Hang In There, Baby refers to a motivational poster of a cat hanging on to a bar captioned "Hang in there, baby." It has been widely imitated, parodied, and recognized as a relic from the 1970s. In the 2000s, it has come to serve as a symbol of corporate coldness.
The original "Hang In There, Baby" poster (shown below) was published in late 1971 by photographer Victor Baldwin. He got the shot of his Siamese cat, Sassy, in 1963, and published the image in a book called Outcast Kittens in 1970. He made the poster after choosing the caption "Hang in there, baby" in 1971.
After The Music Man composer Meredith Wilson purchased the first copy of the poster, demand quickly increased over the 1970s. People were drawn to the poster's inspirational message and wrote Baldwin describing how it helped them get through surgeries, accidents, and other tough periods in life.
During the 70s, dozens of imitators, bootlegs, and variations appeared with different cats and different texts, but the general idea of a cat hanging to a branch with text saying "hang in there" grew into a popular trend. Baldwin, who owned the copyright to the picture and poster, sued every imitator and won. It is now a collectible and considered one of the first motivational posters.
Pop Culture References
The popularity of the "Hang In There" cat has made it a ubiquitous reference in pop culture. It appeared in the Simpsons episode "The Twisted World of Marge Simpson," where Marge commented, "'Hang in there, baby!' You said it, kitty…Copyright 1968. Hmm, determined or not, that cat must be long dead." It also appeared in a Terminator film, on a Survivor episode, the 2003 film The Cat in the Hat, and more. In 1999, The Onion  posted a headline declaring the cat had died after hanging on the branch for 17 years.
"Hang In There, Baby" is cited as one of the more prominent precursors to LOLcats, and there are several LOLcat images devoted to a cat hanging off a tree branch. Pleated Jeans wrote a satirical article from the perspective of the Hang In There cat. Happyjar used it in a webcomic with its popular character Business Cat (shown below).
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