The 101 Most Influential People who Never Lived: who would be on your list?

Well I have two things off my plate; I finished my Shakespeare final paper and finished a book!
I had to compare John Madden’s 1998 film Shakespeare in Love and his use of gender identity with Shakespeare’s use of the same theme. I wrote it last night in record time (two hours) and edited it tonight. Now it is off to my instructor. If you have not yet seen the film (this week was my first viewing of it) I highly recommend it. It is funny, well acted and tragic. All the things you would expect from the Bard himself.
I finished a light book titled The 101 Most Influential People who Never Lived. This book had been on my wish list for a few years. I had it on my Paperback Swap wish list and a couple of weeks ago it finally arrived. I want my credit back!
This book as the title suggests is a list of influential fictional characters and the whys and hows of their popularity. The book covers myths, film, books, theater, TV, obvious fictional characters like Mickey Mouse and a few other odd categories. The authors do place “interludes” though out the book explaining how they came to their choices and the making of the book. I found this to be self serving and a distraction. They could have just as easily wrote all of this in an intro or afterwards.
The book starts out entertaining enough, there is humor and insight in the section on myths. My favorite story is of Hercules. His story, told in the first person relays the tasks he must undertake for killing his family. He is whining about it but understands his fate. His last line, after being made a god had me laughing out loud: “Free at last, thank Zeus, almighty, I am free at last”.  I had high hopes for the rest of the book, unfortunately the rest of the stories fell flat and towards the end, the authors gave up on humor and concentrated on trying to sound scholarly. This did really work either as they offered no stunning insight into why some characters stay with us and some of their picks are dated. I am sure many young college students today would look at us in confusion when told Citizan Kane is the very best of filmmaking and would say “who” when being told about Charlie Chaplin. Over all I felt this book was more of a light look into some classic fictional characters rather than a look into which are most influential.  Just for fun here is the list. Which do you think should have been omitted and more importantly who would be on your list?
1. The Marlboro Man
2. Big Brother
3. King Arthur
4. Santa Claus (St. Nick)
5. Hamlet
6. Dr. Frankenstein’s Monster
7. Siegfried
8. Sherlock Holmes
9. Romeo and Juliet
10. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
11. Uncle Tom
12. Robin Hood
13. Jim Crow
14. Oedipus
15. Lady Chatterly
16. Ebenezer Scrooge
17. Don Quixote
18. Mickey Mouse
19. The American Cowboy
20. Prince Charming
21. Smokey Bear
22. Robinson Crusoe
23. Apollo and Dionysus
24. Odysseus
25. Nora Helmer
26. Cinderella
27. Shylock
28. Rosie the Riveter
29. Midas
30. Hester Prynne
31. The Little Engine That Could
32. Archie Bunker
33. Dracula
34. Alice in Wonderland
35. Citizen Kane
36. Faust
37. Figaro
38. Godzilla
39. Mary Richards
40. Don Juan
41. Bambi
42. William Tell
43. Barbie
44. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
45. Venus and Cupid
46. Prometheus
47. Pandora
48. G. I. Joe
49. Tarzan
50. Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock
51. James Bond 
52. Hansel and Gretel 
53. Captain Ahab 
54. Rick Blaine 
55. Ugly Duckling 
56. Loch Ness Monster (Nessie) 
57. Atticus Finch 
58. Valentine (St) 
59. Helen (of Troy) 
60. Batman 
61. Uncle Sam 
62. Nancy Drew 
63. J. R. Ewing 
64. Superman 
65. Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn 
66. HAL 9000 (2001: A Space Odyssey) 
67. Kermit the Frog 
68. Sam Spade 

Author: sarij

I'm a writer, lifelong bibliophile ,and researcher. I hold a Bachelors in Humanities & History and a Master's in Humanities. When I'm not reading or talking about Shakespeare or history, you can usually find me in the garden discussing science or politics with my cat.

3 thoughts on “The 101 Most Influential People who Never Lived: who would be on your list?”

  1. Congratulations on getting that paper done, Sari!That's quite a list! Some names I haven't even heard of; so much for being the most influential. 🙂 I'm sorry the book wasn't better. At least it makes for a great discussion topic!


  2. I hate it when I've had a book on my wish list or TBR for a long time and it looks so so good and then falls a little or a lot flat.But, I will say. I love Kermit The Frog.


  3. Never heard of this book, but – aside from the gratuitous meanderings of the authors (self-serving was well-put, and I know what you mean, we've seen the same in other compendiums) – I'd love to read it.Hmmm… would definitely KEEP on the list Frankenstein's monster as an example of compassion for a newly developed conscious creature, and a mirror for all of us to reflect in.I would probably omit Prometheus on the grounds that the myth perpetuates the idea of eternal punishment as the just dessert for man's (or a Titan's lol) courageous efforts to advance himself. Wonderful list, BTW 😀


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