He Was Number One refers to a memorable quote from SpongeBob SquarePants, referring to Smitty Werbenjagermanjensen, a deceased character from the animation.
He is often referenced online, along with his epithet, “He Was Number One”.
The line was first heard on February 22nd, 2002, when the Season 3 Episode 6b first aired in the United States, under the title One Krab’s Trash.
The episode tells the story Mr. Krabs accidentally selling SpongeBob a valuable hat, with #1 sewn on.
Upon realizing his mistake, he attempts to scam the protagonist with a story of a curse, bestowed on the hat by Smitty Werbenjagermanjensen.
SpongeBob then proceeds to return the hat to the grave of this person and tells of his success to Mr. Krabs who is initially in disbelief, then decides to exhume the Smug Hat Kid.
It is here SpongeBob says the line “It was his hat, Mr. Krab! He was number one!”
It was a Yahoo Answers question, posted in February 2010 about the identity of Smitty Werbenjagermanjensen, that resulted in a clip of the episode being uploaded to YouTube on April 8th, 2011.
In the following years, “He Was Number One” appeared in numerous sources, with or without the name of He Who Must Not Be Named anymore, including Facebook pages and posts, as well as YouTube uploads by accounts like Markiplier, or ColorTVProductions, the latter of which uploaded a speed drawing of the hat and the remains of its owner.
- Fandom.com – Encyclopedia SpongeBobia