Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Oregon couple's accidental webcam video goes viral on YouTube

Bruce and Esther Huffman are shown at the computer that brought them unexpected fame when they accidentally made a webcam video.

Associated Press photos

Bruce and Esther Huffman are shown at the computer that brought them unexpected fame when they accidentally made a webcam video.

McMINNVILLE, Ore.

It slowly began to dawn on Esther and Bruce Huffman that perhaps they were being filmed.

"Warning," the gray-haired, bespectacled grandmother reads off the screen. "You must stop recording before trying to close cyber link."

Pause. "Maybe this recorded us," says the neatly coiffed, rosy-cheeked man next to her.

"Aw, gee," Esther replies.

The realization came toward the end of a nearly three-minute video that has launched the retired Oregon couple to YouTube stardom. They had unwittingly captured their first attempt at learning how to work the webcam on a new laptop.

The Huffmans met a couple of years after Bruce's first wife died, at the retirement complex in which they both lived. She liked his vivacity; he thought she would be a sturdy rudder to his boundless energy.

In the video, she plays the straight man as she tries to make a serious attempt at the request of their children and grandchildren. He's bouncing in his seat next to her, making monkey faces.

Esther had bought a laptop late this summer. Already a Facebook user, she was asked by her family to try recording videos for the amusement of the grandchildren.

In mid August, the couple sat in front of their laptop, fiddling with the controls of a video recording program. Somehow, they got the program running. Somehow, they pressed "record."

It was filming as Bruce jokingly fretted about his appearance. "I'm so sad, Esther, I'm so sad," Bruce says with a sad-clown expression. "Look at all the wrinkles up there and the cracks in my head."

There is singing.

"Hello my darling, hello my baby, hello my ga-doh-go," Bruce intones, sliding from Looney Tunes into gibberish. "Lala-te-ki-ka."

Bruce makes faces, leaning close to the laptop screen and blowing out his cheeks: "Now look at the monkey. That's a pretty good monkey!"

When the couple realizes the webcam might have been recording their antics, they stiffen. But their 21-year-old granddaughter, Mindy, saw the video's potential. With their permission, she uploaded the file, dubbing it "Webcam 101 for Seniors" (youtu.be/FcN08Tg3PWw). Days later, it was nearing 3 million views on YouTube. (The number has risen to more than 7 million views.)

In the crush of media that descended on them, the Huffmans struggle to explain what made the video so compelling. After all, it was just a couple minutes of two Oregonians in a retirement community doing . . . well, not much.

Perhaps, Esther said, people were attracted to its joy. We're under such a negative news barrage daily, she said. War, crime, natural disasters — wouldn't people rather watch an 86-year-old man singing Looney Tunes?

Lynette Paulson, Esther's daughter, ventured that the unmitigated happiness in the video resonates with viewers.

"They want to see that joy," Paulson said. "It just brings you up."

Or maybe, said 27-year-old grandson Luke Erickson, it shows the possibility that age doesn't mean infirmness or discontent, but that two spectacularly unself-conscious people eight decades on are capable of happiness and supporting and loving each other.

"I don't know how to do this," Esther complains in the video.

Bruce leans in to her.

"Whatever you do," he says, "you do fine."

On the Web

See the Huffmans on YouTube:

youtu.be/FcN08Tg3PWw

Oregon couple's accidental webcam video goes viral on YouTube 09/27/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 8:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Too much of education bill done ‘behind closed doors,’ GOP contender for governor says

    Blogs

    Republican candidate for governor Adam Putnam joined the chorus of critics of the Florida Legislature’s massive K-12 education bill that heavily favors charter schools over traditional public schools.

    2018 Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam and Gov. Rick Scott talk on the first day of the Legislature's annual session in March.
  2. John Morgan 'prepared to invest $100M' in medical marijuana

    State Roundup

    John Morgan spent nearly $7 million pushing two statewide ballot initiatives to expand medical marijuana throughout the state of Florida.

    Personal injury lawyer John Morgan says he's ready to invest $100 million in medical marijuana. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  3. Avalos gets life in prison for killing Bradenton neighbor, pastor

    Crime

    BRADENTON — A Florida man has been sentenced to life in prison for killing a neighbor and a local pastor.

    Andres "Andy" Avalos has been sentenced to life in prison for killing a neighbor and a local pastor. 

[File photo from Manatee County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Manchester police hunt for accomplices; Islamic State group claims responsibility for blast

    Public Safety

    MANCHESTER, England — Investigators hunted Tuesday for possible accomplices of the suicide bomber who attacked an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, killing 22 people and sparking a stampede of young concertgoers, some still wearing the American pop star's trademark kitten ears and holding pink balloons.

    Emergency services work at Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig in Manchester, England Monday, May 22, 2017. Several people have died following reports of an explosion Monday night at an Ariana Grande concert in northern England, police said. A representative said the singer was not injured.  [Peter Byrne | PA via AP]
  5. Why's Pam Bondi raising money? Not to run for office, she says.

    Blogs

    Term-limited Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi may have restarted her political fundraising, but she says she's not considering a run for another public office.

    Attorney General Pam Bondi