Social media users helped a woman re-discover a movie she'd spent years searching for.
After I covered the story, a reader suggested the AI system ChatGPT could help too.
I took his advice, and found a show from the 90s I'd been trying to pin down for decades.
For over 20 years, I've been Googling variations of the phrase "giant babies, tiny adults" in search of a TV series I loved in the 90s. I've never been able to track it down.
I couldn't remember much else about the show beyond a surreal scene where a massive toddler watched the miniature cast run around. I hadn't seen it since I was 7 years old, but I thought about it a lot.
It's bothered me for decades, and it turned out I'm just one of many adults searching for the mysterious shows and movies we were raised on.
Earlier this month, 21-year-old Grace Miller from Kansas City, Missouri, blew up on TikTok when she shared the details of a half-forgotten animation from her childhood she had been trying to track down with her dad for years.
Her video skyrocketed with 7.9 million views, and within 24 hours commenters had successfully found it. They then started helping each other find the movies, shows, and books from their own childhoods in a communal effort to reconnect with their younger selves.
When I reported on the story, a reader who goes by Brad Hines wrote a Facebook comment about his search for a Christmas animation from the 1970s. He wrote that "no amount of Google searches" had yielded the right results, so he tried the free-to-use AI resource ChatGPT instead which "had the answer instantly despite my vague description."
There was a fresh glimmer of hope for my own mystery.
ChatGPT didn't get me there immediately
I opened ChatGPT and typed in every tiny detail I could recall from the show: that it revolved around a young boy and a scientist who went on adventures, and in one scene they were trapped in a room while giant babies roamed around them.
ChatGPT immediately responded with an incorrect suggestion, so I strained my memory for more details.
Each time I added an extra element that may or may not have been an accurate recollection, ChatGPT offered another idea. It brought up the TV adaptation of "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids," a show called "Sliders" I had watched growing up, and other shows and movies I'd never heard of. None were the answer I was looking for.
Then I mentioned the show aired on basic television in the United Kingdom during the period, but it was likely an American or Canadian production. That's when ChatGPT got it right.
Finally, my mystery was solved
"It seems like you might be describing the TV show 'Josh Kirby... Time Warrior!' The show is an American-Canadian production that aired in the late 1990s, and it follows the adventures of a young boy named Josh Kirby, who travels through different time periods and dimensions," ChatGPT's answer read.
It was like moving a cabinet in your home and finding a long-lost family photo behind it. I was immediately taken back to my childhood, sharing a bedroom with my brother, as we watched the six-part series of feature-length movies that followed the time-traveling teenager.
Thanks to YouTube, I was able to re-watch the scene that had sat in the back of my memory for decades, and I realized I had gotten it totally wrong. They weren't giant babies at all. They were monstrous yellow mutants who kept the main characters as human pets.
Google may be accurate, but childhood memories aren't, so it was no wonder I couldn't find something I was describing incorrectly all this time.
My experience with ChatGPT felt more like a conversation, as it took my suggestions less literally and seemed to fill in the gaps until it figured out what I meant. It took less than five minutes to solve the mystery that had bothered me for decades.
I later re-watched the show in full. The video quality was terrible, the production was poor, and the storyline totally deranged — I loved every second of it.
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