Speed Reads

Who was that masked man?

The identity behind the internet's favorite dancing pumpkin is finally revealed

The identity behind the internet's favorite dancing pumpkin is finally revealed

Every year, much like the Great Pumpkin, it resurfaces on the web: a video, under two minutes, of a man in a black body suit and a pumpkin mask dancing to the Ghostbusters theme song. Originally uploaded in 2006, the video didn't gain popularity until 2009 and has managed to remain a mainstay of internet Halloween celebrations ever since, racking up 2.5 million views to date.

But the full story behind the video — and who was behind the mask — remained a mystery until recently, when Sean Rameswaram of the public radio show Studio 360 decided to do some investigating. The dance, as he learned, came into being when the 10 p.m. anchor of the Omaha CW affiliate KXVO was looking for some filler for their Halloween-themed show:

The program had a nominal budget ($1,000 for the year) to create 22 minutes of programming five nights a week. Geiler and his producers often had to improvise last-minute to fill the show. In the days leading up to Halloween 2006, they pitched several ideas, including grown men falling down in a pumpkin patch, a fictional murder mystery, and dressing up as grandmothers for a cooking segment. Then there was the pièce de résistance: "I've got this one thing where I put on a unitard and a pumpkin head and dance at people's graves," Geiler recalls pitching his manager, thinking it would never fly. "I want to call it 'Happy Jack: The Grave Dancer.'"

That original pitch turned into the pumpkin dance, and internet history was made. Read the full story (and see the pumpkin dancer's lesser-known Christmas dance) on Studio 360's blog. --Marshall Bright