'EUGENE THE JEEP'
With the Jeep, Segar took the opposite direction. He wanted, and created, an animal that was charming in looks and pleasant in personality. Only villains have anything to fear from Eugene. The creation of this appealing animal was the most exciting and pleasing experience of my years with Segar. The Jeep was magic. From the first rough sketches through to the naming, the small creature insisted on being born.
After settling on the physical design of the new character, he had to decide what to call him. At breakfast one morning, as he were mulling over possible names, one entry on Segar's list stood out like a neon sign: "Jeep." There was no doubt; that was it, instantly as natural as calling a dog a dog. He checked English and foreign dictionaries to be sure it wasn't in use, then chose the name once and for all, and added a new word to the language. Later, when asked about a first name, he suggested Eugene.
Professor Brainstine, in Eugene's first appearance in the Sunday comics on August 9, 1936, gives a full and comprehensive answer to these questions. Eugene the Jeep doesn't live with Popeye; he's usually busy ruling Jeep Island. But because of his ability to foretell the future, the little animal always appears when Popeye or Swee'pea needs his special talents.
For some of you too young to remember, Eugene is about the size of a dog, he walks on his hind legs, subsides strictly on orchids, and is a native of Africa. Eugene represents the origins of the word Jeep, and is a favorite character in many old Popeye cartoons.
Eugene can only say the word "Jeep", and has the power to disappear and reappear in a different location. He is even a mascot to
Dubois High School as the "Fighting Jeeps", and the Home of the Jeeps: Bloom-Vernon
Here are some cartoon clips from the Popeye cartoons with Eugene the Jeep: