On January 17th, 1929, Popeye made made his first appearance in the Thimble Theatre cartoon series, by Elzie Segar. So he's very shortly (as I type this) about to be eighty five years old.
Popeye wasn't always the lead character. At the start, he was just a supporting character, there to give some of the main characters a boat ride to Dice Island, but due to his popularity with readers he was quickly elevated to become a main, and then the main, character.
I remember Popeye fondly from my childhood - when I was a kid we had four TV channels, and about an hour to an hour and a half of kids shows on a day, to coincide with when children came home from school. This didn't mean a great deal to me as someone taught at home.
So I would scour the Radio Times for cartoons, and the ultimate - the absolute ultimate - you could hope for was a triple-bill, a whole 15 minutes, of cartoons, and I can only remember this happening once (although I'm sure it happened a lot more than only once). And it was Popeye cartoons that was shown.
Happy birthday Popeye! Ack ack ack ack ack!!