"We couldn't believe it," Hale said. "It was a shock."
Somehow a celebrity (or two) had seen the video and began spreading it around. Next thing Hale knew, companies were approaching him to buy the rights to the videos. "We decided to see if we could make it a business."
Hale insisted on only licensing the videos and maintaining ownership. He credits his uncle, Hetfield, for encouraging him to hold out for better terms. "You don't want to sell your soul necessarily when someone offers you something," Hale said.
For example, Hale was originally offered a contract with a YouTube partner to split revenues 70-30 in the partner's favor. "I waited it out a year, and now I have a contract that's 70-30 in my favor."
The success of the videos was soon followed by requests for personal appearances. The first came from the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, which wanted Ralph the Rex to judge a bikini contest. Race officials put him up at a local hotel, and Hale convinced one of the Grand Prix models to put on another T-Rex costume and have a pillow fight with him in his room for a video.
"I told her, 'Just don't hold back, go for it!' And she put me in my place with the pillow fight."
It turned out to be his most successful video ever. "That one exceeded about 60 million views."