A new animated doodle globally on the homepage from Google to celebrate the birthday of Douglas Adams, a well-known British writer, humorist and dramatist. Douglas is best known the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy which started on BBC radio in 1978. The first episode aired in 1978 on BBC Radio 4. The series originally consisted of six episodes and quickly managed to gather a huge fan base which lead that the series was repeated on the radio twice in 1978. In 1980, new episodes were made and there was a Christmas special bringing the number of episodes at twelve.
Between 1979 and 1984, the story was released in a quite extended and edited version as a book series. In total there are five published books. The books are often described as a trilogy in five parts. This is because later, after the third book had been published, two additional books were published. Because of the popularity of the series on the radio a television series was created consisting of six episodes. The series was directed by Alan J. W. Bell and the first episode was aired in January 1981. There would come a second season but because of an argument between Douglas Adams and the BBC this second season was never produced.
Based on the book in 2005 a movie was made starring Martin Freeman (Love Actually, The Hobbit, The Office, Sherlock), Zooey Deschanel (New Girl), Sam Rockwell (Iron Man 2, Cowboys and Aliens, The Green Mile, Charlie’s Angels), Stephen Fry (as a voice) and Mos Def, an American rapper and actor who starred in the film the Italian Job in 2003. Despite the cast the science fiction film was not a great success. In addition to the series and the movie in 1984 an interactive game was released where Douglas Adams wrote for. In 1993 a three-part comic book adaptation of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was published. In 1994, a three-part adaptation of the second book was published and a three-part adaptation of the third book was released in 1996.
There are some things that always return in the stories and today can be seen in the Google doodle. First up is the number 42, the answer to the ultimate question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. Thanks to Douglas Adams and the popularity of his book this number pops on the strangest places including in the search engine of Google as an Easter Egg. Another recurring theme is a towel, which according to the guide a trans galactic hitchhiker always should have with him. A towel is not only convenient but also has a psychological value.
Finally there is the Babel fish. This is a small yellow fish that can serve as a translator (There was once a real Babel fish translation service from Yahoo). A Babel fish can absorb sound waves and brain waves and send them to the speech center in the brain of another person, where everything is automatically translated into the language of that person. Someone with a Babel fish can therefore understand anything in any language. Almost all the characters in the stories of Douglas Adams have Babel fishes in their ears.
Douglas Adams married Jane Belson in 1991 and had a daughter in 1994. He was also a big fan of Apple after he discovered a first prototype of the first Apple Macintosh at Infocom in 1983. He shared this love for Apple with his friend and well-known British actor Stephen Fry. Adams died on 11 May 2011 at the age of 49 in Santa Barbara, California of a heart attack. Since his death Towel Day is celebrated every year on 25 May, a tribute of the fans of Douglas Adams.
Google used the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in the doodle and several aspects from the stories can be found in the logo, like the number 42, a towel and a Babel fish.