On This Day
1978 – Garfield, holder of the Guinness World Record for the world’s most widely syndicated comic strip, makes its debut.
Garfield is an American comic created by Jim Davis. Published since 1978, it chronicles the life of the title character, Garfield, the cat; Jon Arbuckle, the human; and Odie, the dog. As of 2013, it was syndicated in roughly 2,580 newspapers and journals, and held the Guinness World Record for being the world’s most widely syndicated comic strip.
Though this is rarely mentioned in print, Garfield is set in Muncie, Indiana, the home of Jim Davis, according to the television special Happy Birthday, Garfield. Common themes in the strip include Garfield’s laziness, obsessive eating, coffee, and disdain of Mondays and diets. The strip’s focus is mostly on the interactions among Garfield, Jon, and Odie, but other recurring minor characters appear as well. Originally created with the intentions to “come up with a good, marketable character”, Garfield has spawned merchandise earning $750 million to $1 billion annually. In addition to the various merchandise and commercial tie-ins, the strip has spawned several animated television specials, two animated television series, two theatrical feature-length live-action/CGI animated films, and three fully CGI animated direct-to-video movies.
Part of the strip’s broad pop cultural appeal is due to its lack of social or political commentary; though this was Davis’s original intention, he also admitted that his “grasp of politics isn’t strong,” joking that, for many years, he thought “OPEC was a denture adhesive”.
Born On This Day
1926 – Erna Schneider Hoover, American mathematician and inventor
Dr. Erna Schneider Hoover (born June 19, 1926) is an American mathematician notable for inventing a computerized telephone switching method which “revolutionized modern communication” according to several reports. It prevented system overloads by monitoring call center traffic and prioritizing tasks on phone switching systems to enable more robust service during peak calling times. At Bell Laboratories where she worked for over 32 years, Hoover was described as an important pioneer for women in the field of computer technology.
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