Thursday, July 13, 2006

Who invented the smiley face?

I couldn't resist sharing this. I have to admit, I've never given a thought to the who where or when of the ubiquitous smiley face.

"Dear Cecil:Who invented the smiley face, that obnoxious little design you see plastered on stickers everywhere? Some anonymous hero lost in the quagmire of Commercial Art History? A team of dedicated iconographers hoping to devise the perfect expression of mindless optimism? Will we ever know? Hey, this is what we pay you big money for.

--Ivan Brunetti, Lansing, Illinois

Cecil replies:

Oh? Guess your check got lost in the mail. A few weeks ago, my usual sources having come up dry, I convinced a reporter to post this question in USA Today. Overcome by wickedness, however, I phrased it, "who invented the smiley face, and did he do time for it?" Not that I actually thought the responsible party should be imprisoned, of course; I'd settle for 20 years' house arrest in a room wallpapered with smileys. Be that as it may, I got a few calls, made a few more, and now can confidently assign credit and/or blame.

The smiley face craze, if not necessarily the smiley face itself, was the work of two brothers in Philadelphia, Bernard and Murray Spain, who were in the business of making would-be fad items." Read on ...
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