Best Viral Video (2014)

"Magic Beard"

The story behind the best local viral video of the year begins with simple maternal nagging. Ben Garvin's formidable graying whiskers looked like the Bride of Frankenstein's mane turned upside down. Impressive, yes, but also a bit scary. His mom pestered him for months, "When you gonna cut that beard off?" Ben's response was priceless: a two-minute stop-motion video in which the beard displays magical qualities. It moves of its own accord, hides multiple crayons, and makes fruits and vegetables disappear into its hirsute wilderness. To produce the special effects, Garvin had to painstakingly realign his eyes between each click of his iPhone, a task that took 10 hours outside of his day job as a photojournalist for the Pioneer Press. The final product garnered 4.2 million views on YouTube and grabbed the attention of national media. Mashable said it tickled "internetters' funny bones." Twins pitcher Glen Perkins tweeted a link to his 25,000 followers. But perhaps the best response came from a two-year-old boy who reportedly pleaded to his mother, "More beard!" Although the beard is shaved off by the end, thanks to YouTube you can experience the magic over and over and over.


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