Internet "Hopkin" meme unravelled

Hopkin Green Frog is a complicated story. It begins with fliers posted around Seattle, seemingly drawn by a small child, asking for a lost pet frog called "Hopkin Green Frog" to be returned. The flier was plaintive, funny, and charming, and it began to circulate among photoshopping internet hipsters, who remixed its elements into various scenes from mundane and exotic world: the Hopkin Flier on a military briefing screen, surrounded by alert marines; angry demonstrators carrying WHO TOOK MY FROG? placards; the frog on a milk carton, etc -- if you're familiar with the All Your Base phenonmenon, you'll recognize this as an allied circumstance (we blogged this part already).

Mike from WhyBark lives in Seattle, and decided that this would be a cute piece for the local newspaper. He'd read on MeFi that Hopkin was actually a McDonald's toy, and he tracked down a new one for $5 on eBay. He called the number on the flier and repeatedly tried to make contact with Hopkin's owner's father. After many attempts, he got through, and got to the bottom of the Hokin Green Frog mystery.

Hopkin's bereaved owner is a 16-year-old autistic boy, who was very upset about the loss of his toy. According to his father, he's gotten over the loss of Hopkin and giving him a replacement Hokpin would be a bad idea, as it would re-open old wounds.

The person who drew the flier is a sixteen-year-old boy who suffers from autism. His father was unaware that his son may have made more than one batch of fliers (it appears that new fliers were hung in May of 2004). He did know about the loss of the frog and I believe that he knew about the first batch of fliers.

He also did not want me to give the frog to his son. He’s forgotten it, he told me. Bringing it up again will probably only bring up a bunch of bad memories.

He was quite unaware of the interest in the frog and the flier on the internet. He reiterated that he did not think it would be a good idea to show the sites to his son.

Link (Thanks, Mike!)