Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ten Things you didn’t Know About the Smiley Face


     1. Smiley was created in Dec. 1963, in Worcester, MA by Harvey Ball, a commercial artist and decorated WWII veteran for an insurance company that wanted a button to improve company morale and customer service.

2. Harvey never made more than the $45 he was paid for the original design.  Others made millions selling Smiley merchandise, but U.S. courts have repeatedly ruled that  Smiley could not be copyrighted—he was in the public domain.
3. By the late 1970’s (and again in the U.K. in 1988) Smiley became the symbol of the drug culture, especially LSD and (later) ecstasy.
4. A blood-stained Smiley became the symbol (and cover image) of “Watchmen” which was first  a landmark comic book series, then the first graphic novel, and in March 2009, a blockbuster film
5.  Smiley became a movie star (or important symbol) not just in “Watchmen” but also in “Forrest Gump”, “My Own Private Idaho”, and a film called  “Smiley Face” (2007)  about a woman who accidently eats cupcakes laced with cannabis.
6  In “Watchmen” some characters  fly to Mars, landing in a crater that looks like a Smiley Face.  There really is such a crater on Mars. It’s called the  Galle crater. 
7.  John Bon Jovi, in 2005, released a very successful album called “Have a Nice Day.”  In the video to the title song, is Bon Jovi’s  version of Smiley which is red, square and has threatening eyebrows and is taking over the world.
 8. The Smiley Face Murder Theory is a theory advanced by two New York detectives. They think that  a large number of young men found dead in bodies of water from the 1990’s to 2008 were victims of a serial killer or killers.  They think this because the detectives discovered Smiley Face graffiti on walls near locations where they think the killer dumped the bodies.

9.  Last Sunday an article in the New York Times Styles section said that the Smiley Face emoticon in e-mail  is becoming universal, spreading from teenagers and their texts to  serious business correspondence..

10. In December of 2013 the Worcester Historical Museum will celebrate Smiley’s 50th birthday with lots of festivities.  They also  hope to publish a book on the history of Smiley.  Maybe written by me.

1 comment:

Andy Fish said...

Great post, but Watchman is far from the first graphic novel-- that credit could go to Lynd Ward in the 1930s or Gil Kane in the early 70s.