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Gen Z’s 1990s nostalgia meets Web3 as the creepy dancing baby made famous by Ally McBeal is now an NFT

May 9, 2022, 3:30 PM UTC

Back in the early, innocent days of the internet, people went crazy for a GIF that showed a computer animated, diaper-clad baby dancing an offshoot of the cha-cha.

It was 1996—and the fluid movements (and creepiness) of the CGI infant captivated the attention of the online world, making this one of the first viral hits. Now the character is taking on a new life as an NFT.

The Dancing Baby Collection will go up for auction soon. And beyond the original animation, artists have assembled a collection of CGI offshoots that manage to be even creepier.

Early offers for the NFT seem to underscore the slowdown in the NFT market, though. The best appears to be less than $1,700—just 0.7 of one ether.

Given the history of “baby cha-cha,” that’s likely to go higher. Beyond essentially launching the modern meme, the 3D animation made regular appearances on the hit show Ally McBeal, where the GIF was paired with Blue Swede’s cover of “Hooked on a Feeling.”

The original dancing baby was created by a trio of animators as a freelance assignment. Ohio State University student had created a skeleton that could move and dance, but it needed a skin. Robert Lurye, a friend and animator for visual effects studio Rhythm & Hues Studios, put together a few before the creators all decided the baby was the most eye-catching. It wasn’t long before online denizens were emailing it and sending links to each other via AIM to ensure that everyone they knew had seen it too.

The NFT world might be the next logical step for the dancing diaper wearer. Beyond Ally McBeal, it has also had moments of fame on everything from The Simpsons to a Delta Airlines safety video. It even had a moment on TikTok in the past few years.

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