Novelist and children's writer Johanna Spyri was born Johanna Louise Heusser on this day in 1829 in Hirzel, Switzerland. She died on July 7, 1901 in Zurich.
Although Heidi (1880-1, in 2 parts), is considered to be one of Switzerland's best loved pieces of literature, her appeal has lost some its luster over the years. A TV adaptation of Heidi starring Maximilian Schell became the infamous focal point of a network TV gaffe on November 17, 1968 when, with 50 seconds to go in a football game between the Oakland Raiders and the New York Jets, NBC cut away from the game to its previously scheduled broadcast of Heidi; in less than 48 seconds, the Raiders came back from a 3-point deficit, scoring 2 touchdowns to beat the Jets 43-32. While Heidi crawled across a mountainside to reach her grandfather, an NBC message crawled beneath her across the screen announcing the result of the game. Outraged fans deluged the NBC switchboard with complaints, causing the NFL to include a "whole game" clause in future TV contracts.
The "Heidi Bowl" aside, a more recent film interpretation of Heidi by Markus Imboden (2001) depicts Heidi as an alienated modern latchkey kid, sending text messages and emails back and forth to her pal Peter and his friends at a Berlin cybercafe. Future Heidis will no doubt have all the web-enabled tools necessary to determine the final score of any NFL game.
Categories: Books, Literature, TV, Sport