If you are a comic buff, you couldn’t have missed Popeye, the famous spinach-eating sailor with muscles in his forearms! And if you were of movie-going age in 1980s, you’d remember a musical film called ‘Popeye’ produced by Paramount Pictures and Walt Disney Productions. Robin Williams debuted in the title role in this film.
This film was shot in a specially created village, named Popeye Village, also known as Sweethaven Village. Located at Anchor Bay, two miles from Mellieħa Village in Malta, this film set consisted of a collection of fairytale-like wooden buildings.
Created by erecting 20 wooden structures built with tree trunk logs and wooden shingles, imported from Holland and Canada, respectively, it required eight tons of nails and 250 gallons of paint to give it the required look. Since, it faced the sea, a 250-food breakwater was also built to protect the area from high seas.
Despite such extensive preparations, the film bombed at the box office and the village lay abandoned with its rustic and ramshackle huts. In natural course of events, it would have been torn down. However, some enterprising locals saw a great potential in this already built-up area – a pre-built theme park!
The locals opened it up for public as an open-air museum and a family entertainment complex. To add to the fun element, they even hired actors to give a realistic feel to this village.
If this description and the pics are motivating you to visit this village, be warned that some parts of the village are not open during off seasons and boats do not ply in bad weather to reach the village.
The Popeye theme park also has an entrance fee of €10.50, a small price to pay for visiting a piece of history!