Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Larry the lobster

Larry the lobsterTwenty five years ago, on the April 10, 1982 episode of Saturday Night Live, Eddie Murphy held up a live lobster and asked viewers to place calls to vote on whether to save or boil Larry the Lobster. The tally was 239,096 to release Larry and 227,452 for death by boiling water and drawn butter.

Larry was saved for a week - but that is another story.

The event was a high water mark for interactive TV at the time. Almost half a million calls were placed in a 30 minute period over AT&T's 900 network. Perhaps Murphy's stunt could be considered an early demonstration of the potential for telecom and media convergence.

The telephone network survived and SNL proved the potential for interactive voting to profitably integrate with TV shows. Today's voting for singing Idols should be thankful for the ultimate sacrifice made by a lobster in the name of market research.

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