Zaphod Beeblebrox

From Academic Kids

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Mark Wing-Davey as Zaphod Beeblebrox, from the TV adaptation.

da:Zaphod Beeblebrox fr:Zappy Bibicy sv:Zaphod Beeblebrox Zaphod Beeblebrox is a fictional character in the humorous science fiction radio series, books, computer game, television series, and movie The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

The character is described across all versions that he had two heads and three arms, though explanations of how he came to receive the extra appendages differed between versions. The original radio version never explained the second head, but Zaphod "grew" the third arm in the six months between meeting the character of Trillian on Earth, and the start of the series. The third radio series implies that he had a third arm whilst growing up - the fifth has him offer to Trillian that "I'd grow my third arm back for you, baby", when they first meet.

In the Infocom game version of the story, Zaphod blends in on Earth by hiding his second head in a covered bird cage. In the TV Series, Ford Prefect simply remarks to Zaphod that "the extra arm suit you." For the 2005 movie, it's hinted that Zaphod "created" the second head himself when shunting off the parts of his mind that were aware of the conspiracy to discover the actual Ruler of the Universe.

He invented the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, and is the only person able to drink more than three of them at one sitting. He was voted "Worst Dressed Sentient Being in the Known Universe" for seven years in a row. He's been described as "the best Bang since the Big One" and one hoopy frood. He is from a planet in the vicinity of Betelgeuse, and is a "semi-cousin" of Ford Prefect (with whom he 'shares three of the same mothers').

He was briefly the President of the Galaxy (a role that involves no power whatsoever, and merely requires the incumbent to attract attention so no-one wonders who's really in charge, which is a role Zaphod was perfectly suited for). He is the only man to have survived the Total Perspective Vortex, although it may only have been a replica of the real Vortex. Also, according to his private brain-care specialist, "Vell, Zaphod's just zis guy, ya know?" He used his position as President of the Galaxy to steal the Heart of Gold, a spaceship taking advantage of Infinite Improbability Drive, at its unveiling.

Throughout the story, Zaphod is busy carrying out some grand scheme, and has no clue as to what it is and is unable to do anything but follow the path that he laid out for himself. He was forced to section off the part of his brain that stored the plan so that scans of his mind, which would be necessary for him to become president, wouldn't reveal his plan, which included his being president of the galaxy. Zaphod is essentially the only main character still alive at the end of "Mostly Harmless".

In both the radio and television versions of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Zaphod was played by Mark Wing-Davey. The jokes about Zaphod having two heads and more than two arms were written for the original radio version, where the details could be filled in by the listener's imagination. In the television version Wing-Davey wore a false arm (when the arm was required to gesture it was replaced by the arm of Mike Felt, designer of the animatronic head, standing behind Wing-Davey) and a radio-controlled second head with an eyepatch. Unfortunately the second head's mechanics seldom worked properly and so for most of the time it just sits on his shoulder looking inanimate, although in one scene it manages to have a brief conversation with Wing-Davey's real head.

Zaphod is played by Sam Rockwell in the film version of the story that was released in April 2005. In that version, his second head is where a human's neck is and occasionally pops out to express the parts of his personality that are (as the main head puts it) "less than Presidental".

Zaphod Beeblebrox is also the name of a popular Byward Market nightclub in Ottawa, Canada. It is a venue for live bands to appear.

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