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Eric Shackle Writes: The Queen WAS amused!

A giggling babe can even make a queen laugh, as that inimitable journalist Eric Shackle reveals.

Britain's grandmotherly Queen Elizabeth II giggled http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/theroyalfamily/3210566/Queen-visits-Google---and-is-amused-by-YouTube-video-of-laughing-baby-boy.html when she watched a video of William Nilsson, Sweden's famous laughing baby, while visiting Google's London office last week. If she had been shown a video of Ethan, America's famous laughing baby, she would have laughed out loud.

If you doubt that statement, try to keep a straight face when you watch Ethan's hilarious but brief YouTube clip. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXXm696UbKY Little things please little minds, and Ethan had tremendous fun tearing magazine pages.

"You can tell that he is going to be one of those guys that falls out of his seat in laughter at movies," one online viewer commented.

Ethan's father, Greg, shot the film in 2004, before anyone had heard of YouTube. " I was at home playing with Ethan when he ripped an old magazine and started to laugh," Greg recalls on his Web site. http://www.laughingbabyethan.com/story "I wanted to get him laughing on film for his mom, who was at work, so I grabbed the camera and started to tape. The result is the 'Laughing Baby' video."

Greg put a clip on the Internet in January 2007. It won YouTube's 2007 "Most Adorable" award, and has received almost 20 million hits. It has inspired thousands of other proud parents to post similar clips on the Web.

Ethan is now four years old. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYq5g_XRsdQ

Asked how Ethan was coping with his world fame, his father told OhmyNews: "Ethan was born in September 2004. He has no idea about the 'world fame.' I think it will be a few years yet before he can grasp that reality. 'Internet famous' is about as far as I would stretch his actual level of fame.

"As for other info, since Ethan is only four, we try to keep as much privacy as possible with respect to our names, jobs and location. Obviously, we didn't expect this level of attention for our kid when we posted him on YouTube, so we try to be as careful as possible."

Ethan's parents are both in their mid-30s and Greg has been a stay-at-home Dad since Ethan was born.

The Swedish Laughing Baby video that so amused the Queen was posted on YouTube in August 2006, and quickly became one of its top clips. So far it has attracted an amazing 64 million hits.

William's father shot the film in his kitchen, apparently getting his son to laugh by saying "boo" to him. Comments range from a sweet "isn't he cute" to a sour "this baby sounds as if it has asthma."

Not everyone is happy about the spate of laughing babies. "Look Who's Laughing: Giggling babies have taken over YouTube. Next stop: Madison Avenue" was the heading over a story by Janelle Nanos in Slate online magazine on Dec. 31, 2007. http://www.slate.com/id/2180950/

"Turning found video into good advertising is harder than it looks," Janelle wrote. "The danger of using YouTube footage in a television ad is that if the spot isn't well-executed, viewers feel shortchanged, since they know they can see the same spot online without a corporate logo tacked onto the end of it."


89-year-old Eric Shackle says he's been a compulsive writer ever since gaining his first job as a cadet/cub reporter in 1937.


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