Today's Google Doodle Is My Favorite in a Long Time

By James Fallows

I don't know who at Google had the wit to think that the 93rd birthday (?) of the late Saul Bass (??) was an occasion calling for celebration via a "Doodle" -- a one-day tribute on the home page. 


But whoever that person was, was right. The click-to-play montage of Bass's classic movie-title sequences that now occupies Google's home page is sublime, especially as set to Dave Brubeck's Unsquare Dance.* Anyone who knows the movies of what we now consider the Mad Men era will recognize the visual references, including Psycho, Spartacus, West Side Story, North by NorthwestAnatomy of a Murder (source of the initial static shot below, which opens and closes the number), and more:


It's worth recognizing small touches of elegance that shine out from the chaos and dross that often surround us. The execution of this Doodle is such a touch. I had not realized that just one person had been responsible for so many of the design elements that played a large part in setting the style of an era, let alone been aware that the person was Saul Bass. Now I do know, thanks to whoever thought up and produced this feature. I am glad, too, that the powers that be at Google** have decided an ongoing investment in Doodles, and an allowance for their quirkiness, is worthwhile. 
_
* Brubeck's Take Five is so universally known that its 5/4 time signature now seems almost normal. The less-well-known Unsquare Dance is written in much-less-familiar-sounding 7/4 time.

** Routine disclosure: many of my friends work at Google, as does one of my sons.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/05/todays-google-doodle-is-my-favorite-in-a-long-time/275678/