Cartoonist of “Popeye the Sailor Man” Weighs in on the Fight for Student Reform

Cartoonist Elzie Segar, whose pen name was E.C. Segar, visited the School of Journalism at the university in April of 1936 at the height of the debates about student reform. Segar drew one of the nation’s most popular cartoons, “Popeye the Sailor” from 1929 until his death in 1938. In 1933, Popeye was made into an animated cartoon. Popeye and other characters were part of what Segar called Thimble Theater.

During a question-and-answer session with journalism students in Pillsbury Hall, Segar replied to a question from a Daily journalist about his thoughts on student reform. Mr. Segar startled his audience by rapidly drawing a cartoon on the chalk board of his Thimble Theater characters and assigning them names of students and the dean. He portrayed Dean Nicholson as Popeye taking on student reformers Ted Christianson as Wimpey, Richard Scammon as, Alice the Goon and Lee Loevinger as Geezil. The latter two activists were in conflict with Nicholson beginning in 1934 over student rights and their opposition to ROTC. Christianson was president of the All-University Council. The cartoon appears on the same page as Dean Nicholson’s rebuff of any effort to allow student body president Christianson appoint student representatives to the senate committee that the dean used effectively to control student life.

CreatorMinnesota DailySourceMinnesota DailyDate15/04/1936RightsImage is available courtesy the University of Minnesota Archives. For additional information about the use or re-use of this image please contact the University of Minnesota ArchivesTime Period1930s