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Popeye and Friends Character Trail announces next statue

updated: 5/1/2012 12:17 AM

The committee is pleased to announce that "Alice the Goon" and her child will be the next entries in the Popeye and Friends Character Trail.  The statue will be unveiled at the Chester Center on September 8, 2012 following the Popeye Picnic Parade.  

Alice made her first comic strip appearance with Popeye on December 10, 1933 as the beastly cohort of the evil Sea Hag.  Two weeks later she was called the "Goon" by a frightened Prof. Cringly, and a new word was added to the English language (Elzie C. Segar, Popeye's creator,  is credited with the invention of the words "goon" and "jeep").  Alice the Goon soon became friends with Popeye and later even became Swee' Pea's babysitter.  Her strange, oscilloscope language was only understood by Wimpy, a mystery never explained.  Elzie C. Segar was known to use real people that lived in his hometown of Chester in the early 1900's as his inspiration for many of the characters in the Popeye comic strips, but Alice has no clear connection to anyone in his past.

The "Popeye and Friends Character Trail" is a multi-year plan initiated to further the development of tourism in Chester, as well as celebrate the local cartoon-connection with Popeye the Sailorman.  This effort seeks to place larger-than-life granite statues representing characters, created by Elzie C. Segar, throughout the city.  The first granite statue, "Wimpy", was erected in 2006  in the Gazebo Park next to the old Opera House his real-life counterpart owned.  "Olive Oyl", "Swee' Pea" and the "Jeep" followed in 2007 and now are keeping watch over all who enter the Randolph County Court House.  Since 2008  "Bluto" has greeted everyone who passes the Buena Vista National Bank.  "Castor Oyl" and "Bernice the Whiffle Hen" took residence on the Memorial Hospital lawn in 2009.  The grassy flat between Walmart and McDonald's became the new home in 2010 for the evil "Sea Hag" and her pet vulture, "Bernard".  Last year Olive's father, "Cole Oyl", took his place in front of the Chester Public Library, the public building Cole's namesake built for the city just prior to his death.  All of these have been made possible by the donations of sponsors (starting at $150), and these generous donors' names are engraved on each statue's granite base in appreciation of their support.  

Anyone interested in helping with this project and having themselves (or their special someone) immortalized on the statue base should contact Michael W. McClure immediately, as donor spaces sell quickly.  He can be reached by phone at 618-826-5125  or by email at .