Illustration of a character standing on the edge of a black theater seat and clapping their hands on a pink background
The clapping man is part of San Francisco Chronicle’s Little Man, a rating system for movies, theater, TV and music. The Little Man was created by the Chronicle’s artist Warren Goodrich in 1942. Goodrich had a daily comic strip called Animal Crackers and a minor character from his comic strip was modified into the Little Man in response to a request from his editor. The rating system started with four Little Men used in lieu of a star rating system. The snoozing Little Man acted as lowest rating, followed by a starring Little Man, then a smiling Little Man, and finally a clapping Little Man as the highest rating the Chronicle would give. Later, editor Scott Newhall added an empty chair to the beginning of the lineup representing one star, implying the Little Man walked off in disgust, to match a five-star rating system.
Over the years the drawing of the Little Man’s nose, blushing cheeks and posture changed slightly but the drawings have always remained faithful to Mr. Goodrich's original vision. The Little Man rating system is still used today and is revered by the Chronicle’s readers.
Kleon, A. (2008, September 19). The Little Man . Retrieved from https://austinkleon.com/2008/09/19/the-little-man/.
Nachman, G. (2003, November 16). LITTLE MAN'S BLUSH IS BACK / THE LITTLE MAN HAS BEEN COPIED, STOLEN, ALTERED, PARODIED AND CRUCIFIED. OTHER NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES HAVE THEIR STARS, THEIR HATS, THEIR THUMBS, BUT THE LITTLE MAN TRUMPS THEM ALL. Retrieved from https://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/article/LITTLE-MAN-S-BLUSH-IS-BACK-THE-LITTLE-MAN-HAS-2548707.php.
Rubenstein, S. (2002, January 25). Warren Goodrich -- artist, creator of Little Man. Retrieved from https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Warren-Goodrich-artist-creator-of-Little-Man-2880219.php.