Some of America's funniest
A folly in New York landed Woodstock resident David Hahn the spotlight in Los Angeles. More than 20 years ago, Hahn was competing in a national bowling event alongside his father, who was commemorating his 25th anniversary at the championship. Hahn ordered a video of the competition to celebrate the achievement, but the event that transpired led him to submit it to a new show at the time hosted by “Full House” star Bob Saget.
In 1989, Hahn and his father, Wayne, founder of Woodstock bowling alley Wayne’s Lanes, were seasoned bowlers competing at the American Bowling Congress National Tournament in Niagara Falls, N.Y. When the younger Hahn went up for his round, the bowling ball stuck to his thumb and flew straight up into the air. Embarrassed, Hahn walked back to the onlooking crowd, shaking his thumb, only to turn around as they started cheering. “The Stuck Thumb,” as “America’s Funniest Home Videos” dubbed it, had landed him a strike. It also landed Hahn and his wife, Barbara, a trip to Los Angeles, where they competed for top honors on the popular video contest show.
The video took second place in an “America’s Funniest Home Videos” episode that aired Oct. 14, 1990. Of the three videos competing for first place, Hahn’s mishap was trumped by a monkey stealing ice cream from a child. Hahn, the longtime owner of Woodstock’s Dairy Queen, appreciated the twist.
“I got beat out by a monkey eating ice cream,” he said. “It’s ironic, since I’m in the ice cream business.”
There was some question as to the legitimacy of the first-place video, though. According to Hahn, it appeared as if the footage of the monkey with the child was taken from one angle, while a different angle was used to show him eating the food. Was the footage monkeyed with? Some people said yes.
“Everybody thought I got robbed. I kind of go along with that,” he said.
But don’t feel bad for Hahn.
“I got my 15 minutes of fame,” he said, laughing.
He also won a video camcorder and $3,000. Also, courtesy of ABC, Hahn and his wife flew first-class to California and were treated to two free days of adventure before they taped the show on the third day.
“It was a three-hour taping for a half-hour show,” Hahn said, who was held in a green room with the other finalists The monkey was in the studio, too.
“We don’t know until the very end [who won],” he said. “We break for commercial and Bob Saget says [who won].”
Backstage, Hahn said the comedian “was a lot of fun. He autographed whatever we had. He was a fun, nice guy.”
The show was taped two weeks before it aired. The Hahns kept their second-place finish private as the anxious public tried to coax the results out of them.
“We said, ‘You’ll just have to watch it,’” Hahn recalled. “We had a lot of fun with that.”
A friend had told Hahn to submit the video to the show, which he did for $2.
“I thought they might just show it on the show,” he said. “I was real surprised [to make it to the top three]. “It was a great experience,” Hahn said. “The whole town congratulated us.”
Hahn was featured in The Woodstock Independent in October 1990, had a piece written by reporter and columnist Don Peasley and was interviewed by a Dundee radio station following his success.
As for the blooper that landed him the gig, Hahn said there was no harm done
“My thumb was fine,” he said.