How an underground video goes mainstream: Winnebago Man

Winnebago Man: He works with swear words the way some men work with oil.

It began as a bad day on a corporate video shoot in 1988.

Now it’s going to be a major motion picture in 2010.

Winnebago Man is coming out from the underground. Actually, down from the mountain top.

Boing Boing recently premiered the trailer for a new documentary film about the most famous man no one knows: Jack Rebney, better known as Winnebago Man, aka the angriest man in the world.

Before there was a YouTube, this was the original viral video.

I first heard of Winnebago Man about 10 years ago, while working on an editing session for a TV commercial. Winding down after a long day in the studio, the engineer wanted to end the day on a lighter note. So he popped in a poor-quality VHS tape that had already been circulating for about 10 years.

The whole thing consisted of expletive-filled outtakes from a commercial video shoot. It made our day seem like a walk in the park. It was one of the funniest things I had ever seen.

Of course, I requested a copy for myself, and later played it for my father.

The video that was never supposed to be seen is hitting the big screen.

A forthcoming documentary film promises to reveal the real man behind the rant. The premise of the story is simple yet fascinating: who is this guy and whatever happened to him?

The man, the myth, the mouth.

His name is Jack Rebney and evidently he wasn’t easy to find. Filmmaker Ben Steinbauer hired a private investigator to track him down. Rebney was finally found living as a hermit on a mountain in California.

One of the fascinating aspects to the story is that Rebney was unaware of his online popularity, or even of the existence of the video outtakes.

Perhaps the best lesson to learn from the story is to work with an editor you really trust. And always assume the camera is rolling. Because what you do today can end up on YouTube tomorrow.

Here’s a clip of documentary director Ben Steinbauer and ‘Winnebago Man’ Jack Rebney speaking at the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas, in 2009.  (CAUTION: Contains profanity.)

Here’s the trailer for the forthcoming film, “Winnebago Man”. (CAUTION: Contains profanity.)

“Winnebago Man” comes to theaters July 9, 2010.

Here’s the original video that started it all. (CAUTION: Not Safe For Work. Contains almost as many f-bombs as “Scarface”.)

Now that you’ve seen the video and the trailer, are you interested enough in the man behind the rant to go see the movie?



5 responses to “How an underground video goes mainstream: Winnebago Man

  1. I’ve never heard of this guy, and didn’t even know what a Winnebago is. Thanks for introducing him to me.
    I wish I was living as hermit on top of a mountain in California like the Winneman!

    • Kate, thanks for commenting! I guess people haven’t figured out how to drive a Winnebago down to Oz yet. Hopefully you’ll get the movie on Netflix or something.

  2. See it? Absolutely. Warning, though…this guy is only about half as profane as I am on a bad day. So don’t rile me, d-bags!

  3. Pingback: Download Winnebago Man High Quality | Super Movies Online

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