Internet denizens of a certain age will recall with fondness the 3D animated Dancing Baby (aka “Baby Cha-Cha” and “the Oogachacka Baby”) that went viral in 1996. Sure, the rendering was crude by today’s standards andit must be saida little creepy, but in many ways, the Dancing Baby was a proto-meme. Now, almost 25 years after it was first created, an enterprising college student has re-rendered the original model and animation in a suitable HD format for modern displays.
The Dancing Baby is just a 3D rendering of a baby in a diaper, animated to do a little dance to the opening of the song “Hooked on a Feeling” by Swedish rock band Blue Swede (featured on the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack in 2014). It was developed by Michael Girard and Robert Lurye in 1996 as a sample source file for the 3D animation software package Character Studio (used in conjunction with 3D Studio Max). The 3D source film was released to the public that same year so that animators could render their own video clips.
Then a LucasArts staffer named Ron Lussier shared a tweaked version of the file with a few co-workers in an email, launching innumerable email chains that eventually spread outside the company and all over the world. Eventually people began remixing the original dancing baby. There was a Kung Fu Baby, a Rasta Baby, and a Samurai Baby, for instance. The model hit peak virality in 1998, when it was featured in a dream sequence on the popular TV show Ally McBeal, supposedly representing the titular character’s anxiety over her ticking biological clock.