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The 20,000-year-old man: 'Toar' is coming to the Popeye Character Trail

  • In this 1930s Elzie Segar comic, Toar is a man of big appetite.

    In this 1930s Elzie Segar comic, Toar is a man of big appetite.
    Courtesy of the Popeye Character Trail

  • This is the likeness of Toar that will appear on the commemorative coins.

    This is the likeness of Toar that will appear on the commemorative coins.
    Courtesy of the Popeye Character Trail

 
By Don Berry
Contributing writer
updated: 9/4/2020 11:24 AM

Elzie Segar was truly a man with an amazing imagination. We know that many of his characters were inspired by people in his hometown of Chester. He also was fascinated with science fiction and created characters reflecting this fascination.

In 1935, Segar explored the idea of the Fountain of Youth, by introducing a 20,000-year-old caveman named Toar. Toar had survived as long as he had by drinking from "The Pool of Youth," and in his first appearance, he and Popeye were enemies and fought each other. But later, in "The Pool of Never Die," he and Popeye became trusted friends and Toar even babysit for Swee'Pea.

After Segar's death in 1938, Toar didn't make another appearance until the 1960s when he was cast as a minion for the Sea Hag on the television cartoons. He and Popeye fought again and eventually he left Sea Hag behind and became friends with Popeye.

Toar is not as famous as other characters in Segar's comic world but he was a great reflection of the artist's fantastic imagination.

And even though so many events have been canceled in Chester during the COVID-19 pandemic, the introduction of Toar as the latest Popeye Character trail statue will occur in late October or early November, according to Trail Coordinator Mike McClure.

Toar will be located near the bottom of the City Steps, close to where Segar grew up, when the Chester riverfront was a hub of activity. Toar will be depicted bending over, chiseling a message in stone.

McClure reports that the likeness is nearly ready to be shipped to Chester and there is still time for sponsors to come on board and have their names or other messages inscribed on Toar's platform. A 4x12-inch spot costs $150 and a square foot is priced at $500.

All the statues on the Character Trail are made possible by private donations from individuals and groups. Many people have the misconception that the City of Chester pays for all of them. While the city does buy a space, the rest is paid for by the donations of others.

McClure invites anyone who is interested in being included this year to call him at (618) 826-5125 or email him at 7654321@gmail.com.

Meanwhile, plans are underway to give Toar a proper welcome and allow him to join Popeye and friends in a place of honor on the Character Trail.