A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 16, 2009
“(I will gladly pay you Tuesday for) A hamburger today”

"I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today” was spoken by the comic character J. Wellington Wimpy in E. C. Segar’s 1930s comic strip “Thimble Theatre,” featuring Popeye. Wimpy was a hamburger moocher who had no intentions of ever paying anyone back—he just wanted to eat hamburgers. The exact line (several variations were spoken by Wimpy) was used in the comic striip published on March 20, 1932.

The hamburger weblog “A Hamburger Today” was named from this famous line.


Wikipedia: E. C. Segar
Elzie Crisler Segar (December 8, 1894 – October 13, 1938) was an American cartoonist, best known as the creator of Popeye, a character who first appeared in his newspaper comic strip Thimble Theater, in 1929.

Wikipedia: J. Wellington Wimpy
J. Wellington Wimpy, or just Wimpy, is one of the characters in the long-running comic strip Thimble Theater, and in the Popeye cartoons based upon the strip.

Wimpy was created by newspaper cartoonist Elzie Crisler Segar. He became one of the dominant characters in the newspaper strips. When “Popeye” was adapted as an animated cartoon series by Fleischer Studios, Wimpy was made a more minor character; Dave Fleischer said that the character in the Segar comic strips was “too intellectual” to be used in film cartoons. The character was soft-spoken and generally cowardly, or a “wimp”, hence his name. According to fellow cartoonist, Bill Mauldin, Wimpy took his name from one of Segar’s instructors at the Chicago Art Institute (Wellington J. Reynolds).

History
Wimpy is Popeye’s friend. In the cartoons he mainly plays the role of the “straight man” to Popeye’s outbursts and wild antics. Wimpy is very intelligent, and well educated, but very lazy and gluttonous. Wimpy is also something of a scam artist and (especially in the newspaper cartoons) can be shockingly underhanded at times.

Wimpy loves to eat hamburgers, and is usually seen with one (e.g. in “Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor,” where he eats burgers almost the entire time) but is usually too cheap to pay for them. A recurring joke is Wimpy’s attempts to con other patrons of the diner into buying him his lunch. Wimpy often tries to outwit fellow patrons with his convoluted logic. His famous line, which was first introduced to the cartoons in the 1934 cartoon We Aim to Please, is “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today”.

A Hamburger Today
About
A Hamburger Today is a weblog about America’s national dish—the hamburger! We offer a delicious mix of news digests, reviews, videos, and musings on all things burger-related.

The Yale Book of Quotations
Edited by Fred R. Shapiro
New Haven, CT: Yale University Press
Pg. 677:
E. C. Segar
U.S. cartoonist, 1894-1938
[Wimpy speaking:] “I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger to-day.”
Thimble Theatre (comic strip) 20 Mar. 1932. An earlier version ("Cook me up a hamburger. I’ll pay you Thursday.") appeared in the strip on 21 June 1931.

20 March 1932, Albuquerque (NM) Journal, “Thimble Theatre” comic, pg. 9:
I WOULD GLADLY PAY YOU TUESDAY FOR A HAMBURGER TO-DAY.
(Spoken by Wimpy—ed.)

26 June 1932, Charleston (WV) Daily Mail, “Thimble Theatre” comic, pg. 40:
I WOULD GLADLY PAY YOU TUESDAY FOR A HAMBURGER TO-DAY.
(Spoken by Wimpy—ed.)

6 November 1932, Port Arthur (TX) News, “Thimble Theatre” comic, pg. 19:
I WOULD GLADLY PAY YOU TUESDAY FOR A HAMBURGER TO-DAY.
(Spoken by Wimpy—ed.)

3 March 1933, Big Spring (TX) Herald, “Opera in the Raw,” pg. 1, col. 2:
Der Alt Maestro, by cribbing a bit here and there, has composed a classic built around the strange adventures of Popeye, made famous by the cartoonist, Segar.

Music scholars may recognize straings from their favorite operas tonight, but it is a safe bet they will faint at the antic displayed.

Wimpy J. Wellington, to be exact, cocks back his unkempt head and warbles to Roughouse Reilly:

“If you could a hamburger construct
That would my hunger stay.
I’d gladly pay you Tuesday
For that hamburger today.”

Internet Movie Database
Plot summary for
We Aim to Please (1934)

Popeye and Olive open a diner, singing the title song. Alas, their first two characters are Wimpy (who actually gets them to fall for the “gladly pay you Tuesday” schtick) and Bluto, who orders 6 sandwiches and refuses to pay for them. This leads, of course, to a fight, which Popeye needs his spinach to win. Written by Jon Reeves

Internet Movie Database
Memorable quotes for
We Aim to Please (1934)

Wimpy: I’d gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Monday, March 16, 2009 • Permalink


When the Herald folded, Segar quickly found work at Hearst’s Chicago Evening American and began a daily cartoon that ran on the entertainment pages with movie and theatre ads. “Looping the Loop” featured humorous synopsis of current films, vignettes of dining out at Chicago restaurants, occasion jabs at dating or married life, and publicity for events being held in the city.

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