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Skull Trumpet is an animated sprite image of a skull-faced character playing the trumpet. Due to its poor, outdated quality of graphics, the image has spawned a variety of remixes and parodies in both video and GIF formats on media-sharing YouTube and Tumblr.
According to various accounts, the “Skull Trumpet” sprite was first introduced through 3D Movie Maker, a computer graphics software program developed and released by Microsoft’s “Microsoft Kids” subsidiary in 1995, and spread through various websites around the same time as when the Dancing Baby animation became popular. However, online interest in the sprite image reached its peak more than a decade later after it was uploaded by YouTuber Piepuppy89 in early 2011 (shown below), though it has since been removed after the account was deactivated in August of 2012.
On February 15th, 2011, illustrator Wolf Puppy tweeted a link to the original YouTube upload:
— Hi I’m Bleep (@HiImBleep) February 15, 2011
Throughout 2011, the video was shared on a number of websites and forum communities, including the gaming forum PlayStuff, the Something Awful spinoff site BYOB XP, the Call of Duty board on GameFAQs and Steam’s forum community. Additionally, a Facebook fan page dedicated to Skull Trumpet was created on March 8th, 2011 and that November, video remixes began appearing on YouTube.
In December 2011, the first single topic blog dedicated to Skull Trumpet was created on Tumblr. On July 11th, 2012, the Tumblr blog Skull-Trumpet was launched with a back up archive of all the videos from Piepuppy89’s YouTube channel. Although PiePuppy89’s YouTube account was closed during the first week of August of 2012, a handful of YouTubers uploaded mirrors of the original videos that were hosted on the channel prior to its deactivation, while Tumblr bloggers began sharing fan art and videos under the “#Skull Trumpet” tag.
As of August 2012, there are about 630 video results for the search keyword “skull trumpet” on YouTube.