5 hidden facts about Where's Waldo

In 1987, Walker Books published its first edition in the U.K., titled Where's Wally? The book sparked a global phenomenon, saving Waldo a spot in pop culture for the past 30 years.

From celebrity editions to movie adaptations, 5 things about the 30-year-old franchise.

The NS privacy commissioner says privacy officers are hard to find. (Where's Waldo)

Where's Waldo? has kept people around the world entertained for decades. In 1987, Walker Books published its first edition in the U.K., titled Where's Wally? The book sparked a global phenomenon, saving Waldo a spot in pop culture for the past 30 years.

The books have since been adapted for television, video games, a quarterly magazine, Halloween costumes, comic strips — and the list doesn't stop there.

This year, Where's Waldo? turns 30, and to celebrate we've gathered five hidden facts about the franchise that started with a dopey character in red and white stripes.

1. Waldo goes by many names

Waldo, as we know him in North America, is known by different names around the world. International publishers decided to change the name to localize the book and make the character more familiar. Here is a list of names Waldo goes by in the languages of various countries:

U.K.: Wally
France: Charlie
Bulgaria: Uoli
Croatia: Jura
Denmark: Holger
Iceland: Valli
Norway: Willy

2. Ireland is a hotbed of Waldo fandom

In 2011, a crowd of 3,872 people gathered in Dublin, Ireland, all dressed as Waldo — setting the world record for the largest group of people dressed as the famous character. The previous record was set in 2009 when 1,052 people gathered in New Brunswick, N.J., all dressed as Waldo.

3. Celebrity Waldo spin-offs are rampant

There have been a number of celebrity adaptations of the Where's Waldo? concept. Where's Karl? encourages readers to find fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, while Sugoi Books has a 40-page hardcover Finding Beyoncé.

A Fashion parody of the Where's Waldo chain stars designer Karl Lagerfeld. (Whereskarlthebook.com)

4. Waldo is shrinking

There are seven official books in the Where's Waldo? series. From the first book published in 1987 to the latest 2009 installment, the size of Waldo has shrunk by about 80 per cent, according to calculations done by Slate. In the first book, Waldo measures in at one square centimetre; by the seventh book, Waldo is only 0.2 square centimetres. It is thought that the illustrator, Martin Handford, shrunk the character to make him harder to find.

5. And yet he's headed for the big screen

Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the Canadian duo behind Superbad, Pineapple Express, and Sausage Party, are in talks with MGM to produce a live-action movie adaptation of Where's Waldo?

Bonus: David "Ben" Bennett has shared with us one of the original sketches of his character Wally. The illustrator, Martin Handford, sent it to him on a Christmas card in 1987. Check it out below.

An original sketch of Waldo from the illustrator Martin Handford. (David “Ben” Bennett )

— Vanessa Nigro, q staff