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42 facts about Douglas Adams (+video)

Google's doodle celebrates 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' author Douglas Adams. Here are 42 facts about the humorist, environmentalist, technophile, and all-around hoopy frood who would have turned 61 on Monday.

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20. One of Adams favorite authors was the English humorist P.G. Wodehouse. Adams described Wodehouse's prose as "pure music." Adams was close friends with the actor Stephen Fry, who famously portrayed one of Wodehouse's most enduring characters, the the brilliant yet subtle valet, Jeeves.

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21. In 1979, Adams became the script editor for the television series, "Doctor Who,"  for which he wrote three episodes. He wrote the screenplay for a Doctor Who movie, titled "Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen." It never got off the ground, but the plot later became the basis for his novel, "Life, the Universe and Everything."

22. Adams was friends with Procol Harum frontman Gary Brooker. "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe," Adams said, was inspired by the band's song, "Grand Hotel."

23. Adams and John Lloyd once drafted a comedy based on "The Guinness Book of World Records," about aliens competing with humans to beat records. It would would have starred John Cleese as the UN Secretary General.

24. In 1990 he wrote and presented "Hyperland," a documentary about the potential of hypertext. Later that year, computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee would propose a hypertext project called the WorldWideWeb (also known as "That Thing You Are Using Right Now").

25. The first free online translator, AltaVista Babel Fish, was named for one of Adams's creations, a leech-like creature that, when inserted in the ear, becomes a universal translator. Adams's wrote that the Babel Fish, "by effectively removing all barriers to communication between different cultures and races, has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation."

26. In 1999, Adams founded H2G2, an online collaborative guide to Life, the Universe, and Everything. It predated Wikipedia by two years.

27. Adams's original pitch to the BBC for a comic science fiction radioplay was titled "The Ends of the Earth," a series of different stories that each ended with the destruction of our planet. This eventually morphed into the "Hitchhiker's Guide." 

28. Before becoming a successful writer, Adams worked many odd jobs, including stints as chicken-shed cleaner and as a bodyguard to a wealthy Qatari family. 

29. The popular instant messaging application Trillian is named for a character in the "Hitchhiker's Guide."

30. The idea for a feature-length "Hitchhiker's" film first came in 1982, when it was optioned by producer Ivan Reitman, who wanted either Bill Murray or Dan Aykroyd to play Ford Prefect.


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