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Chuck Norris became an Internet sensation when late night host Conan O'Brien featured clips from "Walker, Texas Ranger" on his show. (© Cannon / courtesy Everett Collection)

Ten Unforgettable Web Memes

Cats and failures highlight this list of the memes that have gone mainstream. Which ones did we miss?

Chuck Norris Facts (2004)

Chuck Norris Facts
(© Cannon / courtesy Everett Collection)
After NBC bought Universal in early 2004, late night host Conan O’Brien realized he could play clips from “Walker, Texas Ranger” without having to pay royalties, since the show aired on the Universal-owned USA Network. The comedian would pull a lever near his desk, cuing one outlandish Chuck Norris clip after another. When you see Walker taste some dirt off the ground and announce that a plane had crashed in that spot, it seems like less of a cognitive leap to get to the “facts” about Chuck Norris’s super human. In 2005, Ian Spector, then a student at Brown University, created the first site devoted to Chuck Norris facts, and others have sprung up since. Some personal favorites among the facts include “Chuck Norris counted to infinity—twice” and “When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.” The actor and martial arts master is a good sport about it. “To say I’m surprised is an understatement. I take it as a compliment,” he told Time magazine in 2006. -- MG

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