spinach (Re: posting to TAXACOM)

Doug Yanega dyanega at MONO.ICB.UFMG.BR
Fri May 22 17:58:59 CDT 1998

Luis Diego Gomez wrote:

>>>Popeye was designed for reasons of economy during World War II. Spinach is
>>>to grow, it grows fast, its nutritive and takes a lot of boiling, mashing
>>>and canning. In times of scarcity, it helps one to feel like "something in
>>>actually hanging to your ribs". For its nutritional value, easy preparation,
>>>etc. it was deemed worthy of a campaign to promote its consumption. For the
>>>benefit of children, the strong and funny Popeye and peripheral personae
>>>like Olive, and the baby of unknown parentage, came into existence.
>>>Take it from an avid spinach eater.

The existence of Popeye cartoons from the 1930's with these peripheral
characters included, however, places this into the same "supposition"
category as my hypothesis that it was because sailors were known to be
forced to eat spinach. The other responses have been interesting, although
there still seems to be no definitive reason why the spinach-transformation
trick was invented; given that the early Popeyes were produced for theaters
and mostly adult audiences (likewise Betty Boop, Inki, Bugs Bunny, and the
like) it's not necessarily true that this was anything "aimed" at teaching
children lessons, like it would be these days where *everything* is
overanalyzed, overtested, overmarketed, and hyper-targeted. And I doubt
Segar had the Spinach Grower's League handing him payola for his efforts,
any more than Warner Bros. made money promoting carrot consumption.
Evidently, it might not be possible to resolve without some quote from
Segar himself explaining it. If I want to pursue it, there are other places
I can look than here, so thanks for all who responded.


Doug Yanega    Depto. de Biologia Geral, Instituto de Ciencias Biologicas,
Univ. Fed. de Minas Gerais, Cx.P. 486, 30.161-970 Belo Horizonte, MG   BRAZIL
phone: 031-449-2579, fax: 031-441-5481  (from U.S., prefix 011-55)
  "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
        is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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