J. Wellington Wimpy: War hero and hamburger ambassador
Stand and salute.
Wimpy is a pathetic man. He's a lazy, gluttonous, cowardly, self-centered con artist. He's the classic low-status character attempting to put on airs, donning an attitude of superiority to hide his destitution.
He's poorly dressed, frequently bereft of money and housing, and he fails over and over again to put his brain to good use. But, despite all this, Popeye calls him a friend.
"I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today". So rang out J. Wellington Wimpy's famous catchphrase, repeated shamelessly for time immemorial. Imagine being famous for guiltlessly mooching off of your own best pals.
But did you know Wimpy is also a bit of a war hero? Or, at least his name was, technically.
That's because, during World War II, Wimpy lent his name to a British twin-engined, long-range medium bomber. The Vickers Wellington, nicknamed "The Wimpy," was tremendously effective in raids on Cologne, Essen, and other German cities.
According to a 1942 article in the News and Record, "The Wellington bomber got its name from the comic strip character, who is well known to all English soldiers because the Popeye strip appears in the London Daily Mirror, one of the two most widely circulated of English papers among the military forces. Incidentally, J. Wellington Wimpy's consuming passion for hamburgers was responsible before the war for the introduction and popularization of this typically American 'amburger in England."
So, the next time you want to dismiss Wimpy for being a lousy mooch, just remember: J. Wellington Wimpy is a veteran of the Allied armed forces, and deserves to be venerated with the greatest of heroes.