The much-maligned Atlanta Olympics mascot made its debut at the 1992 Summer Games

“Talk about adding insult to injury,” wrote Journal-Constitution visual arts critic Catherine Fox in a scathing review on Aug. 11, 1992. “After a week of wondering how Atlanta is going to match the Barcelona’s rich visual and historical character, we unveil our 1996 Olympic Games mascot, and we get… an embarrassing commercial-looking thing, aptly named Whatizit.”

“What is that is not is Atlanta,” Fox told readers.

Legend

John Ryan, pictured now, created the winning design for what became the 1996 Olympics mascot, Whatizit (later Izzy).

John Ryan, pictured now, created the winning design for what became the 1996 Olympics mascot, Whatizit (later Izzy).
callout arrowLegend

John Ryan, pictured now, created the winning design for what became the 1996 Olympics mascot, Whatizit (later Izzy).

READ THE ORIGINAL STORY HERE

To zoom into the story, click on the three bars at the top right. Then click on “Original document (PDF)”.

>> MORE NEWS ALREADY: Find out what we’ve already covered (and still have)

“The idea was to inspire the imagination,” Whatizit creator John Ryan told The Journal’s David Pendered, explaining how he created the morphing blue spot on his home computer. Based on responses to an AJC call-in requesting opinions on Ryan’s winning design, readers imagined the worst of Whatizit by a 3-to-1 margin and were inspired to see who could do the most creatively dispel the smiling anthropomorph… whatever.

“I know we’re in the South, but why do we have a cockroach as a mascot? Marietta’s Eric Schulman asked.

Atlanta’s Holly Beth Anderson was blunt in her assessment. “It looks like a worm,” she remarked. And Atlanta’s Max Clore was disappointed by what he saw as the failures of local Olympic organizers.

“I think if this is representative of what we’re going to expect from (the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games), we’re in big trouble,” he said.

callout arrowLegend

In the August 11, 1992, Journal, the man who created the Atlanta 1996 Summer Olympics mascot, Whatizit (aka “Izzy”), explained the thinking behind the little blue speck. AJC PRINT ARCHIVES

Credit: AJC Print Archives

In the Journal of August 11, 1992, the man who created the mascot for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Whatizit (alias "Izzy"), explained the thought behind the little blue spot.  AJC PRINT ARCHIVES

Credit: AJC Print Archives

callout arrowLegend

In the August 11, 1992, Journal, the man who created the Atlanta 1996 Summer Olympics mascot, Whatizit (aka “Izzy”), explained the thinking behind the little blue speck. AJC PRINT ARCHIVES

Credit: AJC Print Archives

Credit: AJC Print Archives

ACOG received more than 1,000 suggestions for mascots for the 1996 Games before finally selecting Whatizit, “the result of a national design competition won by an Atlanta company, DESIGNefx,” the reporter wrote. ‘AJC, Melissa Turner, in an August 1992 explainer detailing the origins of the blue blob. “Once Whatizit was selected in mid-May, it became the best-kept secret in Olympic history.”

Whatizit, who later went by the name “Izzy” in a mascot protection program, had fans among those who liked the unusual design, and the character was a hit with children. Another proponent was ACOG President Billy Payne, who championed the idea of ​​a non-traditional Olympic mascot. Meanwhile, Ryan has firmly and happily defended his creation, choosing to view the clamor on Whatizit in a positive light.

“It means to me that people are excited about it,” he told Journal readers in the Pendered interview. “People have fun with it, and I was just having fun listening to what people came up with to describe it.”

Ryan’s boss echoed the designer’s half-full vision, doubling down on the idea that even the negative responses to Whatizit meant Atlantans were keeping the smiling star-tailed character in mind.

“We kinda like that it’s controversial,” Charlie Willis, vice president of DESIGNefx, told AJC. “We think it will get a lot of attention.”

callout arrowLegend

August 1992 – AJC visual arts critic Catherine Fox didn’t mince words about Whatizit in her review of the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics mascot. AJC PRINT ARCHIVES

Credit: AJC Print Archives

August 1992 - AJC visual arts critic Catherine Fox didn't mince words about Whatizit in her review of the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics mascot. AJC PRINT ARCHIVES

Credit: AJC Print Archives

callout arrowLegend

August 1992 – AJC visual arts critic Catherine Fox didn’t mince words about Whatizit in her review of the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics mascot. AJC PRINT ARCHIVES

Credit: AJC Print Archives

Credit: AJC Print Archives


ABOUT ALREADY NEWS

In this series, we scour the AJC archives for the most interesting news from days gone by, show you the original front page, and update the story.

If you have a story you would like to research and feature in AJC Deja News, send an email with as much information as you know. E-mail: [email protected]. Use the subject line “AJC Deja News”.


Source link

Comments are closed.