It didn’t take long for Popeye and Olive to hook up after the pugnacious sailor joined the Thimble Theatre in 1929. Popeye because part of the Sunday Theatre in 1930, which is now being reprinted by Fantagraphics. E.C. Segar’s characters had a special kind of grittiness and irascible repartee. And here we see how Thimble Theatre could get remarkably raw. Popeye and Olive’s noisy smooching gets under Mr. Oyl’s skin. The sexuality of the younger generation in 1920s America had been an important topic of discussion across media. WWI had exposed an entire generation to less inhibited European attitudes towards sexuality. The arrival of the automobile especially created a way for boys and girls to escape the scrutiny of their parents. Moral arbiters worried publicly about this new wave of “petting parties” where youth explored their bodies in troubling ways. Apparently, Olive Oyl and Popeye used the Oyl living room for their own personal petting party.
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