Jason Steele (2005)
Charlie the Unicorn is a 2005 Flash animated comedy short film and viral video created by Jason Steele of independent film company FilmCow in Orlando, Florida. The short follows Charlie, a lethargic unicorn, who is taken by two other unicorns on an adventure to the mythical “Candy Mountain.” However, as it turns out, the journey is a farce, and Charlie gets hoodwinked by the other two unicorns.
Steele originally created the video as a birthday present for his mother; the video was partially credited to her and was released by her under the username “TypeQueen” on Newgrounds, where it rapidly gained popularity. The video was later uploaded onto YouTube by user Geoff Swanson, where it gained large viewership and continued to increase in popularity, leading to a series of sequels and spinoffs.
The video was a viral hit, accumulating 67 million views and gaining worldwide praise. A merchandising line was later produced, as well as three sequels and a parody series titled “charlie teh unicron”. The first three episodes in the series were released to DVD in 2009 as part of The FilmCow Master Collection.