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Lili (1953)

Published: February 22, 2013

Movie poster for the film Lili.

Starring Mel Ferrer, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Jean-Pierre Aumont, and Leslie Caron as “Lili,” this admittedly strange musical—about a man who can only express himself through his puppets and a runaway French girl who sees nothing abnormal about talking to them as if they’re real people—was based on Paul Gallico’s short story “The Man Who Hated People,” published by the Post on October 28, 1950.

The movie was nominated for a Golden Globe, two BAFTAs, and six Oscars, including an Academy win for Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture. It earned a four-star rating from TCM’s Leonard Maltin, and in 2004 The New York Times included Lili in their Guide to the Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made.

Perhaps more accomplished is the fact that the first known appearance of the “smiley” emoticon occurred on March 10, 1953 in an ad for the movie that was placed in the New York Herald Tribune. It read: “Today You’ll laugh :-) You’ll cry :-( You’ll love <3 ‘Lili’.”

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