Today is the anniversary of the first broadcast of the first radio installment of Douglas Adams’ “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. I mention it only because I know some Trail Baboon regulars are fans of the author and the series, which went on to include books, TV shows, movies, more radio shows, a video game, lots of websites and who knows what else.
But it started as a for-ears-only experience.
The online description of the beginning states it thus: “Despite a low-key launch of the series (the first episode was broadcast at 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday, 8 March 1978), it received generally good reviews and a tremendous audience reaction … for radio.”
I love the “… for radio” part. Who listens to radio at 10:30 on a Wednesday night? For drama? Comic, science fiction drama? In Britain in 1978, the answer was “just enough.”
The video and film versions never quite measured up to the original, for me. But then I’m biased in favor of “the theater of the mind”, where some say the pictures are better but it’s also true that you automatically edit out any mind-pictures that don’t measure up – perhaps an unfair advantage for the creaky old medium.
This You Tube non-video offers the first ten minutes of the first episode.
Shortly after this clip ends, the world is destroyed. Not a bad first step along the way to starting something new.
I can only guess that Adams did not expect this project to draw the cult following it did, or to take up so much of his limited time on Earth. He died of a heart attack at age 49.
Clearly “The Hitchhiker’s Guide” is an example of something with modest beginnings that became much grander and infinitely more complicated. So hurrah for modest beginnings!
What have you done that met with unexpected success?