11 Classic Posters You Might've Had on Your Wall

Well, most likely you wouldn't have had all 11 of these iconic posters on your wall simultaneously, but if you grew up in a certain era you probably either owned or saw one of the following posted somewhere, whether in your own bedroom, on the wall of a dorm room, in a "hip" teacher's classroom, etc. Here are the stories behind those iconic posters:

1. Hang in There, Baby

There were hundreds of variations of a dangling kitten hanging in there, but this black and white poster was the original. Sadly, there is not much information to be found as to who created it; the copyright info leads to nothing but dead ends. However, one thing we can probably be certain of, as Marge Simpson noted when she saw the copyright date of 1968, is that the kitty model for the poster is either long dead or a candidate for Guinness World Records.

2. Farrah

The Pro Arts Company of Ohio was run by two brothers who specialized in selling youth-oriented posters. They hit pay dirt in the early 1970s when their "Fonzie" poster sold a quarter of a million copies. In early 1976, one of Pro Arts' founders heard from a friend that many of his dorm-mates at college were buying women's magazines just for the Wella Balsam shampoo ads that featured a blonde beauty named Farrah Fawcett. Pro Arts tracked down Fawcett and arranged a photo shoot beside the pool at her Bel-Air, California, home. Photographer Bruce McBroom used an Indian blanket that doubled as a seat cover in his Chevy as a backdrop. Farrah chose a red one-piece bathing suit in lieu of a bikini in order to cover a scar on her stomach. In the ultimate example of serendipity, between the time Farrah posed for the poster and its release in late 1976, she had been hired as one of Charlie's Angels and the first few episodes had aired. The free publicity provided by the show sent poster sales into the stratosphere, and made Pro Arts a multi-million dollar company.

3. Footprints

This is another poster that was reprinted in several thousand forms graphics-wise, but the poem remained basically the same: the narrator was chatting with the Lord about how when he imagined his life there were two sets of footprints in the sand, but during the lowest parts of his life there was only one set of prints. The Lord replied that those were the times when he was carrying the narrator. Sadly this inspirational verse has a very contentious history, with no less than four people vehemently insisting that they wrote the original poem. Oregon artist Burrell Webb claims that he composed the verse in 1958 after being dumped by his girlfriend. Mary Stevenson, who went on to first be a showgirl and then a nurse, states that she wrote the poem as a teenager in 1936 during the Great Depression. Evangelist Margaret Fishback Powers insists that she wrote the words in 1964 when her future husband proposed to her on the beach, and the verse became ever so meaningful to her in succeeding years when she was struck by lightning (twice), saw her daughter go over a 60-foot waterfall and her husband suffer a heart attack while rescuing her, and suffered a bout of meningitis. Carolyn Joyce Carty, who is one of the most litigious "authors" when it comes to the Footprints poem, says that she wrote the verse in 1963 at the age of six on an old Remington typewriter based on the Sunday school teachings of her aunt Ella.

4. Keep on Truckin'

Robert Crumb first drew the "Keep on Truckin'" cartoon in 1968 as part of the first issue of an underground comic called Zap. Crumb later confessed that he thought the "Truckin'" panel was the "dumbest page in the whole comic" but somehow the image caught on with the hippie counter-culture and took on a life of its own. On the advice of a friend, Crumb retained a lawyer and went after the biggest retailer of "Truckin'" merchandise, A.A. Sales, a company that was using the image on everything from posters to coffee mugs to bath mats. A lengthy legal battle ensued that resulted in Crumb receiving a whopping $750 settlement, but A.A. Sales disputed even that paltry amount and pursued the matter to federal court, utilizing a little-known defense known as "notice omission" – that is, Crumb had lost all claims to his drawing because he'd never included the little C in a circle copyright symbol along with his name and date. The case dragged on and on (and on) and even changed some copyright laws along the way, but R. Crumb ultimately stated that he'd had no intention of becoming a "greeting card artist for the counter-culture movement" – he never wanted to do "shtick."

5. Love is...

Kim Grove met Roberto Casali at a Los Angeles ski club in 1967. She drew little cartoons of a boy and girl together to document the budding romance and to give to Roberto as "love notes." Luckily Roberto kept all the drawings and submitted them to the Los Angeles Times, which published the first Love Is... panel on January 5, 1970. Soon the cartoon was syndicated worldwide and the subject of coffee mugs, T-shirts, and posters. In 1975, Roberto was diagnosed with cancer, and Kim made the then-controversial decision to have some of his sperm frozen for later use. A little over a year after Roberto passed away, Kim gave birth to their son Milo.

6. Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Today most folks view seagulls as nothing more than rats with wings, but back in 1972 one of those scavengers was the subject of a multi-million dollar franchise. Richard Bach's feel-good story Jonathan Livingston Seagull contained less than 10,000 words but sold more than 8,000,000 copies in hardcover and paperback, and various posters based on the warm fuzzy axioms in the novella were equally successful sellers.

7. Mark Spitz

Swimming superstar Mark Spitz was the first athlete to win seven gold medals at an Olympiad. When he posed for a poster wearing a Stars and Stripes Speedo and his medals, he became not only a household name but also a sex symbol. Look carefully at Spitz' famous poster and you'll notice his hand casually obscuring the "Speedo" logo. That's because he had a contract with German swimsuit manufacturer Arena at the time and was trying to avoid any "conflict of interest" lawsuits.

8. War Is Not Healthy...

Printmaker Lorraine Schneider sat at her Los Angeles work table one morning in 1966 and etched out a sunflower and a child-like anti-war slogan on a two-inch square piece of metal. The resulting poster sold millions of copies worldwide, but Schneider earned not one penny from it; shortly after she designed it, she gave all the rights to a small local group called Another Mother for Peace. AMP closed its offices in 1986, but the group was re-established in 2003 with the advent of the war in Iraq.

9. Peter Max

No bedroom was officially groovy or trippy enough without an official Peter Max poster. Max ushered in the psychedelic era of the 1960s with his vibrant colors, abstract stars and planets, and messages of love and peace. Max's artwork also powered 7-Up's 1968 "un-cola" advertising campaign.

10. Jaws

It took Bantam Books illustrator Roger Kastel six months to get the paperback cover illustration just right for the Peter Benchley book Jaws – none of the drafts seemed scary enough. Finally it was decided that the best way to get a good view of the great white shark's razor-sharp teeth was to picture him from underneath. Universal Pictures was so impressed with the final product that they agreed that it would be the only picture used in any promotional materials for the film.

11. Jim Morrison

Joel Brodsky photographed Jim Morrison in New York City for the 1967 "Young Lion" shoot. He later recalled that Jim had been drinking heavily the entire time and was stumbling around the studio, knocking lights over. Despite his faulty equilibrium, Morrison still managed to engage the camera; when the above photo appeared in The Village Voice, the paper received more than 10,000 requests for a print of it.

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Pop Culture
What Would It Cost to Operate a Real Jurassic Park?
Universal Studios and Amblin Entertainment, Inc. and Legendary Pictures Productions, LLC.
Universal Studios and Amblin Entertainment, Inc. and Legendary Pictures Productions, LLC.

As the Jurassic Park franchise has demonstrated, trapping prehistoric monsters on an island with bite-sized tourists may not be the smartest idea (record-breaking box office numbers aside). On top of the safety concerns, the cost of running a Jurassic Park would raise its own set of pretty pricey issues. Energy supplier E.ON recently collaborated with physicists from Imperial College London to calculate how much energy the fictional attraction would eat up in the real world.

The infographic below borrows elements that appear in both the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World films. One of the most costly features in the park would be the aquarium for holding the massive marine reptiles. To keep the water heated and hospitable year-round, the park would need to pay an energy bill of close to $3 million a year.

Maintaining a pterosaur aviary would be an even more expensive endeavor. To come up with this cost, the researchers looked at the yearly amount of energy consumed by the Eden Project, a massive biome complex in the UK. Using that data, they concluded that a structure built to hold winged creatures bigger than any bird alive today would add up to $6.6 million a year in energy costs.

Other facilities they envisioned for the island include an egg incubator, embryo fridge, hotel, and emergency bunker. And of course, there would be electric fences running 24/7 to keep the genetic attractions separated from park guests. In total, the physicists estimated that the park would use 455 million kilowatt hours a year, or the equivalent of 30,000 average homes. That annual energy bill comes out to roughly $63 million.

Keep in mind that energy would still only make up one part of Jurassic Park's hypothetical budget—factoring in money for lawsuits would be a whole different story.

Map of dinosaur park.
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Comics
20 Things You Might Not Know About Garfield
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Everyone’s favorite lazy, lasagna-loving cat made his debut 40 years ago, but Garfield is still just as popular today. The comic strip spawned a TV show plus a number of video games, feature films, books, and, of course, holiday specials—not to mention one very memorable car window craze. We sat down with Garfield creator Jim Davis to nail down a solid list of 20 things you might not know about the wisecracking feline.

1. JIM DAVIS ORIGINALLY INTENDED TO FOCUS THE STRIP ON JON.


Courtesy of Jim Davis

“I ran some early ideas at a local paper,” Jim Davis tells Mental Floss, “to see how I felt about it and I called the strip Jon. It was about him, but he had this wise cat who, every time, came back zinging him. He always had the great payoff. At the time, I worked for T.K. Ryan—the cartoonist for Tumbleweeds—and I showed it to him and told him how every time I got to the punch line the cat zings him. And T.K. said, 'Well, what does that tell you, Jim?'" he laughs. “The strip must be about the cat. Go with it.”

2. JON WAS A CARTOONIST IN THE VERY FIRST COMIC STRIP, BUT IT WAS NEVER REALLY MENTIONED AGAIN.

“I didn’t want to tread on the fact that Jon’s a cartoonist because my biggest fear was getting a little too inside," Davis says. "That it would be a little too easy for me to write. I didn’t want to lose the readers just for my own enjoyment, or for a handful of peers. Also, I purposely gave him a job right off the top for the reason that The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet never explained what Ozzie did for a living. Nobody ever knew because he was always in the house with Harriet and Ricky and David. Just hanging around. So I thought I would give Jon a job right off the top to avoid being asked what he does for a living in interviews.”

3. GARFIELD WAS NAMED AFTER DAVIS'S GRANDFATHER, JAMES A. GARFIELD DAVIS ...

... who was named after President James A. Garfield. That’s quite a connection. Now just imagine a fat, wisecracking, lasagna-eating cat as the President of the United States of America. (Sounds like a dead-ringer for William Howard Taft!)

4. GARFIELD IS SET IN DAVIS'S HOMETOWN OF MUNCIE, INDIANA, BUT THAT'S ALSO MOSTLY LEFT UNSAID.


Courtesy of Jim Davis

“I would like for readers in Sydney, Australia to think that Garfield lives next door,” Davis says. “Dealing with eating and sleeping, being a cat, Garfield is very universal. By virtue of being a cat, really, he’s not really male or female or any particular race or nationality, young or old. It gives me a lot more latitude for the humor for the situations.” The farm that Davis grew up on reportedly had 25 cats, several of which he based the Garfield character on.

5. DAVIS MAINTAINS COMPLETE CONTROL OVER GARFIELD'S FINAL PRODUCT, BUT HE NO LONGER DRAWS THE DAILY COMIC STRIP.

“I’m sitting here working on the writing right now,” he says. “I see gags and I work with assistants on the strip and stuff like that. We do roughs and it all filters through me so that it has one voice. We all get together occasionally in the same room and draw and work on shapes of fingers and gestures and expressions and things like that so that if any one of us draws it, you can’t tell which one did it.”

6. HE REGRETS AT LEAST ONE LICENSED GARFIELD ITEM.

According to Slate, Garfield merchandise brings in $750 million to $1 billion annually. Davis’s creation has been adapted and licensed more times than anyone could probably count, and of all of those items, there's one that Davis isn't thrilled with. “A few years ago there was a Zombie Garfield,” he says. “It was really gnarly and I thought, 'Oh, this will be fun.' So I did it and it sold okay. It was really interesting. But then I looked at it later and I go, ‘It did nothing for the character’s advancement.’ I figured I just did it because it was cool and everybody was doing it at the time. I just didn’t have a warm, fuzzy feeling after doing it. But those T-shirts go away," he laughs.

7. GARFIELD HOLDS THE GUINNESS WORLD RECORD FOR BEING THE WORLD'S MOST WIDELY SYNDICATED COMIC STRIP.

Garfield is syndicated in more than 2500 newspapers and journals. The cat also has more than 16 million fans on Facebook. That’s one seriously popular feline.

8. GARFIELD'S CHARACTER DESIGN HAS CHANGED MANY TIMES OVER THE YEARS.

There's one constant, though: The fat cat has always been—and will always be—fat. “If he lost weight, that would effectively end Garfield as we know it,” Davis says. “Garfield sends a healthy message in that he’s not perfect. He knows that and he’s cool with that. He’s happy with himself. If everybody were, there would probably be fewer disorders of all natures. He’s not perfect. In fact, he’s the imperfection in all of us underneath. I think that makes him probably easier to identify with than a slim, athletic character in the comics.”

9. DAVIS REALLY ENJOYED SCARING KIDS WITH GARFIELD'S HALLOWEEN ADVENTURE.

"It was such a challenge to try to think of something that could be scary, but fortunately we got to work with animation—we could marry scary sounds with scary music and scary images, and set the stage for a scary experience," Davis says. "Even down to the use of the actor’s voice. C. Lindsay Workman [who voices the old man that tells Garfield and Odie about the vengeful ghost pirates] was just a great character actor. I think we took our time to build to a scary scene where the ghost pirates invaded the house to look for the buried treasure. We tried to throw as many elements together as possible to create a situation where, at least for a few minutes, it could create a scary situation for the young viewers."

10. CREATING THE GHOST PIRATES IN THE HALLOWEEN TV SPECIAL WAS MUCH MORE DIFFICULT THAN YOU MIGHT THINK.

“We did it in our own art department (here at Paws, Inc.) because we wanted to make it just right,” the Garfield creator told us. “It was done with a white, chalky pencil on a rough texture so that everything would be really grainy. Back then, we animated on real film, so in order to get that glow we did what’s called a double burn. We exposed the film twice to overexpose the ghosts, and that gave it that eerie glow. We were totally in control of the process and the results turned out very well.”

11. IN 2011, A FULL-LENGTH STAGE MUSICAL CALLED GARFIELD LIVE WAS STAGED IN MUNCIE.

The musical was supposed to start touring the United States in September 2010, but was delayed until January 2011, when it premiered in Muncie. Davis wrote Garfield Live, while Michael Dansicker and Bill Meade handled the music and lyrics.

12. DAVIS LOVED THE CASTING OF BILL MURRAY AS THE VOICE OF GARFIELD IN 2004'S GARFIELD: THE MOVIE.


Muncie Magazine

“It was because of Bill Murray’s attitude [that he was cast],” Davis tells us. “It wasn’t really so much his voice. It was the fact that he embodies the attitude that Garfield has always displayed in the strip. Lorenzo [Music] obviously wasn’t a choice since he passed away years ago, and when the producers said, ‘Bill Murray would like to do the voice,’ I thought, ‘Oh, cool.’ My biggest concern about doing a CGI Garfield with live action was that people wouldn’t buy into the fact that this was our Garfield—the Garfield we’d known all these years. But I thought that as soon as they heard Bill Murray’s voice they’d get it. There will be that emotional tag going with his voice. That will establish the fact that, ‘Yes, this character has attitude.’”

13. THERE'S A GREAT LINK BETWEEN GARFIELD VOICE ACTOR LORENZO MUSIC AND BILL MURRAY.

Lorenzo Music provided the voice of Garfield in all of the cat’s TV specials from 1982 to 1991, as well as during the 1988 to 1994 run of Garfield and Friends. Music also provided the voice of Peter Venkman in The Real Ghostbusters. Murray, of course, played Venkman in the Ghostbusters films and would, in 2004, provide the voice of Garfield in Garfield: The Movie. “I didn’t know about the relationship with Ghostbusters until years later."

14. THE MACY'S PARADE ONCE CITED SHAMU THE WHALE AS THE PARADE'S LARGEST BALLOON, BUT DAVIS SAYS GARFIELD WAS LARGER.

“In the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, they had published that their biggest balloon ever, by volume of gas, was Shamu the Whale with over 18,000 cubic feet," Davis says. "The fact is that the Garfield balloon was filled with 18,907 cubic feet of helium. So we just confirmed that the Garfield balloon, in fact, was the largest one by volume of gas.”

15. THERE ARE ONLY THREE COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD WHERE GARFIELD IS NOT NAMED GARFIELD.

“In Sweden, Garfield is known as Gustav,” the Garfield creator says. “There are only three countries in the whole world where he’s not Garfield and they’re all in the Nordics.” The other two are Norway and Finland.

16. THE STUCK ON YOU GARFIELD PLUSH WITH SUCTION CUPS WAS THE RESULT OF A MISUNDERSTANDING.


Amazon

In the 1990s, it wasn't unusual to see a number of cars with little Garfield plushes stuck to the windows with suction cups. But that wasn't the original design—or the intended use. “I designed the first Stuck on You doll with Velcro on the paws, thinking that people would stick it on curtains,” Davis says. “It came back as a mistake with suction cups. They didn’t understand the directions. So I stuck it on a window and said, 'If it’s still there in two days, we’ll approve this.' Well, they were good suction cups and we released it like that. It never occurred to me that people would put them on cars.”

17. THE GARFIELD COMIC STRIP BOOKS HAVE BEEN HUGE HITS.

“The 11 Garfield comic strip books have all been number one on the New York Times Bestseller List,” Davis says. “At one time there were seven on the list simultaneously. At that point, they changed the way the list was done because other publishing houses were complaining that their authors couldn’t get on the list because of Garfield. Garfield at Large (1980) was number one for two solid years. Over 100 weeks.” The title of every compilation book is a reference to either food or Garfield’s weight.

18. STEVEN SPIELBERG AND STEPHEN KING ARE AMONG THE MANY CELEBRITIES WHO OWN ORIGINAL GARFIELD STRIPS.

They both contacted Davis personally for the strips; the cartoonist happily obliged.

19. DESPITE GARFIELD BEING INSANELY POPULAR FOR DECADES, DAVIS IS STILL MOSTLY ANONYMOUS.


Muncie Magazine

“Being a cartoonist, you really enjoy a lot of anonymity,” he says. “You take a half-dozen of the biggest cartoonists and walk them down any street, nobody would notice them. They only know their characters. So I just hide behind Garfield. The only time anyone knows the name or spots me is if I’m out on book tour and I’m meant to do publicity. We don’t suffer any of the kind of attention problems that I think people do on TV or in movies. It’s not a big deal. I’m sitting here in the countryside of East Central Indiana, so it’s pretty quiet.”

20. DAVIS'S FATHER'S FAVORITE COMIC STRIP WASN'T GARFIELD.

Davis's father and namesake, who passed away in 2016, liked Garfield but preferred another comic strip: Beetle Bailey. “Nobody else knew that until today,” Davis tells us.

This article originally appeared in 2014.

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