Olive Oyl

Real name

Olive Oyl

First appearance

Syndicated comic strip The Thimble Theater, 19 December 1919

Original publisher

King Features Syndicate

Created by

E. C. Segar


Olive Oyl is the girlfriend of Harold Hamgravy, the original protagonist of the Thimble Theater comic strip. She is also the sister of recurring character Castor Oyl. According to the Comics Kingdom author, “Their adventures usually concentrate on acquiring undeserved status or wealth, and often end in futile embarrassment and defeat.” Olive Oyl seems to have been presented as something of a homebody, although some strips portray her as a dancer, a cook and even a surgeon. She is sometimes also portrayed as a “damsel in distress” from antagonist Willie Wormwood.

Public domain comic appearances

  • Thimble Theater comic strip (1919–1922)


  • All Thimble Theater comic strips published from 1919 to 1922, and thus all characters introduced therein, are in the public domain in the United States and in countries that follow the rule of the shorter term. Olive Oyl, along with Harold Hamgravy, appears in the very first Thimble Theater strip of 19 December 1919. Many animated shorts featuring Olive Oyl have since fallen into the public domain as well. However, caution is advised with any elements associated with the Olive Oyl character that was not introduced in these or in other public domain works.
  • Although all pre‐1923 Thimble Theater strips are freely available, it is clear that Olive Oyl’s iconic outfit (lace collar, long black skirt with a horizontal stripe near the hem, and granny boots) was well established before 1923. The character’s more modern appearances in some animated shorts of the 1940s and 1950s (contemporary blouses, the glamorous stance with protruding hip, less dowdy hairdo, shorter rounder feet wearing high‐heeled shoes) were presumably introduced in works that are still under copyright, so their use is off limits without permission.
  • King Features Syndicate own the trademark for the name Olive Oyl, so her name can only appear in the interior of any story.

See also