A smiley, a.k.a. happy face, (☺/☻) is a stylized representation of a smiling human face, commonly represented as a yellow (many other colors are also used) circle (or sphere) with two black dots representing eyes and a black half circle representing the mouth. “Smiley” is also sometimes used as a generic term for any emoticon.
The variant spelling "smilie" is not as common, but the plural form "smilies" (the plural of "smily", not "smiley") is commonly used.
The first Unhappy face recorded on film can be seen in Ingmar Bergman's 1948 film "Hamnstad" . Later on, in 1953 and 1958, the happy face was used in promotional campaigns for motion pictures 'Lili' and 'Gigi', respectively.
The Happy face was first introduced to popular culture in 1958 when the WMCA radio station in New York ran a competition for the most popular radio show at the time, 'Cousin Brucie'. Listeners who answered their phone 'WMCA Good Guys!', were rewarded with a 'Good Guys!' sweatshirt that incorporated a Happy face into its design. Thousands of these sweatshirts were given away during the late 1950's, and soon after, Harvey Ball, an American commercial artist, was employed by an advertising company to create a happy face to be used on buttons.
In 1972, Franklin Loufrani introduced the happy face to a European audience, giving it the name [Smiley]. On January 1st the 'take the time to smiley' was promotion was launched in French newspaper 'France Soir'. The Smiley logo was used to highlight all good news so people could choose to read positive and uplifting articles.
The graphic was popularized in the early 1970s by Philadelphia brothers Bernard and Murray Spain, who seized upon it in September 1970 in a campaign to sell novelty items. The two produced buttons as well as coffee mugs, t-shirts, bumper stickers and many other items emblazoned with the symbol and the phrase "Have a happy day" (devised by Gyula Bogar) which mutated into "have a nice day". Working with New York button manufacturer NG Slater, some 50 million happy face badges were produced by 1972.
In the 1970s, the happy face (and the accompanying 'have a nice day' mantra) is also said to have become a zombifying hollow sentiment, emblematic of Richard Nixon-era America and the passing from the optimism of the Summer of Love into the more cynical decade that followed. This motif is evidenced in the era of paranoid soul such as "Smiling Faces Sometimes" (released by The Temptations in April 1971, and by The Undisputed Truth in July 1971), "I'll Take You There" (The Staples Singers, 1972), "Don't Call Me Brother" (The O'Jays, 1973), "Back Stabbers" (The O'Jays), and "You Caught Me Smilin'" (Sly and the Family Stone, 1971). The origins of this was parodied in a famous scene from the movie Forrest Gump when Forrest is on his multiple jogs across America, and wipes his face on a T shirt given him by a struggling salesman, and on the shirt, as if transferred there by Forrest's face, reminiscent of the Shroud of Turin, is the image of the happy face, whereupon the man gets his idea. The happy face was also seen on a van in a scene from Mork and Mindy, the van driven by men who kidnap them.
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