<<Eugene the Jeep is a character in the Popeye comic strip. A mysterious animal with magical abilities, the Jeep first appeared in the March 16, 1936, appearance of Thimble Theatre strip. He was also present in animated versions of Popeye's adventures, including three appearances in the Fleischer Studios shorts of the late 1930s/early 1940s, with more extensive appearances in later Popeye cartoons produced for TV.
In the August 9, 1936, strip, headlined "Wha's a Jeep?" [sic] Popeye asks Professor Brainstine what exactly a Jeep is. He gets the following response: “A Jeep is an animal living in a three dimensional world—in this case our world—but really belonging to a fourth dimensional world. Here's what happened. A number of Jeep life cells were somehow forced through the dimensional barrier into our world. They combined at a favorable time with free life cells of the African Hooey Hound. The electrical vibrations of the Hooey Hound cell and the foreign cell were the same. They were kindred cells. In fact, all things are, to some extent, relative, whether they be of this or some other world, now you see. The extremely favorable conditions of germination in Africa caused a fusion of these life cells. So the uniting of kindred cells caused a transmutation. The result, a mysterious strange animal.
When asked if he had any further questions, Popeye, totally unenlightened by this explanation, repeated, "Wha's a Jeep?"
Many, including R. Lee Ermey
, suggest that soldiers of World War II were so impressed with the then-new Willys MB that they informally named it after Eugene the Jeep as it was "small, able to move between dimensions and could solve seemingly impossible problems."
In Popeye Presents Eugene the Jeep (1940), Eugene was a gift to Popeye's girlfriend Olive Oyl from her Uncle Ben who found the Jeep in Africa. Eugene is a yellow creature about the size of a dog who walks on his hind legs. He has a bear-like head and ears but a large nose, long tail, and protruding belly. The Jeep's diet consists only of orchids. As his language is limited to the word "jeep," Eugene primarily communicates through body language. Eugene always tells the truth, even to crooks. He possesses high intelligence, so is able to help humans such as Popeye and Olive Oyl solve complex problems. He makes use of a limited form of teleportation: he can disappear from one place and reappear in another, and can walk through and on walls and ceilings. These teleportation powers are said to stem from the Jeep's ability to cross into the fourth dimension.>>