On July 7th 2009 a doodle appeared on the Google homepage celebrating the 126th anniversary of the publication of Pinocchio. The doodle, which can still be viewed by clicking here, had a carpenter’s workshop theme. In the doodle the letters of the Google logo were comprised as follows, the first “G” of the logo was represented by a shelf and a piece of wood, the first “O” of the logo was represented by a circular piece of red tape, the second “O” of the logo was depicted by a yellow pot which contained a number of tools. The Google logo’s second “G” was depicted by a piece of blue fabric which formed the shape of a lower case g.
In the doodle, a cartoon depiction of Pinocchio formed the “L” of the search engine’s logo, whilst the “E” was depicted by a wooden square which had a red lower case e painted on it. Due to the popularity of the story of Pinocchio, it is surprising that the doodle only appeared on the Google homepage in Italy.
Pinocchio is a fictional character who is the main protagonist in the children’s story “The Adventures of Pinocchio”. The novel was initially published on July 7th 1883 and was the brainchild of the Italian writer Carlo Collodi. Collodi was born on November 24th 1826 in the Italian city of Florence, his name at birth was Carlo Lorenzini and he adopted the pen name Collodi in later life. During the Italian wars of Independence, which were fought in 1848 and 1850, Collodi fought as a volunteer in the Tuscan army. Collodi had an active interest in political matters and this interest resulted in him founding the satirical newspaper “Il Lampione”. The newspaper was so controversial that the Grand Duke of Tuscany ordered that it be censored in 1849, however the publication was re-launched during the May of 1860.
Collodi gained success with his writings at the age of 30, with the publication of his novel “In Vapore” in 1856. During his writing career he published a number of satirical sketches and stories, these include “Macchiette” published 1880, “Occhie e Nasi” published in 1881 and “Storie Allegre” which was published in 1887.
It was not until 1875 that Collodi began writing children’s novels, this process began with him translating the French fairy tales written by Perrault, “Racconti delle Fate”. Collodi became obsessed with the idea of expressing his own convictions through an allegory using an amiable character who was also a rascal, as a vehicle to do so. Due to this, in 1880 he began work on what was to become “Storia di un Burrattino”, or in English “the story of a marionette”. This story became known as “Le Avventure di Pinocchio” and was published weekly in the first Italian newspaper for children, “Il Giornale per I Bambini”.
The Adventures of Pinocchio begin with the carpenter taking a piece of wood to his poor neighbour Geppetto. Geppetto wishes to create a marionette and carves the piece of wood into one, naming him Pinocchio and making it his son. Upon learning to walk Pinocchio runs away from Geppetto. Pinocchio is then caught by a Carbinieri, a member of the local police force, who assumes that Pinocchio has been mistreated at the hands of Geppetto and promptly has Geppetto arrested and imprisoned.
Later in the story, Pinocchio returns to Geppetto’s home and accidentally kills a talking cricket. Before being killed the cricket warns Pinocchio of the perils of both disobedience and hedonism. After falling asleep that evening Pinocchio leaves his legs exposed to an open fire and awakes to find that they have burnt off whilst he slept. Geppetto is then released from prison and crafts Pinocchio a new set of legs. To thank Geppetto for his actions Pinocchio promises to attend school, in order to fund the costs of a school book Geppetto sells his coat.
On his way to school Pinocchio decides to sell his school book in order to buy a ticket to the Great Marrionette Theatre. Later in the tale Pinocchio meets a Fairy who promises that if he performs well at school and passes his exams she will make him a real boy. However Pinocchio becomes distracted and embarks on a series of perilous adventures and adversities which he overcomes. Following this, he has a dream in which he is visited by the Fairy who kisses him. Upon awakening, Pinocchio finds that he has become a real boy and his old puppet body lies lifeless on a chair next to him.
Collodi died in his hometown of Florence in 1890, at the time Pinocchio was not the resounding success it is today. Pinocchio in many ways has outgrown the novel in which he first appeared and as a result has gone on to feature widely in popular culture. This process perhaps began when the Walt Disney Company began developing the story into a film which was released in 1940. The voice of Pinocchio for the film was provided by Dickie Jones. Pinocchio went on to appear in later Disney outputs including “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” and “Disney’s House of Mouse”.
Pinocchio also appeared in the Jiminy Cricket educational serials “I’m No Fool” and “You” which appeared in the first half of the 1990s. In this series the real-boy version of Pinocchio appeared as it wasn’t live-action series. Pinocchio was played by the young Elijah Wood.
The character of Pinocchio also appeared in a number of other children’s television programs, including appearances in both Sesame Street and The Muppet Show. He was also the main character in a horror film, “Pinocchio’s Revenge” in which he appears as a murderous puppet.
The Google doodle team have celebrated a number of children’s characters with a dedicated doodle. These include The Flintstones, Pippi Longstocking and the charismatic duo Wallace and Gromit. The team have also celebrated the creators of children’s literature, most notably Dr. Seuss who received a doodle celebrating what would have been his 105th birthday on 2nd March 2009.