YouTube can be the window to a city's soul. What content our residents (and in some cases elected officials) generate that spreads out to the rest of the world can define who we are in their eyes. Here are ten videos that show us at our best and at our worst that truly broke out and became viral sensations.
Paul Bell and Taylor Swift Thomas Jung took Taylor Swift's recent hit "Shake It Off" and perfectly synced it to a 1989 aerobic dance competition video that netted hundreds of thousands of views. The competition was in California, but Click2Houston figured out that one of the dancers in the hilarious vid was a Houston man named Paul Bell and tracked him down for an interview. Good thing, too, because the copyright bots at the Universal Music Group blocked the video and scrubbed it from YouTube. You can still find it if you look, but we won't link to it so as to hopefully not alert the cyberpolice. Instead, you can view Bell still showing off his dance moves in the Click2Houston coverage.
Creepy Burglar Stares at Sleeping Infant Somewhat less fun a viral video is this one that was released by the Harris County Sheriff's Office. It was taken from a homeowner's surveillance camera, and showed a burglar from April of this year stalking through their home and watching their baby while the family slept. The HCSO asked for help identifying the suspect as the video racked up views, and also used it to promote their app for reporting suspicious characters, iWatchHarrisCounty.
HFD to HPD...Will You Marry Me? Houston firefighter Jesse Gonzales decided the time was right to pop the question to his girlfriend, Olga Peck of the Houston Police Department. So he staged a fake fire in a house in an area where Peck was patrolling. When she arrived to assist the HFD, Gonzales walked out of a smoke-filled garage (smoke machine, don't worry) with Bruno Mars's "Marry Me" playing at top volume. He proceeded to get down on one knee and offer her a ring, and the ploaded video racked up more than half a million views on YouTube.
Beatdown at Chacho's It wasn't one of Houston's finer moments, that's for sure. Two women entered Chacho's and ordered margaritas, eventually asking for a to-go cup. Told that they could not take an alcoholic beverage out of the restaurant, they grew irate and asked for their money back. The interaction escalated until a manager tried to physically move one of the women away from the counter and a brawl ensued. The cell phone video of the incident was uploaded to YouTube and quickly went viral. Three Chacho's employees lost their jobs over the incident.
Ault Elementary Lets it Go Odds are you've heard the hit single from Disney's Frozen so many times that scientists from the distant future will be able to clone the song from our embedded DNA. Open your ears to one more rendition, though. The administrators at Ault Elementary managed to score a minor viral sensation with their parody meant to prepare for the STAAR test. Apparently it struck just the right tone.
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Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Dad On of Houston's most widely-seen viral videos was the work of Houston father Daniel Garcia. Inspired by the movie Big Daddy, he dressed up as Spider-man in order to surprise his young son Oliver. The boy was suited up in Spidey's iconic red and blue costume, and the two proceeded to have the time of their live at a local trampoline park. Currently, this heartwarming videos tops more than 10 million views.
Evil Woman Steals Ball From Little Girl In 2011 the Astros were hosting the Diamondbacks for a game at Minute Maid Park. Juan Miranda of the Arizona team decided to toss a baseball to a young, blond girl in the stands. She caught it (barely), only to have it snatched out of her hands by an adult women who then high-fived her friends. The video spread widely through YouTube over several years in spikes consisting of millions of hits.
Second Baptist Flash Mob The Second Baptist Church in Houston is the single largest Baptist church in the country, with a membership so high in number it could be a small city in its own right. They took over Discovery Green in 2011 for a massive flash mob dance routine that was simply epic in scope. The YouTube video posted from the event netted nearly two million hits. It's the sort of thing you want to show the makers of God's Not Dead to try and show them what happens when you spend your time dancing instead of calling people hateful jerks.
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Run. Hide. Fight. In the wake of the theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado the Houston Mayor's Office and Ready Texas produced a five-minute video on how to act in the event of an active shooter situation. It's very basic stuff that nonetheless could save your life, and reached millions of people via YouTube. Run if you can, hide if you can't, fight if at all else fails, and when first responders show up keep your hands visible so you don't get accidentally shot. In the world we live in today, it's something that everyone should see.
Oh, near the beginning the camera lingers on a sign prohibiting concealed weapons on the site where the shooting was staged. Also, the comments for the video were disabled, so Allah be praised for small mercies.
And of Course... Juan Carlos Our own famous Montrose Rollerblade Dancer Juan Carlos is one of the most beloved figures in the whole city. Most days you'll find him at Montrose and Allen Parkway dancing his heart out while wearing rollerblades. Several videos of him racked up thousands and thousands of views, turning him into a viral sensation. He was even invited to perform on America's Got Talent, making it to the quarterfinals in Season 9. That may have been his 15 minutes of national fame, but here in H-Town we're glad someone just got to see one of our city's most whimsical treasures when he burst on YouTube.