The strange success of the Drop Stop is an odd turn of events for two men who started out in Hollywood with very different ambitions. Back in the 1990s, before YouTube, a lot of aspiring filmmakers created short videos as a sort of calling card to be distributed on VHS tapes all over town.
Simon helped produce a Hollywood spoof of "Goodfellas" called "Scriptfellas," while Newburger starred in another short called "Livin' With Meshuganah Shiksa."
They were rivals who became friends after recognizing in each other a similar sort of optimistic naivete that's generally absent in Tinseltown. "He's my brother from another mother," said Simon.
After Newburger broke up with a girlfriend in 2006, he crashed on Simon's couch, expecting to be there only for a few months. The two paid the bills by becoming nutrition coaches (this is L.A. after all), and by playing poker before playing poker became a thing. Simon said he would go to the casino every month, "and I would not come home until rent was made."
Shortly after moving in, Newburger was driving down Sunset Boulevard when his phone started vibrating as a call came in. "I was reaching to hit the answer button," he said, but the phone "shimmied" off his center console into that "black hole" between the console and seat.
He instinctively turned to try and stop the phone from falling. "I'm going 40 miles per hour," Newburger said, and as he turned, he unwittingly turned the steering wheel in the same direction. "I looked up, all four tires jumped on the sidewalk, a guy leaped 3 feet out of the way, or I would have killed him, and I just missed the telephone pole by an inch."
Newburger called Simon and told him where he was and what had happened. "I almost killed a human being, almost killed myself hitting a pole."
"I do that all the time," Simon told him.
Newburger replied, "Well, it ends tonight!"
It didn't end that night, but the idea for Drop Stop certainly began then. The two assumed someone had already made a product to block the crevice. "We went to every car wash, we scoured the internet, we scoured the world, and there was nothing!" Newburger exclaimed. Simon said they looked at each other, saying, "If we don't do this, we might get struck by lightning. It was literally a calling for us to do this."