In early 2005, Ian Spector, then a high school student, did something many high schoolers did — he found himself a job. But in Spector’s case, he wasn’t working at the neighborhood drug store. Instead, he created his own job — his own company, in fact. Spector put together a web hosting company, and along the way, ended up operating a number of servers and collecting domain names.
That April, Spector was using an online message board where the participants were making fun of Vin Diesel and the decision to cast him in The Pacifier, by creating tongue-in-cheek “facts” about how incredible Diesel is. For example? “Vin Diesel has the ability to regenerate his kidneys at will, and as such has donated both of them to society. We know them today as Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel.” Spector took some of the choice one-liners and, using a spare domain name and some extra server space, published them and told the message board about his new website.
He woke up that morning to find 10,000 people had visited overnight. Quite literally, Spector had an overnight success on his hands. He looked to expand the franchise. Spector opened up the Vin Diesel site to the masses, allowing visitors to contribute their own faux facts. The site’s popularity grew, and Spector put up a poll: what celebrity should he target next? He suggested Lindsey Lohan, Samuel L. Jackson, or Dick Cheney, while allowing for a write-in option. One write-in option won, hands down: Chuck Norris.
And so, the (infamous?) Chuck Norris Fact Generator was born. Some examples:
The only reason the Energizer Bunny keeps going and going is because it knows Chuck Norris is after it.
After much debate, President Truman decided to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima rather than the alternative of sending Chuck Norris. His reasoning? It was more humane.
Chuck Norris has Braille writing on his boots so that even blind people will know what’s coming.
More success followed. Within a year, Spector was approached by a literary agent at the William Morris Agency, looking to turn some select facts into a book. By November of 2007, the first book, The Truth About Chuck Norris: 400 Facts About the World’s Greatest Humanhit bookstores. Everyone was happy. Everyone, except Chuck Norris’ people. They sued.
While Norris himself is on record saying that he was not offended by Spector’s content — and, in fact, found many of them funny — Team Chuck Norris argued (ridiculously) that the books would mislead people to believing that the “facts” were indeed true. But they did not prevail. The suit wrapped up in 2008, with terms not disclosed, and the book not only stayed on shelves, but it made the New York Times‘ best seller list. The book was so popular, in fact, that it had three sequels (totaling over 750,000 copies printed), all by Spector. Oh, and one other: by Norris himself.
Related reading: “The Good, the Bad, and the Deadly: The Chuck Norris Fact Thrillogy” by Ian Spector — the first three books. The first of the trio has four stars on 69 reviews, but the bundle saves you twelve bucks. (It’s a deal so great, even Chuck Norris is astounded.) Also available: the fourth book by Spector and, of course, the “official” version by Norris himself (and his ghostwriter).