An even better question might be...how did this old Popeye comic strip have anything to do with the famous Jeep vehicles past and present?
A little Jeep history indicates that around 1936 (about 4 years prior to the first ever Jeep prototype) a comic strip by Elzie Segar, which featured the Thimble Theater characters Popeye and Olive Oyl, also added a new unique character to the comic series.
This new character had only one line in the series which was the word "jeep". The funny looking cross between a dog and a large rodent had mystical powers and could vanish into another dimension at will.
Eugene became well known in the United States prior to World War II. In 1940 when the U.S. military finally settled on the Bantam, and then the Willys-Overland/Ford light 1/4 ton multipurpose vehicle, the name "jeep" gradually became synonymous with these nimble vehicles.
One theory is that because the little Popeye cartoon character could easily go wherever he wanted...and seemingly so could the Military's new creation...GI's began to refer to the quarter-ton wonder as the now famous "Jeep".
Several other theories circulate regarding the origin of the "Jeep" name, however there seems to be no firm agreement on which of these, if any, is the true source. Possibly the name is merely a combination of these original source theories.
Regardless of the actual genesis of the Jeep name when you think of famous macho logos like the Ford Mustang, Mercury Cougar or Dodge Viper...you might just associate an odd little cartoon character with your jacked up, stump pullin'...Jeep.
And why haven't any of the Jeep makers over time come out with a Eugene the Jeep model anyway...for posterity sake at least? A retro MA or MB Flattie would be nice!
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