2012-02-23 / Local & State

Duo’s Song On Purple PA Squirrel An Online Hit


STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) – This Thor isn’t anything like the Viking superhero of the same name. He’s not fearsome. He’s not powerful.

He’s just purple – and a rodent.

“Thor, the Purple Squirrel from Jersey Shore,’’ both a tune and a YouTube video, are the latest cracked creations from the musical duo of Bill Dann, a Howard songwriter, and Jack Servello, an Altoona musician, who have collaborated on 22 novelty tunes.

Their work celebrates the freakish critter caught and released earlier this month by a Jersey Shore couple, whose backyard discovery became an overnight news sensation. Theories abounded: The squirrel ran afoul of dye, pokeberries, perhaps a portable toilet. A professor speculated it might have, for some reason, too much bromide in its system, tingeing its gray fur.

Nobody, however, named it – until Dann.

When he heard about the squirrel, he and Servello had been working on “For Peeps’ Sake,’’ a sequel to their Easter novelty from last year, “Marsha the Marshmallow Peep.’’

“I thought, ‘Purple squirrel: That screamed to be written. If not that, then what?’ ” Dann said.

Out of the blue, Thor came to him. The rest flowed from his fingers.

Off the lyrics went to Servello. In reply, he declared they needed help, but he penned a melody and recorded it anyway.

Dann’s friend, Eric Funk, a Bellefonte Area School District administrator, then put together the slide show video.

Among the highlights are a pumped up, beefcake Thor – don’t ask – and a guitar-playing Thor, jamming “Purple Haze.’’ Punxsutawney Phil even makes a cameo.

The result? Thor-mania. Dann said the video is being “shared like crazy’’ on Facebook, and the YouTube video – found by searching for “Thor the purple squirrel’’ – is up to more than 3,900 hits and counting. Lock Haven’s WQBR, Bear Country Radio, has played Thor’s saga for its listeners.

Dann, “dumbstruck’’ by the response, thinks he and Servello have a viral hit.

“I guess people are easily amused,’’ he said. “It’s the talk of the area.’’

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