When Gustavo Almodovar delivered his final report as a general assignment reporter for ABC Central Florida affiliate WFTV in October 2008, he tossed it back to the studio the way he always did: in that husky, baritone voice synonymous with local television news.
"Gu-stah-vo Almo-doe-var, Channel 9, Eyewitness News."
Little did Almodovar know his signature signoff—replete with its furrowed brow and pointed head turn—would become the basis of an unlikely viral video sensation, albeit four years later.
A 38-second video of Almodovar's signoffs, produced by a local fan, was uploaded to YouTube a few days after he left WFTV. But it wasn't until last week, when a Reddit user discovered it, that it became the stuff of Internet folklore.
"I'm not so sure it's worthy of the attention it has received," Almodovar, 46, now a marketing brand manager at Florida Hospital in Orlando, told Yahoo News on Monday. "Aside from friends and a few co-workers teasing me about the video, life has been quite ordinary. It's like bubble gum. People will chew it for a little while, toss it and move on."
"Prepare to be hypnotized by this newscaster saying his own name," Jezebel's Lindy West wrote. "It's official: 'Gustavo Almodovar' is going to be the first dance at my wedding."
Almodovar, though, confessed that he can't take full credit for his signoff.
"There was an anchor at KCBS in Los Angeles in the late 1990s who, with his authoritative baritone voice, would deliver the toss to me in much the same way as you see in the video," the East Los Angeles native said, "without raising the eyebrow or turning his head."