Millions scan crowded pages in an eye-boggling search to find Waldo

December 19, 1991|By Los Angeles Daily News

Los Angeles -- With four books, a TV show and a cereal box cover to his credit, Waldo has become the hottest character since the Teen-age Mutant Ninja Turtles.

The cartoon character, who wears a striped red-and-white shirt and a blue pair of pants, can be found on everything from bed sheets to shampoo bottles.

He can be found, that is, if you're good at spotting his ordinary face, anchored by a pair of glasses, in a crowd of thousands.

"You want to know how popular he is?" asked Erica Lindberg Gourd, owner of Lindberg Licensing, a Bronxville, N.Y.-based company that has the licensing rights to the character in the United States and Canada. "There's even a camera that places Waldo in every picture you take. This little guy is everywhere."

Four books on his adventures have sold more than 16 million copies worldwide. He has a Saturday morning cartoon show on CBS. And he has -- get this -- replaced Mikey on the cover of Life cereal.

Waldo is the creation of Martin Handford, a 35-year-old London illustrator. The character was inspired from the games Mr. Handford would play as a child.

The object of Mr. Handford's "Where's Waldo?" books is to find Waldo in the elaborate settings such as Arabian nights or haunted castles.

People, especially children, find Waldo appealing because he's fun and wholesome, Ms. Gourd said.

"He's not violent," she said. "He's a nice nerd. Kids also like him because they can usually find him before Mom and Dad can."

Carlo Parseghian, 7, looks at his Waldo book every night before he goes to bed.

"I like to look for things," the Glendale, Calif., resident said. "I like how he dresses. I like his dog. And he has a funny face. I just go over the book again and again. I never get tired of it."

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