Gov. Mike DeWine’s daily press conferences with Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton have become a way of life for Ohioans. Their data-driven decisions and reassurances that we will get through this together have brought a sense of calm to many residents, and so far, a lower number of COVID-19 cases than originally anticipated for the state.
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Dave Stofka, an animator in northeast Ohio, realized something was missing from the daily briefings: a theme song. He combined his creative skills with a TV theme song stuck in his head from childhood to create a heartwarming spin on Laverne and Shirley's "Making Our Dreams Come True" memorable opening sequence and song. One favorite moment is when the iconic beer bottles and work gloves on the conveyor are replaced by hand sanitizer and a surgical glove!
The fun parody video serves as both a salute to Ohio’s leadership, and a friendly reminder to residents to stay home, stay kind and stay hopeful. There are practical reminders sprinkled in, too, particularly about staying 6 feet apart. A dancing Lt Gov. Jon Husted, beloved interpreter Marla Berkowitz and even OSU’s mascot, Brutus, make appearances in the video, too.
The video racked up well over half a million views the first day it was released. The popularity was a huge surprise to the artist who created it. “I'm so happy it's been so well received and I did intend for it to bring smiles to people, but I'm very overwhelmed just how wildly positive the response has been!” Stofka said in our interview.
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“This actually started as a therapeutic project for me. About three weeks ago my workload started clearing up. As a freelancer, that happens, but the difference this time was that our world was seeming to fall apart. It was very easy to get overwhelmed by all the horrible news. ... Obviously there's not much we can do but sit and wait things out, but I desperately needed something to do to take my mind off things and keep going...”
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Between the idle time between projects and being inspired by the state’s leadership, the idea for the video took shape. “I've done a number of humorous animated parodies in the past, and it's some of the most fun type of work I do. At some point I was thinking about the governor and Dr. Acton's very widely respected press conferences and how people were tuning in regularly like it was their favorite show. Totally understandable, as we are all looking for leadership and information right now.”
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"I don't remember how exactly it all clicked, but as soon as I thought of the "Laverne & Shirley" theme — very iconic to my generation — all sorts of funny parallels started falling into place. My wife, Jessica, thought it was a good idea, so she encouraged me to work on it. It just continued to snowball from there."
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