Time magazine has named its Person of the Year, and that reminds us that we need to announce our equivalent award.
We would call it Person of the Year, too, but our winner isn't a person; he's a dog. Our winner is a guy, though, so we will call him Man of the Year.
His name is Clark Griswold, and he's a Dutch shepherd mix who lives with his humans in Elbert County, Colorado. Possibly without his knowledge, Clark has become an Internet sensation, bringing joy and laughter to the 81,863,350 people (at last count) who have viewed the "Ultimate Dog Tease" video on YouTube.
For accuracy's sake, we should note that 81.86 million individuals probably have not viewed the video. We feel certain that many have watched it more than once. Heck, I've watched it about 50 times myself--and I still LOL every time.
Anyone who can bring that much joy to the world, especially in a sucky year like 2011, deserves our admiration and gratitude. That's why Clark Griswold is our Man of the Year--and it's why we wanted to share the back story of the Talking Dog Video That Went Viral.
First, let's view the video. It's 1:21 of sheer brilliance. It's funny, clever, touching, insightful . . . well, the list of adjectives goes on. Every word is perfectly written, the voices couldn't be better, its timing is impeccable, the set-up is stunningly creative (and simple). It's like the perfect little song that will live forever--sort of the "Surfer Girl" of videos. I don't think it's an overstatement to call this a masterpiece. Let's take a look:
I love this video so much that "What was in there?" "The maple kind?" and "Covered it with what?" have become catch-all questions for any occasion in our household.
Mrs. Schnauzer: I went to the grocery store . . .
Me: What was in there?
Mrs. Schnauzer: and I bought some cereal . . .
Me: The maple kind?
Mrs. Schnauzer: and I brought it home, opened the box, poured the cereal in a bowl, and . . .
Me: Covered it with what?
At that point, the bowl goes flying past my head. But it's worth it every time.
How did the greatest video in the history of the Internet come to be? A lot of moving parts had to fall into place. Clark, who is now about two years old, was adopted from a shelter at Colorado Puppy Rescue. His family quickly learned that he liked to "talk," looking at them and moving his mouth, with all sorts of doggy sounds coming out. They took a video of Clark "talking," and a family friend sent it to Andrew Grantham, a voiceover producer who lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Here is a story from a Colorado TV station about Clark's trip to fame:
Grantham proved to be the genius who could make Clark a star. You might say he's Clark's Phil Spector. It all was sort of a happy accident. From The Hamilton Spectator:
Grantham let the Star in on a little secret about the Clark video: He wasn’t planning to make a video the night he came across it. Grantham was just sorting through some of the videos pet owners had submitted. Then he saw Clark.
“I just picked it out and thought, ‘I want to play with this one today,’ and within a couple of hours, that one was done,” he says from Halifax.
Grantham imagined a story where a hungry man--"Food: You know, I just couldn't stop thinking about it"--engages his dog in a conversation about bacon ("the maple kind"), juicy steaks, and chicken covered with cheese and cat treats. Each time the dog thinks he is going to reach gastronomic heaven, someone else winds up with the prize.
It's kind of like life itself. Maybe that's why so many people identify with poor Clark. He's the lovable, noble, gullible guy who never quite gets what his heart desires.
Real life, however, has turned out pretty well for Clark, post video. He has his own Facebook page, with a burgeoning fan base. He and his humans have signed a number of endorsement contracts, and commercials that feature Clark are in the works.
To fully appreciate Grantham's creation, you have to watch the original raw video of Clark, followed by the voiceover version. I keep asking myself, "How did this guy in Canada take that raw footage and imagine a way to turn it into a classic that will last forever?"
Our hats are off to Clark Griswold, Andrew Grantham, and everyone who brought the Ultimate Dog Tease video to life. Here is the original video that Grantham turned into an Internet sensation. Talk about divine inspiration. Enjoy: