The biggest Czech who never existed – Jára Cimrman
The fact that Czechs have a specific sense of humour is no secret. This also applies to Jára Cimrman. This person is considered to be part of Czech intellectual humour. So who is it?
Genius and all-rounder. Jára Cimrman presented the Panama Canal project to the US government, including a libretto of the same name. He reformed Galician education. He founded a puppet theater in Paraguay and a criminology, music and ballet school in Vienna. He invented yogurt. He also discovered a CD (Cimrman’s Disc) rediscovered in 1979 and called a compact disc. But Cimrman used organic beeswax instead of today’s polycarbonate. Other inventions: two piece swimsuit, full milk, the principle of the Internet and many others. Jára Cimrman won the highest number of votes in the nationwide poll The Greatest Czech (2005). And, most importantly, he never really existed.
I guess your reaction can now be “What?”. Yes, it is a little bit confusing. How can anyone who does not exist at all win in a national poll for the Greatest Czech? And I have not mentioned another facts, for example, that Jara Cimrman is the author of several plays, there is a documentary movie about his life and work or that there is Jara Cimrman Theater.
How is this even possible? It is the result of the sense of humour of two masters – Jiří Šebánek and Zdeněk Svěrák. The character of the universal Czech genius first appeared in 1966 in the radio program Vinárna U Pavouka in the Czechoslovak Radio, as a driver of the steam war and sculptor. In the same year, however, the whole Jára Cimrman Theater was founded by the authors and other collaborators. The surname Cimrman was invented by Jiří Šebánek according to Chomutov hockey player Otto Cimrman, whose name he heard in radio and liked it. The first name “Jara” was delivered to inspire the appearance of art.
Also, the biography of this fictional character is detailed. Before plays in the Jára Cimrman Theater, the actors performed in the role of scientists and gave lectures to the audience about the life of this genius.
Also interesting is the fact that even these days, some Czechs are still uncertain whether Cimrman ever existed and does not know that it is a mere fictional character.
You can still visit the games of this greatest Czech in his theater, which is located in in Prague!