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Popeye: 75 And Still Buff

Oh, Popeye! The sailor man is looking buff for a guy of 75.

Fans of the spinach-eating comic hero will celebrate his 75th birthday with a picnic this weekend in the Mississippi River hometown of his creator.

It's the 25th year of the picnic and organizers have said as many as 30,000 people once attended the event in Elzie Segar's hometown. But those numbers have dwindled to just a few thousand in recent years.

Picnic organizers say they hope those numbers will rebound this year.

"If anybody's come before, they need to come back because it's really going to be great," picnic chairman Mike McClure said. "It's a big family fair this year. ... We have so much going on."

The picnic will be held Friday through Sunday in locations throughout Chester, which is 60 miles southeast of St. Louis.

Popeye cartoonists Hy Eisman and George Wildman are expected to attend this year and greet fans, event organizers said.

Segar was born in Chester in 1894, and Popeye made his debut in a cartoon in 1929. Many residents believe he based Popeye, Olive Oyl and Wimpy on people he met in his hometown.

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