The Winnebago Man Meme

The story of the Winnebago Man meme is an interesting one that warrants special historical consideration for making its way via much harsher environmental conditions than memes travel through today. While memes can flourish more naturally now through internet distribution, the Winnebago Man meme, spawned from a set of out-takes filmed in 1988, was originally passed around through the physical act of dubbing VHS tapes.

[original cut]

Even when at its technological prime, most end users of VHS tech did not have the regular capability to dub tapes, but when they saw the Winnebago Man tape, they found it to be so awesome, they became compelled to figure it out and linked up their VCRs, dubbed copies, and snail mailed them to friends and family around the world. Of course this meme was just WAITING for online video to happen and sure enough when video arrived, so did Winnebago Man. In 2009, film maker Ben Steinbaur re-introduced the take via a documentary he completed on the topic. Steinbaur had searched for and found Jack Rebney (the real name behind the legend) living as a hermit in the mountains of California and brought him to speak in Austin.

After a year of rounding up awards on the international film circuits, the documentary is hitting pervasive availability, as promoted recently with the following new trailer and updated website: