Literature: Where's Wally?
aka: Wheres Waldo
(titled Where's Waldo?
when exported to North America) is a series of picture books where each page is a complex scene filled with hundreds of tiny people. The goal is to find Wally/Waldo, a man in glasses, a bobble hat and a red-and-white striped shirt, carrying a cane. Each page has a short flavor text where Wally/Waldo describes his adventures, pointing the reader to other, usually humorous, things to look for. The Where's Wally/Waldo? books include:
- Where's Wally/Waldo?
- Where's Wally Now? (retitled Find Waldo Now in North America) (featuring various historical scenes)
- Where's Wally?: The Fantastic Journey (retitled The Great Waldo Search in North America, though a updated re-release went back to the former subtitle) (featuring fantasy scenes)
- Where's Wally/Waldo? The Ultimate Fun Book
- Where's Wally/Waldo? In Hollywood
- Where's Wally/Waldo? The Wonder Book (more fantasy scenes)
- Where's Wally/Waldo? The Great Picture Hunt (A balance between the normal books, and The Ultimate Fun Book)
Aside from Wally/Waldo, recurring characters include his friend Wenda, his nemesis Odlaw, his dog Woof (who is usually hidden except for his tail) and the Wizard Whitebeard.
Spawned a short-lived Saturday Morning cartoon show which justified its connection to the books by having a "find Waldo" puzzle before each act break. These were often much harder than the ones in the books, not because they were particularly complex, but because the low resolution on TV's at the time made finding small details (like Waldo) a trying task.Also had an Nes game which had even worse resolution (Everything was 8 bit)
These books contain examples of:
- Adaptation Expansion: The animated series. Among other things, it gave Odlaw a reason to antagonize Waldo (he wanted to steal his magical cane).
- Anachronism Stew: Too many times to count.
- A Pirate 400 Years Too Late: A crew of stereotypical pirates, led by a Blackbeard clone, are shown boarding a cruise ship at the marina. One of the pirates is chasing a woman in a bikini, while another is pursuing men wearing nothing but swim trunks!
- The Artifact: Odlaw was invented for the American animated adaptation and was given a Sdrawkcab Name as Waldo's opposite. This name is still kept when the cartoon was redubbed back into British English for a British audience and 'Waldo' is Wally again, so the reference is lost. Admittedly 'Yllaw' would be unpronounceable unless you're Welsh.
- Cat-apult: In Find Waldo Now, "The End of the Crusades" has a cat loaded onto the rightmost catapult.
- Celebrity Paradox: Tarzan, Paul Bunyan, and Count Dracula make cameo appearances in the "realistic" first book.
- Clothes Make the Legend: That red and white striped shirt, hat and glasses.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Waldo and Odlaw.
- Disaster Dominoes: Most, if not all, of the sceneries had disasters happening (many of them surrealistic and even hilarious).
- Distaff Counterpart: Wenda to Waldo.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Wizard Whitebeard tends to go barefoot.
- Dub Name Change: Wally is called Walter in German, Charlie in French, Willy in Norwegian, Holger in Danish, Valli in Icelandic, and Waldo in America and Canada. Additionally, when the cartoon was aired in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, Waldo was changed back to Wally.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The first book is entirely mundane contemporary scenes. Quite the contrast to its successors, which used time travel to historical settings, completely fantastic settings, and some combination of the two respectively.
- The scenes also have less people in them, compared to the later books. While the first book has plenty of people in the pictures, there's still a fair amount of space between them. The others are packed with people.
- Evil Twin: Odlaw.
- Eye Glasses
- Flying Carpet
- Funny Background Event: Pretty much everything that isn't Wally himself.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Cartoonist Martin Handford hid his titular hero amongst massive (sometimes absurdly so) crowd scenes in which so many unusual events were taking place that you had to look carefully to make out the guy in the striped shirt and ski cap (which was the point of the book). Many of the events depicted were ridiculous or bizarre, and several of them were controversial inclusions for a book aimed at kids ages 6 to 14: a vacuum cleaner sucking a woman's dress off of her body, a man graphically vomiting, and another guy getting accidentally hit in the nuts. One of these sneaky scenes was so subtle that you might not even notice it: a boy at the beach teases a bikini-clad beauty by placing the cold end of his ice cream cone on her back, causing her to bolt up from a prone to a semi-prone position; unless you're looking closely, you might not notice that the girl has loosened her bikini top so as not to get tan lines while sunbathing, and she's about to expose her bare breasts to the world.
- The more fantastical sequels are also worth mentioning. One had a scene of people posing with giant fruits, featuring some very suggestively positioned bananas and oranges.
- Good Hair, Evil Hair: Wizard Whitebeard with his long white beard (duh) and Odlaw with his small dark mustache.
- I Have Many Names: Wally has many different names, depending on which country◊ the book is printed.
- Limited Wardrobe: Apparently, his entire wardrobe is brown shoes, blue jeans, a red-and-white striped long-sleeve shirt, glasses, and a red and white toque. And his red-and-white striped socks.
- Wenda has a similar wardrobe (although swapping a blue dress for the pants), as does Odlaw (though he wears black and yellow exclusively).
- Lost In A Crowd
- Lost in Translation: Odlaw's name obviously comes from the reverse of Waldo. In countries where Waldo is named Wally, Odlaw is still Odlaw, somewhat ruining the joke.
- Market-Based Title
- Mayincatec: in Find Waldo Now.
- Meganekko: Wenda.
- Me's a Crowd: There is a land full of Waldos. Finding the "real" one is hell, but finding the characters that have joined him in the previous locations is rather trivial because they a) stand out and b) the Waldos all crowd around them in easily discernible clusters.
- Monochrome Casting: Thankfully averted, although creator Martin Handford only went so far as to make every tenth person in the crowds black, with occasional "exotic" Asians, Native Americans, and Middle Easterners for Costume Porn.
- Then again, adding too many non-whites could make the white Waldo stand out, making him easier to find.
- Needle in a Stack of Needles: In several of the books, the last challenge is to find Waldo and his companions when they are hidden amongst hundreds of characters dressed exactly like them.
- Nerd Glasses: Waldo seems to be the "smart guy" type.
- Nice Hat: His red and white bobble hat. Several sceneries have a lot of copies of it lying around.
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Waldo seems almost oblivious to many of the chaotic events happening around him, some of which are illegal or downright dangerous.
- Nintendo Hard: Where's Wally/Waldo 3: The Fantastic Journey ends with having to pick Wally out of a dimension filled almost entirely with other Wallies (The only way to know he's the real one is that he's missing a shoe).
- Taken even further in that you then have to find his shoe on the same page.
- Offstage Villainy: Whatever Odlaw gets up to in the cartoon series, in the books, he's just there, and not seen doing anything bad.
- Only Six Faces: Handford's drawing style isn't particularly imaginative, with almost every character having the same basic face with different colors of hair and skin. Even the women simply look like men with long hair and... uh... "equipment."
- Our Giants Are Bigger
- Reference Overdosed: Where's Waldo? The Wonder Book.
- Scenery Porn
- Silly Reason for War: In Find Waldo Now.
- Still The Eighties: When Waldo stops by the airport, passengers are shown disembarking from the jets via external movable stairways like they did for most of the twentieth century (and, presumably, during Martin Handford's childhood), rather than by way of the connected tunnels that were common in airports by 1987).
- Sdrawkcab Name: Odlaw again.
- Updated Re-release: Several of the books were given an anniversary release in which Waldo was moved in each scene, and the supporting characters were added in to the books they hadn't been in before.
- Visual Pun: Lots of them.
- The original 1987 book alone has a "school" of "fish", with the whale in front wearing a professor's mortarboard; an oversized playing card in a World War I-era biplane (a "flying ace," get it?), and a literal "one-armed bandit" (a cowboy with an amputated hand) on a carnival midway.
- Wizard Beard: Wizard Whitebeard.
- You ALL Look Familiar: The Land of Waldos.
The cartoon contains examples of:
- Adaptation Distillation: Wenda is pointedly missing from the show, except for one episode, while even the scrolls and cane made it in.
- Big Ball of Violence: In A Stone Age Story, others.
- Calvinball: The eponymous Great Ball Game which sees four teams playing two matches on the same pitch, doesn't appear to have any rules other than you get points to getting it across (or over) the goal-line and you lose points by having your ball thrown into a pit.. Throughout the episode we get glimpses of the other games in the kingdom that make just about as much sense (throwing darts blindfolded in an attempt to hit bowling balls while another player uses a baseball bat to knock them away springs to mind).
- Captain Colorbeard: Pegbeard the pirate. Son of Pegface, and grandson of Pegspleen.
- Captain Oblivious: Waldo in the cartoon. He is always blissfully unaware of Odlaw's attempts to destroy him, and in fact, seems to have no idea that Odlaw even exists. He always beats Odlaw through sheer dumb luck, all while never actually seeing him.
- Chekhov's Gun: The corn Wizard Whitebeard gives Wally in A Stone Age Story. Turns out it was needed to complete the first movie theater...by being used for popcorn!
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Waldo.
Witch: All I want is someone to turn into a frog(proffers open palm) ...and a tip.
Waldo: Okay, here's a great tip; Never hold your nose and sneeze with your mouth closed.
- Cosmic Plaything: Odlaw, as noted below.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: Odlaw knows he's in a cartoon and is the villain, tells off the cameraman and the narrator (tries to beat him up once, too), and even tries to learn from previous episodes; unfortunately, the whole universe is against him and even the scenery beats him up.
Odlaw: "I've learned my lesson on this show. I'll stand over here, out of the way...gaaaahsp!" (is smashed by wrecking ball)
- Deadpan Snarker: Odlaw, usually.
- Dissonant Serenity: "Oh boy Woof! Isn't this exciting?" Wally says while falling without a parachute, about to be squashed by a bolder, in the middle of a cave-in, being charged by a singing sword fish and while a village is being pillaged by vikings (to name a few).
- Green Aesop: The episode Forest Women, in which Wally saves a forest from evil tree-cutting knights.
- Hurricane of Puns: Constantly by The Narrator, and occasionally by Wally or Wizard Whitebeard.
Odlaw (after a narrator pun): (groan) "I thought you already said your three bad puns for this episode."
- Identical Grandson: Wally meets his "Great, Great, Great, Great, you get the idea" grandfather when he travels back to the stone-age. Looks exactly like him but wears a stripy loincloth and his hat has horns. Woof also has a prehistoric shaggy dog counterpart.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Odlaw. The poor guy gets beat up almost constantly, and Wally doesn't even know he exists.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: In one episode Wally makes friends with a robot but he gets disassembled leaving our hapless hero to rebuild him. Once finished the robot doesn't remember anything but is promptly hit on the head, which apparently jogged the old memory circuits.
- Major Injury Underreaction: Odlaw, while you will often hear him screaming, nine times out of ten you'll see him stoically swaddle off after being flattened or twisted into knots with only a deadpan castrating word to the gleeful narrator.
- Medium Awareness: Odlaw - he directly interacts with the narrator, and he even tries to learn from what happens to him on the show. His only problem is that he doesn't seem to learn that he's the Cosmic Plaything.
Odlaw: "That walking stick will soon be mine."
Narrator: "Yes, because little does Wally know that's he's being wathed. By the mean, Nasty, LOATHSOME.."
Odlaw: "Errr..I believe he left out disgusting."
Narrator: "(Oh yeah, sorry)....AND DISGUSTING....ODLAW!"
Odlaw: (beaming) "Thanks Much."
- Nightmare Fetishist: Wally smiles constantly while watching others get pummeled or is in danger of a pummeling himself (said eagerly: "Who's the menacing fellow who looks as if he'd like to twist me into a knot and throw me off a cliff?"), is excited to be standing in front of an angry stampede, be attacked by monsters, be tied up in chains, be taken prisoner ("Wow, Woof, didjya hear that? We're official prisoners!"), hop into a dangerous pit of doom (shaking bag and smiling: "Well, Woof, apparently I didn't bring my parachute."), and is nothing short of thrilled to be in a cave-in. ("Wow, Woof! It's a real cave-in! And we've only been here just a few minutes! (elated sigh) How lucky can you get?") Seriously, how did Woof survive being around this guy?
- Perpetual Smiler: Wally; can stray into Stepford Smiler territory at times...
- Secret Handshake: Wally's family greeting he does with his cave ancestor. Also counts as Mirror Matching.
- Small Annoying Creature: Woof; he's pretty useless. He's just there for Wally to talk to so he doesn't look crazy, although he does chase off Odlaw from time to time.
- Self-Disposing Villain: Odlaw's pretty self-defeating...as stated above Wally doesn't even know he exists.
- In one episode, Odlaw briefly entertained the idea of not following Waldo since he'd bring back the magical cane anyway but had a change of mind when he heard about a magical fruit.
- Team Pet: Woof again.
- The Voice: The narrator.
- Unknown Rival: Odlaw is never even noticed by Wally or Wizard Whitebeard. Lampshaded once: "Hey aren't you the guy Wally never sees?"
- Wizard Whitebeard did see Odlaw once, but he mistook him for Wally.
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: Odlaw; could possibly be British?