Where's Waldo?

Where's Waldo?

Where's Waldo? is the North American book and media franchise first adapted for United States audiences from the "Where's Wally?" book by Martin Handford.


The franchise was created by Martin Handford. As a young adult, Handford illustrated crowds and other comic scenes for clients. In 1986 he was approached to create a book of his artwork. To tie each scene together he came up with the idea to insert a distinctive traveller into each scene for readers to find. For the initial UK release of his book in 1987 he titled the character "Wally". The "Where's Wally" trademark was adapted for 28 countries. In addition to language translation, each franchise gave a new name and personality to the character. He became Charlie in France, Walter in Germany, Holger in Denmark and Willy in Norway. Waldo can also be found in Japan. In Israel, Waldo got renamed as Effy, and was a huge success at the time of its release. However the most successful of the franchises, even surpassing the original "Wally" brand, was the North American adaptation, "Where's Waldo?"

Whereas the early Waldo books were identical to the simultaneous Wally releases - except for the character's name - merchandising and spin-off productions expanded the Waldo franchise and character. Although Waldo and Wally are identical in appearance, their characters and personalities developed differently - Waldo became a hip and tech-savvy American world traveler, while Wally became intellectual and somewhat goofy.

Waldo became a huge pop-culture sensation in the early 1990s. The US was swept with "Waldo-mania". Aside from the adaptations of Handford's books, the US franchise grew to include licensing of Waldo for video games, spin-off books, magazines, dolls, toys and a "Waldo" television series. Many of the Waldo products were later reworked and translated for other national markets - including turning "Waldo"-created productions into "Wally".

Although Wally is the name used in Handford's home country, and was the first title used, Handford and his publisher refer to the character and franchise in many press releases and interviews as "Waldo". In the publishing world the "Wally" brand has become inferior, dwarfed by merchandising and huge success of "Waldo". And although the wordplay was lost on audiences outside North America, the name of the intrepid traveller's nemesis was even derived by Handford from spelling "Waldo" backwards to create Odlaw.

On January 22, 2007, the "Where's Wally" franchise - and thus "Where's Waldo" as well - was bought by the UK-based children's company Entertainment Rights.



*Where's Waldo
*Find Waldo Now?
*The Great Waldo Search
*Where's Waldo in Hollywood?


*Mamma Waldini
*Wizard Whitebeard
*The Waldo Watchers

Television Show

:"Main article: Where's Waldo? (TV series)"A 13-episode animated series, with Townsend Coleman as the voice of Waldo, was produced by DiC and CBS in 1991. The show was later translated for international markets - usually renaming the character to fit the name used in the books of that country. The dialogue and theme song were recorded in alternate “Wally” version, with the same voice cast of the original US production, in order to later market the show to the UK market. The distribution rights to "Where's Waldo", and its international dubs, are currently held by HIT Entertainment

Other media

Video games

A number of American video games were developed using the Waldo version.
* "Where's Waldo?"
* "The Great Waldo Search"
* "Where's Waldo at the Circus
* "


For several years in the early and mid 1990s, "Where's Waldo" was turned into a Sunday newspaper comic/puzzle, distributed by King Features Syndicate. The comics were also released in book form in the US.

Cereal boxes

In the early 1990s Quaker Life Cereal carried various "Where's Waldo" scenes on the back of the boxes along with collector's cards, toys and send-away prizes.


A movie based on the "Where's Waldo?" series of books has been pursued by various studios. Nickelodeon was the most recent studio to take an interest in the idea but when the regime at Paramount (Nickelodeon's parent company) changed, the project was cancelled. At the moment, a new bid for the rights is under consideration with a new movie outline due.

Where's Waldo? in Pop Culture


*The VH1 mini-series "I Love the '90s" featured "Where's Waldo?" as a topic of discussion during the show on 1993. The celebrities discused the books, tried to find Waldo, and made other comments on the phenomenon. The commentators talk about how hard it is to find Waldo as trying to spot him in the books. Some of them point our some of the absurd and wacky things going on in the pictures as well. Media "gad-fly" Mo Rocca dresses as Waldo and compares his looks to the character's. Viewers may also notice that Waldo is "hidden" in other segments pictures and video clips as well throughout the hour. A Waldo also pops up briefly in the follow-up series, "". ::Michael Ian Black: "The gauntlet is thrown, where's Waldo? I accept your challenge. I shall find Waldo and prove that I am better that you!...You look for Waldo and they trick you because you think 'oh, I'll key in on the red and white shirt'. Nah, no, no, no. We've thought of that, sir. There's red and white towels, there's red and white tents...There is tremendous detail and fun and there's jokes scattered throughout the pictures."

**During the Treehouse of Horror III segment titled "Dial Z for Zombies", Bart finds himself in the library when he stumbles upon a fictitious "Where’s Waldo" book called "Find Waldo Yet Again". After opening the book Bart finds a very empty and simple and uncrowded scene with Waldo on the beach (Waldo is standing prominently in the center and the only other person in the scene is pointing at him), to which he remarks "Man, he's just not trying anymore." To avoid any possible legal complications, The Simpsons' creators altered Waldo's look.
**In the episode "The Otto Show" the Simpson family takes Otto, the bus driver into their house. After days of lounging around the Simpsons house, Marge suggests to Otto thinking about getting a job and doing something with his life. Marge says "Otto, you can't just sit there watching TV all day." Otto perks up and says, "You know you're right, I should do a little reading. You got any of those Where's Waldo books?". Marge simply replies, "um..no."
**In the episode titled “Bart's Comet”, the entire town of Springfield finds themselves jammed into Ned Flanders’ bomb shelter to protect themselves from a comet headed for the town. One shot of the crowd in the shelter shows just how packed with people the place is. With the entire frame filled with people, similar to a Where's Waldo book, the animators added a yellow-skinned Waldo hidden within the crowd of characters.
**In the episode “Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder” not only is Waldo referenced, but is shown in Simpsons form. While eating a healthy breakfast of cereal, Homer notices the image on the back of the cereal box and picks it up. It is a “Where’s Waldo” scene (an allusion to the Waldo appearance on Life Cereal boxes in the mid ’90s). Homer exclaims, “Ooh, Where's Waldo?”. Homer continues to search for Waldo but with no luck. Annoyed without being able to spot Waldo, Homer states “...this would be a lot easier without all these people.” After several more minutes of looking Homer screams, “Waldo, where are you?” And as if on cue, a yellow skinned Waldo walks past the kitchen window.

* In the sixth season episode of "Family Matters" titled "Till Death Do Us Apartment" (originally aired on October 7, 1994), Eddie and his friend Waldo Geraldo Faldo share an apartment. After getting the mail, Waldo makes reference to the book character of the same name.::Eddie: There's only one Waldo.::Waldo: No, there's another one, but nobody can seem to find him.

* In the fifth season episode "Frasier" titled "Halloween" (originally aired on October 28, 1997), Dr. Frasier Crane hosts a Halloween party in which people are asked to come dressed as literary characters. Bulldog, Frasier's co-worker, comes to the party dressed as Waldo, a character unfimilar to the Crane brothers. ::Frasier: And as what literary character will you be attending? ::Bulldog: Waldo! [Frasier looks at him blankly] From "Where's Waldo?" He's like in sixteen books! And you call yourself well-read.

::Bulldog: No, wait, wait! Guess who I am? ::Niles: I give up. ::Bulldog: I'm Waldo! From "Where's Waldo?" You know, that guy you can't find because he blends into the crowd? ::Niles: I don't know, but I'd love a demonstration.

* In the seventh season episode of "Full House" titled "Smash Club: the Next Generation" (originally aired October 19, 1993), Michelle takes advantage of Nicky and Alex when she turns her younger cousins into her own personal servants. One of the tasks she assigns them is to find Waldo for her in her "Where's Waldo" books.::Michelle: Nicky, did you find Waldo for me yet?::Nicky: "(looking at Waldo book)" No Waldo.::Michelle: Keep looking, he's in there.

*In the "Seinfeld" episode “The Heart Attack” Jerry, George, and Elaine are sitting in Monk’s Restaurant when Elaine asks “Hey, where’s Kramer?” to which Jerry replies “I don't know. That's like asking ‘Where’s Waldo?’”.

*In the Saturday Night Live "Weekend Update" segment of the May 16, 1992 broadcast, Kevin Nealon reported "The 'Where's Waldo?' books have become so popular that the publishers are adding new additions. Last week, they came out with 'Where's Georgie?' and next week, they're coming out with a double edition: 'Where's Ronnie & Gorby?'"

* The opening skit of the October 6, 2001 episode of Saturday Night Live featured Will Ferrell as US President George W. Bush. In a comical parody of a President's address to America following September 11th, the president says, "...Make no mistake: we're coming for you, Bin Laden. I'm gonna make you my own personal "Where's Waldo". And unlike those frustrating Waldo books, I'm gonna find you."

* In the "Drawn Together" episode "Spelling Applebee's", Princess Clara says to Captain Hero at one point that if he wants her, he knows where to find her. She then puts on a striped shirt, a hat, and glasses, and disappears into the crowd. Immediately after this, the camera pulls out and an image of a screaming alien appears, referencing the Internet prank mentioned below. If a viewer pauses the scene before the alien appears, however, the screen makes a "Where's Waldo"-esque image. Clara, dressed as Waldo, is located at the top right of the screen.

*In the "Family Guy" episode "Sibling Rivalry", Stewie and Brian find diversity in an "Abercrombie & Fitch" catalogue when they find a black version of Waldo. In the episode "Saving Private Brian", Brian was shown running through an obstacles course, one of which required him to locate Waldo.

*In an episode of "Dr. Katz", one of the main character's patients says that he is so gullible that he bought a "Where's Waldo?" audio book to listen to on a long journey. We hear a section of the audio, which says, "Woman with baby...man on a bicycle...Waldo..."

*In "The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy", Wally was found by Billy along with Billy's Captain Fathead action figure, & Carmen San Diego; and was referred to by Billy as "Waldo".

*In an episode of "Viva La Bam", in an attempt to hide from Bam in New York, his uncle Don Vito dresses like Waldo.

*There is "Friends" episode where Ross is in a doctor's waiting room and helps a girl find 'Waldo' in her book. When she is confused later at Ross' outbursts he shouts, "Hey! I helped you find Waldo!."

*In the "Married... with Children" episode "Get Outta Dodge", Bud gives Kelly a "little task" to keep her occupied, and she is shown looking for Waldo all around the house and neighborhood. After reappearing still looking for him several times during the episode, the final scene shows the family and their neighbors, minus Al, sitting at the kitchen table, with Kelly sitting next to a man dressed as Waldo.

*In the "Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends" episode "The Big Picture", Mac and Bloo investigate old photographs of all of Foster's friends, and there is a prankster named Wally, who wears a red and white striped shirt. Bloo looks for him in every picture, repeating, "Where's Wally?" to himself.

*There is an episode of Nickelodeon's "The Fairly Oddparents" entitled "Where's Wanda?"

*An episode of "Pokémon" has the title pun, "?" Fact|date=July 2007

* In How I Met Your Mother 2x17 (Arrivederci Fiero) Barney and Marshall met a hitchhiker named Waldo.

*In "", the "Encyclopedia of Infinite Knowledge"'s commercial screams "...where "is" Waldo?!" while stating the contents.


* A man dressed as Waldo was in attendance at the Academy Awards in "".
* Waldo also appeared in .
* Johnny jokingly exclaims to his friends that he "found Waldo" after he falls into a trap door in "Surf Ninjas".

Video Games

*In the video game SimCopter, there is a small red square in a loft window of the player's hangar. If you leave your mouse over it for a second, the text 'You've found Waldo!' appears.


*The Simpsons Comic #49 features a story where Maggie goes missing. The comic’s cover is a parody of a Where’s Waldo scene with The Simpsons cast. Although the inside comic does not feature Waldo, the cover has a yellow skinned Waldo hidden in the crowd scene.

*MAD Magazine #310 (April 1992) features a comic titled "Where's Waldo? For Complete Morons" by Sergio Aragones. A reprint of the cartoon was published in the book "Mad About the '90s : The Best of the Decade" published in 2005. The MAD 20 of 2005 featured a comic titled "Where's W?", a book parody in the style of the "Where's Waldo?" series. The cover shows a tableau of the crowded, flooded streets of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, with George W. Bush completely impossible to find.

*In the comic strip Get Fuzzy, Satchel complains to Rob in one strip that Bucky has been scribbling in his Where's Waldo books. Bucky explains that he put Beards on Waldo to make it "Where's Osama".

In the webcomic Rob and Elliot, the character Rob finds a down and out Waldo in an alley. Waldo happened to have gone to school with Rob, who promises to take care of him. The comic ends with the line, "It's okay. I found you."


*An internet flash game on Albino Blacksheep was created taking an image from Where's Waldo at the Circus. The video shows a section of a crowd scene (part without Waldo) and the viewer is told to find Waldo. After a minute of searching or without clicking anything or anyone, the picture abruptly switches to a picture of Captain Howdy from The Exorcist and makes a loud male noise in an attempt to scare the viewer.

* A hoax video clip from Mel Gibson's Apocalypto surfaced on the internet with a single flash frame of a Waldo-like character (but with vertical stripes and a red-and-white umbrella) "subliminally" inserted into the film. The video surfaced on the internet long before the commercial release of the film and was edited from bootleg copies of the movie. A Waldo cameo did not actually exist in the movie and this is no more than an internet hoax or joke.

*A video of a cannibalistic psychotic Waldo was made by the people at [http://www.thisjustin.com thisjustin.com] .

ee also

*Where's Wally
*Where's Waldo? (TV series)
*List of international variations of Where's Wally?

External links

* [http://waldo.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page The "Where's Waldo" Wiki]
* [http://www.thegreatpicturehunt.com/ Official "Where's Waldo" Site]
* [http://www.candlewick.com/cat.asp?browse=Title&mode=book&isbn=0763619205&pix=n Camdlewick Press]
* [http://whereswaldo.com/ A Virtual "Where's Waldo"]

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