I've been watching this Arnold Schwarzenegger video of his appearance at Gold's Gym off and on for most of the afternoon, as have 2 million (and counting) of my closest friends, apparently. That's how many YouTube hits the video has received as of late Wednesday afternoon. The term "viral" doesn't do it justice.
Arnold returned to the Gold's Gym "Mecca" in Venice, CA, disguised as Howard Kleiner, a trainer who became a regional manager for Gold's Gym—for a day. The video was shot to raise awareness and money for Arnold's charity, After-School All-Stars, which he founded in 1992 to provide children with safe after-school activities.
Here's how it all came about: Dave Reiseman, vice president of communications for Gold's Gym International, Dallas, says Arnold's people and Gold's kept close tabs last month about the upcoming project. The company was put on "standby" for a few days until it got a 24-hour advance notice of the shoot date, which was Dec. 19, according to a few members on Twitter.
"The production needed to come together quickly," Reiseman says. "Part of this was done to keep everything under wraps so that word didn't get out in the gym that he would be there, and also so that there was some surprise factor when 'Howard' was walking the floor."
Now that most of you have or should have watched the video, here are my top five Arnold lines/exchanges with the Gold's members, from five to one:
5. Member: "You look so familiar to me." Arnold/Howard: "Maybe you saw me on the FBI Most Wanted list."
4. Arnold/Howard: "Keep drinking. We're not finished yet with the water drinking."
3. Arnold/Howard: "Stop being a baby. This is Gold's Gym. This is not a baby gym."
2. Arnold/Howard: "What's the most important thing?" Member: "Come on, Arnold!" Arnold/Howard: "The weight training. Howard is my name."
1. Member: "I forgot my key card." Arnold/Howard: "What is a key card mean?"
To use a comedy term, the bit "killed," Reiseman says.
"We've had a great relationship with Arnold and his team for many years," Reiseman says. "He's part of the Gold's Gym family and a true part of our DNA. We're always thrilled to support his initiatives, whether it be the Arnold Classic or an initiative like the After-School All-Stars.
"The members were blown away, and the video has set both social and traditional media on fire. Most importantly, it's all for a very good cause."