Which spin-offs are more famous than their founders?

I was just doing some reading about ancient Greece, and came across the fact that the Greek city Megara founded a colony named Byzantium. Yes, this is the city that went on to become Constantinople, the seat of the Byzantine empire and modern-day Istanbul. On the other hand, Megara has remained pretty obscure, except as the name of a Disney character, which doesn’t even count!

What other examples of spin-offs can you think of that went on to become far more famous than their founder?

The Simpsons.

Happy Days

To cite one of thousands of examples, Intel is far more famous than its progenitors, Fairchild Camera and Instrument, and the Shockley Semiconductor Corporation.

Windows started off as a shell for DOS, so it’s kind of a “spin off” in that sense.

The United States.

The Protestants.

Intel spun off from Fairchild spun off from Shockley Semiconductor. You could fill a book with with examples of this sort from tech companies.

I’m surprised that no one has mentioned Intel.

New York is probably a lot more famous than plain-old, ordinary York.


Also, gasoline.

I’m pretty sure this Meg is named after this Meg, which has always given a, um, more tragic flavor to the end of the movie to me.

This might be a stretch but The Simpsons originated as animated shorts shown on The Tracy Ullman Show, before getting their own animated show and becoming some of the most recognizable characters on the planet. Does anyone even remember TTUS?

However, Amsterdam remains more famous than Nieuw Amsterdam. Weird, huh?

The Andy Griffith Show, spun off from The Danny Thomas Show/Make Room for Daddy

Billy Jack and its sequels, spun off from Born Losers

The Avengers, the British TV series staring Patrick MacNee and (at various times) Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg, and other folks, which spun off a reportedly forgettable and realistic cop show called Police Surgeon.

Popeye, the comic strip, later popular cartoon and big syndicatioon hit that starred what was originally a minor character in Elzie C. Segar’s Thimble Theater. The stars of TT at the time were the membrer of the Oyl family – father Cole Oyl, brother Castor Oyl, the much-later-named mother Nana Oyl and daughter Olive Oyl. Olive’s boyfriend at the time was Ham Gravy. If they didn’t have to hire a boat and a sailor at one point in their adventures, would anyone remember them today?

Snuffy Smith. The comic strip is still hanging in there, but few remember Barney Google (who does show up every decade or so).

Porky Pig was supposed to be a one-shot joke in a cartoon whose major character was Beans the Cat.

Sort of a spin-off: Baretta with Robert Blake was developed from Toma, whose star, Tony Musante, quit after one season; when the show was renewed, Blake was brought on.

I also don’t recognize Nieuw Amsterdam. Did they change its name? Why?

People just liked it better that way.

I don’t know if it counts as a spin-off, but “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” is a cover. The original was recorded by The Four Lads in 1953.

Jesus Christ was sort of a spin-off of John the Baptist, and Jesus is definitely more famous than John.