Cleveland man Charles Ramsey became a national hero this week when he helped rescue three women who had been held captive in his neighbor's house. His spirited interview with a local news station went viral, and even received the auto-tune treatment in less than 24 hours, making him an instant internet celebrity.
Ramsey, however, is not the first sensation to rise from a local news broadcast, and he won't be the last.
Here are six memorable personalities that attracted the attention of millions of viewers after being interviewed on television.
Bubb Rubb: Seven years ago, an Oakland newscast blamed a local mechanic named Bubb Rubb for "driving entire neighborhoods crazy" by welding decorative "whistle tips" inside mufflers, making the cars audible from over a mile away. Mr. Rubb didn't see the problem, and passionately argued on behalf of a car's right to "woo woooooooooo!" The noise, he insisted, was only bothersome in the morning, and people are "supposed to be up cooking breakfast or something," anyway.
Antoine Dodson: Like Ramsey, Antoine Dodson rescued a young woman from sexual assault after an intruder broke into his Alabama home in 2010 and attempted to rape his sister. Although he scared the man off, it wasn't his heroics that catapulted him to instant internet fame — it was his choice of words while being interviewed by the local news. "Hide your kids, hide your wife, and hide your husband, because they rapin' everybody out here," he passionately warned. The auto-tuned version of the interview sold thousands on copies on iTunes and even managed to make Billboard's Hot 100 list.
Ted "Golden Voice" Williams: In 2011, the same year NBC's "The Voice" became a reality competition hit, a homeless man's "Golden Voice" launched him from the streets of Ohio to national fame after an interview with Columbus Dispatch went viral. Since being discovered asking for change along the side of a freeway exit ramp, Williams has scored numerous voice-over gigs, and even published a memoir titled, "A Golden Voice: How Faith, Hard Work, and Humility Brought Me from the Streets to Salvation."
"Zombie" Jonathan: Turtles never sounded so awesome until a broadcast reporter asked a face-painted boy on live television what he thought of Downtown Portland's Waterfront Village. This 17-second clip of a child bluntly expressing his admiration for turtles has racked up over 40 million views on YouTube.
Sweet Brown: This Oklahoma City woman became an internet icon in spring of 2012 after her detailed escape from an apartment building blaze left her with bronchitis, and the world with a hilarious new catch phrase: "Ain't nobody got time for that."
Mobile, Alabama Leprechaun: In March of 2006, a leprechaun sighting inspired an entire town to hunt for a pot of gold. The real gold, however, was local NBC affiliate WPMI-TV's coverage of the commotion. The news story, which went viral after its initial broadcast, featured a plethora of colorful personalities searching for the mischievous Irish fairy hiding in a tree or, better yet, dismissing it as "a crackhead that got hold to the wrong stuff."