Toddler-tipping video nets family $10,000

Members of the Jacobson family are, from left, Jana, Jeni, Sawyer, Austin and Juli. The family won $10,000 from ABC’s “America’s Funniest Home Videos” for a video of three toddlers tipping over in the snow.

Juli Jacobson never expected a video mistakenly captured five years ago would lead to national attention and a $10,000 prize.

On a recent episode of ABC’s “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” the 2008 video of Jacobson’s three young children tipping over during a photo shoot in the snow, won top video, snagging the family $10,000.

The win also gave the family a shot at $100,000 for funniest video of the year. That show airs Sunday, Jan. 5 on ABC. Check local listings.

“Shocked. Shocked,” Jacobson said Tuesday about the results. “I just wanted to take a picture of the boys and Jeni on the first snowfall.”

The video, “The Three Toddler Tip Over,” was filmed in early November of 2008. Jacobson bundled up her three children — Jeni, 4 at the time, and twins Austin and Sawyer, both 2 — and retreated to the backyard to take a photo.

Jacobson mistakenly had the camera on “video,” capturing Austin tip over because he was too little and too bundled up to bend at the waist.

The video then shows Juli’s husband’s hands reach in to sit Austin back up. At that point, Sawyer tipped over and Austin tipped over again. Jeni, once she realized the attention her brothers received, tipped over herself.

“I had bundled them up so much that Austin…couldn’t move,” Juli said, recalling the day the video was taken.

She had forgotten about the video until last month when she was saving things to her external hard drive and ran across the video.

A friend suggested Jacobson submit the video, available at about 22 minutes, 40 seconds in, to the show.

Jacobson listened and within a day she heard back from ABC.

Jacobson, her sister Jana, and the three Jacobson children, Jeni, now 9, and Austin and Sawyer, now 7, flew to Los Angeles in November to tape “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”

The children, all students at Wingate Elementary School, had to keep the results a secret for several weeks.

“I had to email the teachers and principal and tell them we were back from filming and are sworn to secrecy and to kindly remind (the kids’) peers not to even ask about it,” Jacobson said. “What was so wonderful was not one single friend or peer or other student bothered them.”

Both Juli, who’s playing Madame Thenardier in the upcoming High Desert Opera production “Les Miserables,” and Jeni, playing a young Cosette, did not miss rehearsals to fly to LA.

But now that the family is back, attention shifts to how to spend that prize money.

“We’re going to go on a family vacation,” Juli Jacobson said. “We’re going to take Jana and her daughter, too.”


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