Clerow “Flip” Wilson Jr. (December 8, 1933 – November 25, 1998) was an American comedian and actor, best known for his television appearances during the late 1960s and 1970s. In the early 1970s, Wilson hosted his own weekly variety series, The Flip Wilson Show. In January 1972, Time magazine featured Wilson’s image on its cover and named him “TV’s first black superstar”. According to The New York Times, Wilson was “the first black entertainer to be the host of a successful weekly variety show on network television.”
One of the comedian’s favorite characters was “Geraldine Jones” who was Flip’s female alter-ego. Her catchphrase of “What you see is what you get!” would become the inspiration for the computer-based graphic design we know today. According to the documentary Graphic Means the phrase was beloved by a frustrated designer who yearned for his work to be as visible as Mr. Wilson’s wig.