When most think of Popeye, the beloved cartoon character who is famous for eating spinach and developing quite large muscles as a result, a lot of things pop into mind. There’s Olive Oyl, his love interest. There’s J. Wellington Wimby and his endless appetite for hamburgers but seemingly never with the funds to pay for one, at least not until Tuesday. However, something that probably does not come to mind for most is Malta, a small island country situated just south of Sicily.
However, it should as that is where the film, “Popeye,” was shot, and that’s where Popeye Village is located and where Popeye lives. Well, it’s where people wearing Popeye and related character costumes meet and greet adoring fans.
In the 1980 movie, Popeye spends much of his time in the town of Sweethaven. This fictional community was constructed in the last half of 1979 in the northwest part of the island of Malta, the most populated of the country’s three islands. It’s open to the public who can walk through and greet the costumed characters. Opportunities to be filmed themselves are also available.
Some of the feature attractions here include Popeye’s Cabin, Main Square and the Bluto House. One of the highlighted performances that many enjoy is the reenactment of the wedding of Popeye and Olive Oyl.
The reason this site was chosen was due to the production designer, Wolf Kroeger, becoming especially enamored with it. When he first saw Anchor Bay, “he sat all day just staring down at the place.” After Robert Altman, the director, arrived to look at it, Kroeger told him that “Popeye” was going to be either filmed here or not at all.
It should be noted that Popeye Village is also known as Sweethaven Village.