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Couple cashes in with video

October 21, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - Dorothy Russell was amused by her son's dinner table antics, but she never figured so many other people would find it entertaining.

Now the Hedgesville family is $10,000 richer after a film clip of 2-year-old William Russell was voted the best video during "America's Funniest Home Videos" Friday night.

The video shows William Russell at the dinner table with his parents and his brother as the family is saying grace.

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The boy cups one of his hands to make it look as if he is holding both hands to his face while the family is praying, his mother said.

William Russell extends the other hand to the table, grabs some food and begins eating it during the blessing, Dorothy Russell said.

The boy's father, Matt Russell, is then heard correcting his son.

When grace continues, the boy repeats the act and grabs a piece of corn on the cob.

"America's Funniest Home Videos" dubbed the film clip "Prayer Boy Pigs Out," Dorothy Russell said.

For "America's Funniest Home Videos," a live audience at the show's set in Los Angeles is shown three top videos and asked to pick the best.

"Prayer Boy Pigs Out" came out on top.

"If you see the show, you can see we're quite shocked. You never expect that other people will think it's that funny," Dorothy Russell said.

The Russell family was flown to Los Angeles Sept. 30 and the taping was Oct. 1. The show aired Friday night.

Dorothy Russell said her son demonstrated the behavior on previous occasions, and she and her husband knew they would have to address the issue with him.

They decided to record it first.

Knowing their son would probably be overly dramatic if he knew he was being taped, the Russells put their video camera on the dining room table early in the day so the boys would not be wary of it, Dorothy Russell said.

When dinnertime came, they secretly turned on the camera, Dorothy Russell said.

The Russells sent the tape to "America's Funniest Home Videos" in the summer and representatives of the television show said they liked the clip, Dorothy Russell said.

The Russells, who live on Thurman Drive near Sleepy Creek Wildlife Management Area, were told in September that the clip would be used for the show, Dorothy Russell said.

The Russells plan to use the $10,000 first-place money to build their kids a playset in the back of their house and put the rest in a college fund for them, their mother said.

"It's their money," she said.

The Russells now have a shot to win $100,000 during a show to rate the best home videos over the year, Dorothy Russell said.

The Russells are not sure when they will return to Los Angeles, although it could be around Nov. 16.

The Russells just moved to the area from Leesburg, Va., where Matt Russell is a network administrator for the city of Leesburg.

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