There's a theory that Bluto and Brutus from Popeye are twins

Most fans think of them as the same character, but not everybody agrees. Whose side are you on?

In the Popeye comics and cartoons, Bluto is a big guy with a big chip on his shoulder, known by a lot of nicknames.

Through different cartoons, we occasionally heard Bluto referred to by vague references other than his name, like "Mean Man," "Sonny Boy," "A Big Brute," and even "The Big Guy That Hates Popeye." But for the most part, we knew him as Bluto, Popeye's biggest foe and his rival for the heart of Olive Oyl.

That's why in 1960, when Popeye suddenly had a new "Mean Man" to cope with named Brutus, some fans got confused.

Who was Brutus? And where did Bluto go?

It's a funny story that created a lot of unnecessary confusion.

The story goes that when the Popeye theatrical cartoon series ended and producers were preparing to kick off the Popeye TV show, they got paranoid that Paramount Pictures owned the rights to Bluto.

They were so convinced this was the truth that they changed Bluto's named to Brutus without even looking into it at all.

So in 1960, when the Popeye cartoon series debuted on TV, audiences met a new Popeye baddie, Brutus.

Stepping on eggshells around Paramount's copyright, the producers also directed some changes in the character's physical appearance, changing the muscular, bodybuilding sailor into a pudgy, scruffy bully whose shirt buttons nearly popped around his belly.

Well, it turned out that the character name and appearance changes were completely unnecessary. Paramount didn't own the rights to Bluto — the Popeye producers were free to use the original character with his original design.

That's why when Popeye returned in 1978 for The All-New Popeye Hour, Bluto was back in and Brutus was eliminated, leading many to see the characters as interchangeable.

But lacking an explanation for the two characters with different names and different appearances, some fans have decided that Bluto and Brutus, rather than iterations of the same character, are twin brothers in the Popeye universe.

This became further confused when, in 1987, a pair of special Popeye comic books featuring young Popeye was released that actually portrayed Bluto and Brutus as twin brothers.

The first, called Popeye Special #1: Borned to the Sea takes fans from Popeye's birth to the moment he meets Brutus and forms a fast rivalry in the Navy.

The second book, Popeye Special #2: Double Trouble Down Under, introduced the twin-brothers theory, showing Popeye and Brutus traveling to Australia, where they meet Bluto.

In case you were wondering, of the two twins, Bluto is definitely the meanest.

Checks out, right? He has been the one who's been taking spinach-fueled punches from Popeye the longest!

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BobbyBickert 11 months ago
The whole matter is confusing. When Bela Zaboly was drawing (but not writing) the Popeye comic strip in the 1950's, he was not only using the name Bluto, he also used the Famous Studios character design! (But in "civilian" clothes.) The Famous Studios character design of Bluto was also used in merchandise like coloring books and the first Popeye Colorforms set from 1957. (But Popeye's nephews were also used in coloring books, so maybe Paramount Cartoon Studios was more lenient about its creations being used in merchandise. At least one Popeye coloring book was drawn by animator Bill Pattengill.) But Bud Sagendorf, who wrote and drew the Popeye comic book from 1948 until 1967, the daily Popeye comic strip from 1958 until 1986, and the Sunday Popeye comic strip from 1958 until his death in 1994, said that he got complaints from Paramount Cartoon Studios about Bluto being their creation. So even though Sagendorf had been E. C. Segar's assistant when Bluto was created in 1932 (for the comic strip storyline "The Eighth Sea"), he didn't use the name Bluto. In a Dell Popeye comic book from the mid-1950's, the Sea Hag calls the bearded bully "that guy who hates Popeye". And a Sagendorf drawing of the Popeye cast (date unknown) labels the bearded bully "Mean Man". Sometime in the early 1960's Sagendorf started using the name Brutus. (But even after that happened, the 1969 Popeye Big Little Book "Danger Ahoy", which I assume was written and drawn by someone else, calls the bearded bully Larder. Sagendorf's successor Hy Eisman, who's been writing and drawing the Sunday Popeye comic strip since Sagendorf's death, also uses the name Brutus. I think the only time the name Bluto has been used in the Popeye comic strip and comic books since the late 1950's has been those two Popeye comic books published by Ocean Comics in 1987 and 1988, and when Bobby London was writing and drawing the Popeye daily comic strip from 1986 until 1992. London wrote a storyline called "The Return of Bluto". ("What kind of a name is Brutus anyway?")
Personally I go with the twin brothers idea dreamed up by writer Bill Pearson, the writer of those two Ocean Comics Popeye comic books, who also was one of the writers for the Popeye comic book from 1969 until Western Publishing quit publishing comic books in 1983. Usually Brutus is more pear-shaped than Bluto, in the Popeye comic strip and comic books as well as the made-for-TV Popeye cartoons from the early 1960's and the Saturday Superstar Movie "Popeye Meets The Man Who Hated Laughter" from the early 1970's. The exception is (not surprisingly) Hanna-Barbera's Popeye and Son, in which Bluto looks more like Bud Sagendorf's Brutus.

P.S. Whew1
PulsarStargrave 40 months ago
Since the 60s cartoon seemed to follow the newspaper strip more closely (with characters like The Sea Hag) and even had "King Features Syndicate" boldly in the credits, I assumed he was originally called Brutus in the strip and it was The Fleischers who called him Bluto because....for whatever reasons!

If Fantagraphics had published their Popeye reprint series in a more bookshelf friendly format, I might have bought a couple of volumes and seen for myself
If "Sonny Boy's" name was Brutus or Bluto!
cmurf1960 41 months ago
I'd heard the story about the copyright many times, but I'm confused. Why were the people making the TV show think they were allowed to use the characters of Popeye, Olive, etc., but not Bluto? I would think that by obtaining the rights to the Popeye franchise, the TV people had the rights to use ALL the characters in it. But then again, I'm no lawyer. However, the people making the TV show probably should have had better lawyers.
dave 41 months ago
It's funny. I always heard it was Disney that told the producers they needed to change Bluto's name. It was sounded like they would say Pluto. Mickey's dog, on the cartoon.
Joe1954 41 months ago
Speaking of the TV series, was it the same everywhere or did it differ with different viewing areas? There was a Detroit area station that had two actors hosting the show, one named Captain Jolly (I forget the other's name). The other actor, in my mind, had a strong resemblance to Leo Gorcy. Does anyone know who he is?
justjeff 42 months ago
Those kind of theories are as half-baked as when DC Comics tried to tie up all of the inconsistencies in the different decade costumed character story lines with Earth I and Earth II ie: Superman, Green Lantern, the Flash...etc.

For example... The Superman of 1938 worked for the Daily Star, Jay Garrick was the Flash and so on. (As some characters were revived after the Golden Age of Comics and given new identitlies, some story gaps existed.)
Ashley000076 justjeff 41 months ago
I know... it would have made more sense to just say his first name is Brutus and his last name is Bluto. Maybe toss in a J to break it up: Brutus J. Bluto.
ncadams27 42 months ago
I consider the 60s Popeyes cartoons in the same category as the Three Stooges with Shemp. When I was a kid watching these episodes on TV I wanted the Paramount Popeye and the Curly Three Stooges. The later versions of Popeye were like the Three Stooges with Joe Besser. Didn’t even bother to watch.
Mark091 ncadams27 41 months ago
I like Joe Besser Episodes of the
Three Stooges especially the
Excellent Short A Merry Mix Up
With Moe Howard Larry Fine and
Joe Besser as three sets of triplets I also like CURLY Howard
Mark091 Mark091 41 months ago
I also like CURLY and Shemp Episodes of the 3 Stooges
Joe1954 ncadams27 41 months ago
Guess it depends on which episodes you saw first. I think Shemp was a stooge before Curly, and then replaced Curly later, with Joe and Curly Joe replacing Shemp. I wouldn't go as far to say I won't watch Joe or Curly Joe, but they don't seem to really fit either. And are you aware that Moe, Shemp and Curly are brothers?
ncadams27 Joe1954 41 months ago
Yes - their last name is Horowitz.
Joe1954 ncadams27 40 months ago
ncadams27 Joe1954 40 months ago
Horwitz (I spelled it wrong in my first response) was their birth name. Howard was their stage name.
Pax ncadams27 25 months ago
Then why did you even bother to comment here?
Barry22 42 months ago
Those Popeye cartoons from the 60's were terrible.
Mark091 Barry22 41 months ago
I liked all the Popeye cartoons
Including the Popeye cartoons
From the 1960s
FREAKAZOID and The Tick cartoons make a COMEBACK
Also bring back EGGHEAD
Srewball Squirrel and Tennessee Tuxedo and KRAZY KAT
LittleMissNoName 42 months ago
Crazier theory, Popeye and Bluto are half-sibs. Reason why both are sailors and have the same taste in wemen. Poopdeck Pappy never revealed the truth to either brother.

I am aware that it is a legitimate nautical term, but still, I would not wish to be called Poopdeck.
Strider Moody 42 months ago
So, what you're saying is, Poopdeck Pappy was a dirty seadog? ☺
RedjacArbez harlow1313 42 months ago
Anything you say Poopy.
jh4306 42 months ago
well blow me down i didn't thinks that there was 2 of dam
harlow1313 42 months ago
All the fisticuffs were understandable. Ms. Olive Oyl is the animated gal with the mostest sex appeal! She is built like a brick string bean!
OldTVfanatic harlow1313 42 months ago
The biggest question we should all ask is why Olive even talks to Bluto/Brutus in the first place.
CANARYMETV666 42 months ago
I watched Popeye when there was no Brutus,just that mean old guy Bluto that wanted Olive Oil.
But Popeye ate his Spinach.
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