Mike Berlin '04, Alex Green '06, and Aaron Rosenthal '06

First Person - Summer 2010

They may look a little slap-happy, but Aaron Rosenthal, Mike Berlin, and Alex Green (l-r) were all business when they watched Lost for 95 hours to raise money for charity. Photo by Anthony Quintano.

If you’d happened to wander by a Manhattan saloon called Prof. Thom’s at 9 p.m. on Sunday, May 23, you’d have seen several hundred people patiently watching the two-and-a half-hour-long series finale of Lost.

But outside, on the bar’s second-floor terrace–a concrete slab the size of a kiddie pool, lit by tiki lamps and bathed in exhaust from traffic on Second Avenue–you’d have encountered an altogether different level of commitment.

There, three sleep-deprived Denisonians–Aaron Rosenthal, Alex Green, and Mike Berlin–were entering hour 93 of their 95-hour LOST-A-THON, a 121-episode viewing marathon during which they intended to set the Guinness World Record for most consecutive hours of TV watched in a single sitting, while raising money for their three favorite charities: The Nature Conservancy, Doctors Without Borders, and The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

The three streamed their effort live over the web, garnering worldwide attention and interviews on NPR, ABC World News, and Good Morning America. They had successfully raised some $8,000, and earned a Guinness World Record. Here, the former Denison roomates look back on their 95 hours of fame.

Aaron: I think most Lost fans have contemplated this: “How awesome would it be to watch the whole series?” And then I thought, why not make it a charity event? Then we realized that if we did watch it all straight through, that alone would be a Guinness World Record.

Mike: Watching the show successively, I was more gripped by it than I had been originally. I was surprised by how much it felt like a television novel. Alex: That being said, when you get to hour 70, things do start to blur and mush together a little bit.

Aaron: In total, we slept for two hours over four days.

Mike: One of the jobs of our volunteers was to spray us in the face with water if it looked as if our eyes were getting droopy. When it was all over, I started repeatedly walking into a wall, thinking it was a door.

Alex: Afterward, we slept for about 13 hours straight, woke up Monday afternoon, had some coffee, got some dinner, and went back to bed. Then we all went back to work on Tuesday.

Aaron: We got visitors–everyone from random guys drinking at Prof. Thom’s to people stumbling out of bars at 4 a.m. And we had partnerships with a few blogs, including one based in the UK, which is how the whole European consort of Lost viewers found us.

Alex: At our height, we were getting about 10 tweets a minute–from Israel, Italy, the UK, Germany, Canada … I think there was even someone in Iraq watching us. We had over 100,000 page views, and around 900 people watching us simultaneously.

Alex: I don’t think I’ve ever been called a hero that many times in my life. And being in the Guinness Book of Records will be really cool. But the most important thing to us was raising money for our charities. Raising several thousand dollars for The Nature Conservancy, which was my charity, was a really special thing.

Aaron: There were 300 to 400 people at Prof. Thom’s on the last night, and when we walked through the bar to take our last restroom break before the finale, we were like rock stars.

Published June 2010