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"The plaque for Burbank was filed in May first, 1887, by Dave Burbank, a dentist from the East Coast who got a wild hair up his ass one day and said, 'I'm gonna go west and form a town', and indeed he did! End of story! That's it, that's all that happened... Burbank was all like, 'Hey do you mind if I, uh, form a town here?' 'Sure, go ahead!' The end!"

A universal trope, spotted as often in reality as it is in fiction. Our Founder is a statue of the Founder of the Kingdom... be they a brave pioneer who established a colony in the New World, a missionary traveling the land building communities for his faith, a conqueror on his way to fame and riches, or a big-shot mogul who struck Big Business and got a nice-size stone replica of himself for his efforts. These are often to be spotted at crossroads, communal plazas downtown, or at parks, with some nice benches with old ladies feeding pigeons on them.

A favorite of megalomaniacal despots with imperial aspirations and a very common decorative feature in places with villains that put their face on everything.

Examples of Our Founder include:


Advertising

  • Since the marketing campaign that reintroduced "Jack", the Jack in the Box clown, as "CEO" of Jack in the Box, all Jack in the Box locations have prominently displayed a ornately framed portrait of Jack, with the inscription, "Our Founder" at the bottom.


Anime & Manga

  • Kamina gets a statue at the heart of Kamina City at the halfway point of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. He didn't live long enough to found the city himself, but he was the inspiration to its actual founders.
  • Arle Heinessen, founder of the Free Planets Alliance has a huge statue of himself in the Legend of Galactic Heroes, towering over the capital, bearing a close resemblance to Rio de Janeiro's 'Christ the Redeemer'.


Comic Books

  • Cornelius Coot, the founder of Duckburg, Donald Duck and entourage's duck-inhabited home town, in the Carl Barks-penned issues of Walt Disney Comics. One instance had Uncle Scrooge McDuck and a foreign Raj competing to build the biggest one; it got to the point where you couldn't see the statues in their entirety from within the town borders.


Comic Strips


Films -- Animation

  • In Osmosis Jones, our founder is (what else?) a sperm cell.
  • A statue of Stanley Steamer in Cars. Or, it may not be a statue at all, but Stanley himself, bronzed.
  • At the end of The Ballad of the Daltons, a statue of the late Henry Dalton is seen next to the orphanage that was built thanks to his money. More specificaly, it's a statue of Henry Dalton on a horse and about to be hanged.


Films -- Live-Action

  • In The Film of the Book The Two Towers, there is a statue of Helm Hammerhand in Helm's Deep, though it is not named in the dialogue. It may be mentioned in the director's commentary, though. They don't directly name the statue, but his horn is explicitly named at least once.

 Theodin: The Horn of Helm Hammerhand shall sound in the deep, one last time!

  • There's a statue of the founder of the college in Animal House, complete with super-bland quote/motto "Knowledge Is Good".
  • Bill and Teds Excellent Adventure. There's a statue of Bill and Ted in The Future! In this case, they're not the actual founders of the future community. It was just totally enlightened by their radical "Be excellent to each other / Party on, dudes" philosophy.
  • The Joel Schumacher-directed installments of the 1980s / 1990s Batman film series has enormous statues of unspecified men (and, inexplicably, a replica of the Statue of Liberty) littered around Gotham City.
  • The first Fantastic Four movie begins with Reed and Ben visiting Victor Von Doom to get funding for Reed's experiment; the two pause to watch as a gigantic statue of Doom is being erected outside his offices.


Literature

  • The novel Who Plugged Roger Rabbit? has the "Toontown Telltale" headquarters, where a popular checkout-line tabloid is printed. The columns at the door are carved to resemble the paper's four Toon founders: Sleazy, Slimey, Dreck, and Profane. Let that be an indication of the contents of the paper.
  • Subverted in Diana Wynne Jones' Year of the Griffin, the statue of the wizard Policant actually turns out to be Policant, who apparently turned himself into a statue as part of a prophecy, to be revived in the titular Year of the Griffin.
  • Discworld
    • Alberto Malich, founder of Unseen University. When Malich returned from Death's country in Mort and destroyed his statue they believed the statue had come to life. When Malich went back the wizards recommended that the replacement statue be constructed in a very secure dungeon.
    • In Interesting Times, Rincewind finds a statue of One Sun Mirror, founder of the Agatean Empire, on a pedestal of gold in a lake of quicksilver beneath a huge artificial hill built by the Forbidden City. He notes the inscription on it, which simply says "One Sun Mirror". The implication being that no-one standing there could fail to know who that was.
  • Our Munsell in Shades of Grey.
  • The Edgar and Ellen book series features the town of Nod's Limbs. An incident regarding the statue erected to the town's founder is the reason the town (originally called Nod's Lands) bears its current name.


Live-Action TV

  • In a similar spirit, the statue of Jayne Cobb in Jaynestown on Firefly.
  • The Master did this, rather epically, in the series 3 finale of Doctor Who.
  • The offices of Leverage Consulting have an oil painting of "Hiram Leverage III" (actually an aged-up Nathan Ford).


Radio

  • In the radio version only of The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy, the 15-mile-high statue of Arthur Dent on the planet Brontitall. (He didn't found the society there, but he inadvertantly inspired them to alter their entire way of life.)


Tabletop Games

  • GURPS IOU has a statue in the middle of the "Pent" marked "Our Founder". Said statue is humanoid-shaped, but worn down with age, and has hints of tentacles on the face. Oh, and testing showed it to be older than the universe.


Theme Parks

  • That famous statue in Disneyland of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse.


Video Games

  • Epic Mickey has a replica of the Disneyland statue, but with Oswald the Rabbit instead of Mickey, as Oswald is Wasteland's ruler.
  • There's a statue of the protagonist of Shin Megami Tensei I in Shin Megami Tensei II.
  • Banjo-Kazooie has the evil villain Gruntilda, who rather likes to decorate things having to do with her with grand-scale depictions of herself. Her lair itself is shaped like her head, but the most Our Founder-esque example is the enormous statue of herself she keeps in a swamp, surrounded by a moat guarded by a giant piranha.
  • In many Super Mario Bros. platformers (and even some spin-offs such as Mario Kart), the world is littered with stone depictions of Big Bad Bowser. Most of them are actually in his castle, though, along with big portraits of him and doors carved in his image.
  • In Mother 3, New Pork City has a giant Porky statue which serves as a bonus boss.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
    • Two examples from Sonic CD are the Easter Egg at Wacky Workbench, and the giant statue at Stardust Speedway.
    • Act 2 of Panic Puppet Zone from 3D Blast revolves around climbing a path that surrounds an Eggman statue.
    • Sonic Unleashed has Eggman finally build Eggmanland and one of the first things Sonic sees is a giant gold Eggman statue in front of the gate.

 Sonic: I'll never understand Eggman's tastes.

  • In Chrono Trigger, Medina Village was founded by Ozzie after Magus lost the Fiend-Human War in 600 AD. His descendant is the town's mayor, and after you defeat Magus, they dance around Ozzie's statue (because Magus is no longer quite so inspiring). Defeat Ozzie, however, and all of this vanishes -- the fiends, without anyone to stir up antihuman resentment, founded the town themselves, and Ozzie's descendant is now a janitor. The change is reflected by the attitude of the townsfolk and the background music. Prior to defeating Ozzie, the townsfolk are hostile to outsiders, the music is dark and foreboding and creepy chanting fills the main square. After kicking Ozzie's ass, the townsfolk are friendly and the music is cheerful and upbeat sans chanting.


Web Comics


Western Animation

  • The Simpsons
    • Jebediah Obadiah Zachariah Jebidiah Springfield (Hans Sprongfeld), whose statue embiggens Springfield's main square.
    • Shelbyville also has a statue of their founder, Shelbyville Manhattan, along with two women, possibly his cousins.
    • One episode has a hospital erect a bronze statue of Homer after he gave them a gigantic donation. What they didn't realize is that it was Mr. Burns making the donation through Homer.
    • "Bart Vs. Australia" has an Australian museum with a giant statue of a Snake lookalike with the caption "Our First Prime Minister" (a reference to Australia having been used as a penal colony).
  • The Fairly Odd Parents: Dale Dimm, the mythical founder of Dimmsdale.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
    • The town from the episode "Avatar Day" has a statue of Chen the Great/the Conquerer, although that also doubles as a memorial, as it's almost on the spot he died.
    • Avatar Kyoshi also had one in her hometown, interestingly... as she was the one who killed the aforementioned Chen, creating Kyoshi Island in the process.
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • Republic City's harbor has a giant statue of Aang, the Avatar from the previous series, who founded United Republic alongside Zuko.
    • The city's police headquarters has a life-sized statue of Toph, who played a part in the force's organization and training.
    • Zuko also got a statue of himself in Central Station.
    • Cabbage Merchant gets a statue outside of Cabbage Corp.
  • Monster Buster Club: Addison Single, founder of Single Town. But that's no statue...
  • The city wherein Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends is set has Elwood P. Dowd, in a subtle and clever nod to the premise of the show. Of course, Foster's Home itself has a bust of Madam Foster, which Bloo promptly... busts.
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Jimmy's school has an Our Founder statue in front of it.
  • Whenever Mad Mod shows up in an episode of the Teen Titans animated series, you can be sure his likeness will soon get plastered over almost everything: busts, portraits, statues, posters, et cetera. He himself often (inexplicably) metamorphoses into strange alternate (and usually British pop culture-themed) designs, such as the Blue Meanie from Yellow Submarine and God from Monty Python and The Holy Grail. This counts as Our Founder because one time he used a grand-scale hypnotic trick to reclaim America in the name of Jolly Old England, proclaiming himself its first King.
  • Similar to the Bill and Teds Excellent Adventure example, Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi has an episode in which the girls are whisked away to the year 3000 and discover that all of society is now founded on their music. There is a skyscraper-sized statue of them in the futuristic city, featuring both of them back-to-back in a signature pose.
  • The sentient worms who infested Fry's bowel in the Futurama episode "Parasites Lost" have a statue of Fry in their city. Instead of "Our Founder", the pedestal read "The Known Universe".
  • In one episode of Aladdin, there is a celebration devoted to the founder of Agrabah, but no actual statue. It would have been Did Not Do the Research if there was one, of course, but that's hardly new for Aladdin, so we'll put it down as coincidental accuracy.


Real Life

  • Dave Burbank.
  • Many universities in Real Life have Our Founder statues as well.
    • Harvard famously has the Statue of Three Lies which reads: "John Harvard, Founder, 1638" (the statue isn't of John Harvard, John Harvard was a contributor not the founder, Harvard was founded in 1636)
    • Averted with Texas A&M University. The statue that receives all the attention is Lawrence Sullivan Ross, the man attributed with saving the university.
    • Also averted with the University of Maryland. The best-known statue on campus (apart from that of the mascot) is actually of one of the school's most famous alums.
  • University College London is an interesting one: its founder, Jeremy Bentham, had his body stuffed and donated it to the school so they could save on the expense of a statue to commemorate him. There used to be a tradition of wheeling it into faculty meetings and making a note on the minutes that Bentham attended but didn't vote on any motions.
  • Many countries do this for national heroes; Dublin's O'Connell Street has statues of Daniel O'Connell and Charles Stewart Parnell at each end.
  • Apparently every town and city in Britain was founded by either Queen Victoria, King Edward VII, or both.
  • William Penn looks down on Philadelphia from an impressive statue atop City Hall, at the center of the city's skyline.
  • McDonald's for years had brass plaques at the entrances with "Our Founder, Ray Kroc"; the McDonald brothers themselves getting short, if any mention.
  • Somewhere in Apple, Inc. headquarters is a framed Apple I motherboard with the caption "OUR FOUNDER".
  • Possibly the most infamous example, the statue of Saddam Hussein that was pushed over.
  • And yes, these are everywhere in North Korea.
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