors who contributed to its cost, and is unveiled and dedicated during the Popeye Picnic. The 2006 debut sculpture of hamburger-loving Wimpy stands in Gazebo Park. A statue of Olive Oyl, Swee’Pea and the Jeep, located downtown near the Randolph County Courthouse, followed in 2007. In 2008, a Bluto statue was dedicated at the corner of Swanwick and W. Holmes Streets, in front of Buena Vista Bank. The 2009 statue of Castor Oyl and Bernice the Whiffle Hen stands in front of Chester Memorial Hospital. An additional 11 statues will be unveiled at the rate of one per year until 2019, when a bust of Segar at his birthplace will mark the cartoonist’s 125th birthday. To keep the slate on schedule, one year will feature two dedications, with the Sea Hag as the “wild card.”
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Now go eat some spinach and raise a glass to lil Elzie.
[Posted by Mallory]