Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Remembering 'Popeye'

'Popeye Village' in Malta
The tragic death of Robin Williams stunned the entertainment world. Yet this comic genius has left quite a repertoire of movies, voices on cartoon characters and stand-up comedy, not all of it clean and acceptable for all audiences. Many people do not know that his first movie was filmed in Malta. After his TV series "Mork and Mindy", Williams was cast as Popeye in a movie with Shelley Duvall, directed by Robert Altman. It cost $20 million to produce and grossed $50 million at the box-office and $25 million in rentals. 
A skinnier me visiting Popeye Village in 1983
An elaborate set was built on a rocky coast in Malta, and the entire Sweethaven village was created for the filming, which was done between 1978 and 1979. These photos I took back in 1983 show some of the quaint houses, still in place, mainly because the Malta Government turned the set into a tourist attraction, with thousands of visitors touring the complex, bringing in more money than the movie itself made 35 years ago. The houses included a few bars, the Fire Department, a school, Post Office, a church, bridges and houses and sea docks. So this is an opportunity to visit again 'Popeye Village' and give tribute to a great comic actor who sadly left us on August 11th, 2014.

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