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Erika Boone/flipflipflipflipflop

A Photobombed Proposal: the Meteoric Rise of InTheWay Guy

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Erika Boone/flipflipflipflipflop

Some internet memes arise so fast and so strong that they burn out quickly. Here's the story of one that exploded just this morning on reddit, and only time will tell how long it lasts. It starts with a proposal no one who's seen it will ever forget.

Voice actor Nick Landis took his girlfriend Erika to Walt Disney World a couple of weeks ago to propose to her. As the big moment was being photographed, this poor soul stepped in front and immediately realized what he did. It's a moment that will live forever, because Erika posted it to reddit, where it made the front page this morning. 

But that was just the beginning. The tourist had apparently been seen before, in other times and places.

Zeroandfalling witnessed this same guy photobombing the flag raising at Iwo Jima.

Allundertherainbow tried to record the celebration of VJ Day, but ran into the same fellow. 

Mamba_79 remembered where he's seen the guy before. He gets in the way a lot.

Walterwalrus saw him at Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Walterwalrus says the guy was also in Dallas in 1963. 

He was at the Yalta Conference in 1945 and was captured by Godfreee.

Jakielim thought he was dead for sure.

Grat5577 did a little digging, and found that he was even in other famous faked photos.

In fact, the poor as-yet-anonymous soul unknowingly achieved the ultimate honor: his own subreddit. There are probably many more photos there by now.

Everyone involved thanks flipflipflipflipflop for making it easy to have some fun with this. And don't worry about Nick and Erika. They got another photograph. We wish them all the happiness in the world.

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EduardKhilFans, YouTube
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Pop Culture
Eduard Khil: The Soviet Union Pop Star Who Became a Meme
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EduardKhilFans, YouTube

If you haven’t seen Eduard Khil in the flesh, you may have seen any number of parody videos acknowledging his internet infamy. Shows like Family Guy and Jimmy Kimmel Live! have referenced Khil’s peculiar 1976 performance, where the Russian singer performs a non-lexical, vocable version of a song—a wordless, carbonated babble baritone that’s better seen than described.

Khil is the recent subject of a Google Doodle, the search engine's landing page spotlight on interesting figures in history, and it's led to another wave of publicity in what could be considered a third act in his long career.

Born in 1934, Khil’s hometown of Smolensk was eventually occupied by Nazi Germany: A budding performer, he sang for wounded soldiers at area hospitals. Though he later studied opera at the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory, he fell in love with pop music and pursued it as a career. In the Soviet Union, however, the kind of provocative lyrics and performances being seen in America were simply not possible: Anything even remotely sexual or suggestive would be censored. When he chose to sing about a cowboy riding home to his wife on the farm, he substituted the actual lyrics for nonsense syllables like “tra la la” or “trololo.”

Footage of his 1976 performance—where Khil appears in a muddy brown suit against a pallid backdrop while singing with great enthusiasm—eventually made its way online. Viewers were taken with his stage presence (he sometimes matched his eyebrows to the beat) and the fact that his “trololo” was an anachronistic reference to “trololol,” internet shorthand for trolling. American entertainers like Stephen Colbert latched on to the footage, and Russia even took note of the interest: The song was played during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

In 2010, just two years before his death at age 77, news outlets began to reach out to the now-retired singer to get his reaction to the sudden surge in interest. "I'm very pleased, but I wasn't surprised because it is really a beautiful tune," he told Radio Free Europe in 2010. "I tried to make it cheerful. It's such a radiant song. Even though it was composed in 1966, it doesn't sound outdated."

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Getty Images
Leo Wins an Oscar: The Meme
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Getty Images

Leonardo DiCaprio has been on our screens (and in our hearts) since he was just a kid, and he's been earning Oscar nominations since he was a teenager. Starting with his Best Supporting Actor nod for What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), to his more recent Best Actor nominations for The Aviator (2004), Blood Diamond (2006), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), and The Revenant (2015), the 41-year-old has proven to be a resilient and reliable leading man. And although there have been plenty of actors who take years to get their due, the good people of the Internet made DiCaprio’s lack of an Oscar a particular pet project.

Various Leo memes have been around since 2011, when Funny or Die remixed the movie J. Edgar (for which DiCaprio was nominated for a Golden Globe, but snubbed by the Academy) to tell the story.

In the years since, there have been plenty of jokes about Leo's quest for the elusive Academy Award. And then Sunday night, it happened.

Was it real? There was some doubt, especially when we recall what happened at the Miss Universe pageant when host Steve Harvey announced the wrong winner.

Other things could have gone wrong. After all, his Oscar win was for the movie The Revenant. Another possible outcome is illustrated in this flip book from The Flippist.

The original flip book is up for auction on eBay, with proceeds going to the the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. And then there’s this animation of the years-long saga.

DiCaprio seems to have a good sense of humor about his 20-plus year quest for an Oscar. After the ceremony, he was recorded joking about his lack of knowledge about post-winning protocol as his name was engraved on the statuette.

"You do this every year? I wouldn't know."

So, do you think that will be the end of the jokes? We doubt it.

The end of one meme is the beginning of another.

But all kidding aside, the award is official, and no one can take it away now. Jack Dawson finally won an Oscar, and you can get a custom T-shirt (design above) to celebrate. Congratulations, Leo!

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