Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Today marks the 115th anniversary of Popeye creator E.C Segar's birthday. Did you have a can of spinach to celebrate? Neither did I. Oddly, enough I tend not to think of spinach when I think of Popeye and I tend not to think of Popeye either, but rather Robin Williams.
I remember going to the movies with not one, but two Daniellas. The date, if you could call it that was chaperoned. Okay, it really wasn't a date. I was six and a little too old for kindergarten. Daniella One's mom packed lunch and snacks for us: baloney sandwiches with Mayo, which I proceeded to rub off into the tinfoil. I had button candy for the first time. I had a bit of trouble grafting it from the paper. So my first impression of it was that it tasted a bit like a sugary spitball.
I was thrilled to sit the the back row with two girls and a chatty mom. We clapped after each of the trailers. We the opening credits to "Popeye" came on we shushed each other, but then as the movie started we made wisecracks when the opportunity arose. I'd never seen Robin Williams before. That was quite a treat. I thought he looked very Popeyeish. I also marveled at how bulky his forearms were, better-proportioned, so I thought, than the comic-strip sailor. I took careful notice of Shelley Duvall too because she was so goofy. A few years later, when I was able to sneak in "The Shining" on HBO I had trouble dissociating the Olive Oil impression I had of her.
I had been primed on live musicals. I already had "Annie" and "Peter Pan" under my belt and I'd seen "Meet Me in St. Louis" with my folks so I was familiar with the genre. I did feel strongly though that it was a bit ridiculous that "Popeye" was a musical too. That was what most of my wisecracking was about. Still, I did watch the whole film through-- not one nap.
By the end of the film, I had finally mastered the art of peeling the candy buttons off their strip. I noticed that Daniella One didn't seem so fond of them either.
"Why did your mom give us these?" I asked her.
"Because she had them when she was a kid," Daniella said.
"And she didn't finish them," I said.
"And she wants us to have them too."
Daniella One stuffed her candy buttons into the brown paper bag she saved. I stuffed whatever I had left over into the bag too. We handed it over to Daniella Two who was only too happy to get the leftovers.
On the way out of the theater Daniella One and I pressed our noses up to the glass candy case. There were Sugar Daddies, Raisinettes, Milk Duds, Chuckles, and Goobers. Daniella One and I looked over at each other. I'm sure sure we were thinking the same thing. It was a long way off till Halloween, but as I left the theater I promised myself not to get shortchanged on my sugar rush the next time.