March 11, 2013
Douglas Adams' 61st Birthday
Douglas Adams – one of the most celebrated and beloved humorists of the 20th century – had an imagination that defied gravity and soared past Earth's atmosphere. As a young man, he famously got the first inkling of an idea for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy while hitchhiking across Europe, pausing to contemplate the starry night sky.
In the late seventies, this simple yet powerful premise blossomed into a comedy radio broadcast on BBC Radio 4. From there, it took on a life of its own – the series has included books, a TV show, a film, computer games, comic books, and most recently a stage show: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Radio Show, Live! – a performance which captures the magic of the original radio broadcast. In fact, many of the iconic sound effects used in our doodle were kindly provided by the creative folks behind this show.
The world (to be fair, the universe) of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is complex, chaotic, and often contradictory, with multiple timelines and probability axes colliding in assuredly comic ways. The various exotic planets, alien races, and intergalactic sociopolitical situations are usually filtered through the lens of the series' most useful piece of futuristic technology – the Guide itself, published out of Ursa Minor Beta. The Guide's task of organizing the galaxy's information struck a chord with us, which is why we gave it special attention in our doodle. Through it, you can get a small peek into the unrelentingly hilarious universe created by Douglas Adams.
But The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, in all its many and varied manifestations, is not the limit of Douglas Adams' wit, creativity, and compassion. True fans know and love the episodes he wrote for the British sci-fi show Dr. Who, starring Tom Baker as the fourth doctor. He also created Dirk Gently, protagonist of several genre-defying detective novels. And he co-created, with zoologist Mark Carwardine, the radio documentary and nonfiction book series Last Chance to See, documenting many expeditions to examine near-extinct animals across the globe.
Douglas Adams has entertained and inspired so many generations of people around the world with his warm humor and courageously curious intellect. Happy birthday, you hoopy frood!
I was honored to work on this doodle with my collaborators – Corrie Scalisi, Kevin Laughlin, Manuel Clément, and Leon Hong.
Posted by Sophia Foster-Dimino, Doodler