42 years on: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The first radio episode of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy broadcast at 10:30 pm on Wednesday, 8 March 1978 – 42 years ago this week.

“You live and learn. At any rate, you live.”

– Douglas Adams

The radio series was narrated by comedy actor Peter Jones as The Book. Jones was cast after a three-month-long casting search and after at least three actors (including Michael Palin) had turned down the role. A comedy science fiction series created by Douglas Adams, A Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was originally written as a radio comedy and was subsequently adapted into a novel and other formats.

The story follows the misadventures of the last surviving man, Arthur Dent, after the Earth has been demolished by a Vogon constructor fleet to make way for a hyperspace bypass. Dent is rescued from Earth’s destruction by Ford Prefect—a human-like alien writer for the eccentric, electronic travel guide for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy—by hitchhiking onto a passing Vogon spacecraft. Following his rescue, Dent explores the galaxy with Prefect and encounters Trillian, another human who had been taken from Earth (prior to its destruction) by the two-headed President of the Galaxy Zaphod Beeblebrox and the depressed Marvin, the Paranoid Android.

42, or The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything

In the works, the number 42 is given as The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything by the computer Deep Thought. The absurdly simple answer to a complex philosophical question became a frequent reference in popular culture in homage to The Hitchhiker’s Guide.

More Quotes by Douglas Adams

“It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.”

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”

“What I need… is a strong drink and a peer group.”

“Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.”

“The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it which the merely improbable lacks.”

Check out this great article on the BBC for 42 Douglas Adams quotes to live by.

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