Elzie Crisler Segar, a syndicated cartoonist for the King Features, created the Popeye the Sailor Man comics in 1929. In 1931, Segar introduced J. Wellington Wimpy, a fat cartoon character who loved to eat hamburgers. Wimpy was either too cheap or too poor to pay for them, and so he tried to con others into buying them for him. His immortal phrase was “I’d gladly pay you tomorrow for a hamburger today.” The term Wimpy became synonymous with hamburger in the United States and later in the United Kingdom. This association was so close that it spawned Wimpy’s Grills, a hamburger chain that was launched in 1934 by Edward Vale Gold of Chicago. The chain thrived in the United States for a decade and at its height had about 1,500 outlets. It featured a 10-cent hamburger, which was expensive for the time, as well as sandwiches made with roasted and toasted meats. The chain also franchised in the
United Kingdom, making it the first American fast food chain to operate outside the United States. The chain survived until 1978, when Gold died. In his will he stipulated that all Wimpy outlets be closed.

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