June 4th, 2012
10:09 PM ET

Behind the scenes: Anderson's birthday surprise

When your boss is Anderson Cooper, what do you give him for his 45th birthday? Can you surprise a man who’s innately observant and passionate about finding the truth around him? Yes. If you’re sneaky and determined, then yes you can.

360 staffers Ben Finley and Devna Shukla worked with reality TV stars Ernie Brown, aka Turtleman, and Mauro Castano from “Cake Boss” to deliver a memorable birthday party live on-air.

There were a few close calls when the surprise was almost spoiled, but thanks to some quick thinking, fast door slams, and the speed (and grace) at which Ben can wheel an event cake, the plans were kept hush hush.

I’m taking you behind the scenes so you can get a taste of what happened before and after the birthday ambush. This is a web exclusive, everyone.

You may not get a sense for the distinctive smell of our reptilian guests, but you’ll see how they try to bite the hand that holds them (initials A.C.). Special thanks to Turtleman for bringing the two snapping turtles, one weighing in at 50 lbs., and for teaching us that his “yiyiyi” call is more than just a gimmick – it makes his “soul feel better.”

For the edible life-size bust of Anderson, we owe thanks to the team at Carlo’s bakery. It took two days, two bakers, one sculptor, and 15 lbs. of modeling chocolate to make that beauty. We couldn’t bring ourselves to eat the part that mirrored our anchor, but the bottom layer was delicious!

We can’t celebrate Anderson’s birthday everyday, but the newsroom is a lot more entertaining when we do. After you watch the making of the surprise, see how it unfolded on TV when Isha Sesay made the big reveal.

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Filed under: AC360° Staff • AC361° • Anderson Cooper
soundoff (One Response)
  1. julie holland

    Anderson you rock. You are the best part of TV.
    Embarassing to tell you this, but I named my amazing dog Cooper in your honor.
    He was my 40th birthday gift from my mom, just three days before my brother died of cancer
    6 years ago. Everyone always remembers his name, because I tell them Cooper like Anderson Cooper
    from CNN. He is a bichon frise/ poodle mix and is the best gift I have ever received. And of course
    very cute.
    Happy Birthday Anderson.
    Keep doing what you are doing.
    you truly are the best.
    your number 1 fan in Canada

    June 5, 2012 at 1:47 pm |