Hang in There Cat: The story behind the iconic poster

Hang in There Cat was originally a Siamese cat named Sassy, featured in a motivational poster along with the catchphrase: Hang in There, Baby.

Victor Baldwin, a photographer based in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, created the original poster featuring his cat Sassy in 1971. It showed Sassy hanging by the paws from a horizontal bamboo pole.

After it became popular in the 1970s, other people created imitations and different versions of the original photograph.

The imitations featured other cats suspended by the paws.

Following the advent of the internet, the poster became a popular internet meme.

Baldwin created pet portraits

Baldwin ran a photography studio in Beverly Hills during the 1960s and 1970s. The studio specialized in producing photographic portraits.

He had many celebrity clients, including Hollywood stars, such as the singers Frank Sinatra and Samuel George Davis Jr.

Baldwin was also interested in pet photography. He created pet portraitures for magazines such as Cat Fancy and Dog Fancy, including those featuring his Siamese cats, Sassy, Simmy, and others.

Sassy featured in the original ‘Hang in There, Baby’ photo

Baldwin co-authored multiple booklets with his wife, Jeanne.

The booklets included Little Kitten, Big World (1956) and The Outcast Kitten (1970). They featured photos of Sassy, Simmy, and other Siamese cats the couple shared.

Baldwin first created the “Hang in There, Baby” portrait featuring Sassy in 1963.

The black and white photo showed Sassy seemingly hanging by its paws in a chin-up posture on a bamboo pole. He eventually featured it as an illustration in his book The Outcast Kitten (1970).

He also featured it on the cover of the book.

Victor Baldwin created the original “Hang in there, baby” poster featuring his Siamese cat Sassy. Pic credit: Victor Baldwin via Wikimedia Commons

Baldwin created a poster in response to popular demand

The photo proved popular with readers of The Outcast Kitten, a story about a kitten named Wiki seeking an adoptive home. Some of his readers requested copies of the photo.

The photo was also one of Baldwin’s favorites, and he used it to promote subscriptions to the Cat Fancy magazine.

The popularity of the photo inspired him to publish it as a poster in 1971 with the caption: Hang in There, Baby.

Hang in There, Baby posters became popular in the 1970s

Meredith Wilson, the composer of The Music Man, was one of the first to buy Baldwin’s Hang in There, Baby poster featuring the Siamese cat Sassy.

Demand grew after he published it in 1991. It soon became a top-selling poster in the country.

The poster’s popularity rested primarily on the motivational message. Many buyers said the message helped them overcome difficult times.

It had sold more than 350,000 copies by 1973.

Copies, imitations, and various versions of the poster created by small and big publishers soon flooded the market.

Baldwin instituted multiple successful copyright infringement lawsuits.

Hang in There, Baby as a popular catchphrase

People have used the catchphrase (“Hang in There, Baby”) in everyday conversation since the 1970s when the poster first became popular.

It was also frequently referenced in pop culture, including TV shows and movies.

The Simpsons, Season 8, Episode 11, titled The Twisted World of Marge Simpson, which aired on January 19, 1997, referenced the popular catchphrase.

Different versions have appeared as internet memes since the 2000s. Versions of the photo and the catchphrase have also featured in LOLcat memes.

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