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The Late Movies: Guy on a Buffalo

Sometimes dumb internet videos transcend their dumbness and become truly wonderful. This is the case, in my humble opinion, with the instant classic Guy on a Buffalo, a four-part series in which footage from the 1978 film Buffalo Rider (apparently now in the public domain) is combined with a sort of rambling singing narration by Jomo Edwards of The Possum Posse. "Why would I want to watch that?" you might ask. "Because this guy is riding a frickin' buffalo," I'd tell you.

I can't explain why I find this so funny and memorable, and that's why I'm posting it. Maybe it's just that the song is so catchy? I can't get the song-snippet "One day, the guy on the buffalo..." out of my head. And I've been trying for three days. I may be going mad -- won't you join me? I've even attempted watching the entire 90-minute original Buffalo Rider to see if that would cure me, but had to give up after ten minutes of intense snoozy boredom. Anyway, enjoy your new earworm infection!

Episode 1 (Bears, Indians, & Such)

"One day the guy on the buffalo was cruisin' around through the plains. [He] seen a bear, and he thought to himself: 'Oh man, I gotta get away from the bear! Hope he don't cha--oh no, he's gonna chase me! Oh no, I better just turn around and chase him back, because guess what? I'm on a buffalo!'" This is the best.

Episode 2 (Orphans, Cougars, & What Not)

Guy on a Buffalo: "Hey, you want this baby?" Barren Woman: "It's cheaper than adoption."

Note: I'm not clear how the original film dealt with the animal stunts; the situation doesn't look particularly well-monitored to me.

Episode 3: Finale Part 1 (Origins, Villains & The Like)

"Oh man, this is unstable but I'm tryin' to prove a point...." I kinda wish all movies could be compressed like this.

Episode 4: Finale Part 2 (Rehab, Vengeance & What Have You)

"One day the guy on the buffalo went into town for some more revenge." I love how The Crystal Palace has an inexplicably enormous front door, sufficient to accommodate a guy on a buffalo. And the ceilings are extremely high -- like soundstage-high.

Buffalo Rider

None of this would have been possible without the classic old movie Buffalo Rider. Fortunately, you can watch the original in its entirety via YouTube. If you don't want to commit just yet, check out the trailer. Enjoy:

What's This All About?

So Buffalo Rider was a real movie, though I have no idea how they filmed it -- given all the animal "stunts" (including what sure looks like actually shooting buffalo and various cross-species animal fights) it wouldn't pass muster today. The movie itself is pretty crappy, featuring an extreme over-reliance on narration and a sort of meandering documentary-ish treatment with some buffalo-related dramatic elements tossed in. It's a very weird artifact of the 70's, though. If anyone has more information on the movie or how it managed to enter the public domain (I'm not entirely clear how that would have happened), let me know in the comments!

Also important: you can buy MP3s of the complete Guy On A Buffalo music, and I wrote an article on the real sentence Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo, in case I haven't used the word 'buffalo' enough yet. Follow Chris Higgins on Twitter for more stories like this one.

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Cory Doctorow, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0
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Pop Culture
When MAD Magazine Got in Trouble for Printing Counterfeit Money
Cory Doctorow, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0
Cory Doctorow, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

MAD magazine has always prided itself on being a subversive, counter-culture presence. Since its founding in 1952, many celebrated comedians have credited the publication with forming their irreverent sense of humor, and scholars have noted that it has regularly served as a primer for young readers on how to question authority. That attitude frequently brought the magazine to the attention of the FBI, who kept a file on its numerous perceived infractions—like offering readers a "draft dodger" card or providing tips on writing an effective extortion letter.

The magazine's "Usual Gang of Idiots" outdid themselves in late 1967, though, when issue #115 featured what was clearly a phony depiction of U.S. currency. In addition to being valued at $3—a denomination unrecognized by the government—it featured the dim-witted face of MAD mascot Alfred E. Neuman.

The infamous $3 bill published in a 1967 issue of 'Mad' magazine
MAD Magazine

When taken at its moronic face value, there was absolutely no way anyone with any sense could have confused the bill for actual money. But what MAD hadn't accounted for was that a machine might do exactly that. Around the time of the issue's release, automated coin change machines were beginning to pop up around the country. Used in laundromats, casinos, and other places where someone needed coins rather than bills, people would feed their dollars into the unit and receive an equal amount of change in return.

At that time, these machines were not terribly sophisticated. And as a few enterprising types discovered, they didn't have the technology to really tell Alfred E. Neuman's face from George Washington's. In Las Vegas and Texas, coin unit operators were dismayed to discover that people had been feeding the phony MAD bill into the slots and getting actual money in return.

How frequently this happened isn't detailed in any source we could locate. But in 1995, MAD editor Al Feldstein, who guided the publication from its origins as a slim comic book to netting 2.7 million readers per issue, told The Comics Journal that it was enough to warrant a visit from the U.S. Treasury Department.

"We had published a three-dollar bill as some part of an article in the early days of MAD, and it was working in these new change machines which weren't as sensitive as they are now, and they only read the face," Feldstein said. "They didn't read the back. [The Treasury Department] demanded the artwork and said it was counterfeit money. So Bill [Gaines, the publisher] thought this whole thing was ridiculous, but here, take it, here's a printing of a three-dollar bill."

Feldstein later elaborated on the incident in a 2002 email interview with author Al Norris. "It lacked etched details, machined scrolls, and all of the accouterments of a genuine bill," Feldstein wrote. "But it was, however, freakishly being recognized as a one-dollar bill by the newly-introduced, relatively primitive, technically unsophisticated change machines … and giving back quarters or whatever to anyone who inserted it into one. It was probably the owner of those machines in Las Vegas that complained to the U. S. Treasury Department."

Feldstein went on to say that the government employees demanded the "printing plates" for the bill, but the magazine had already disposed of them. The entire experience, Feldstein said, was "unbelievable."

The visit didn't entirely discourage the magazine from trafficking in fake currency. In 1979, a MAD board game featured a $1,329,063 bill. A few decades later, a "twe" (three) dollar bill was circulated as a promotional item. The bills were slightly smaller than the dimensions of actual money—just in case anyone thought a depiction of Alfred E. Neuman's gap-toothed portrait was evidence of valid U.S. currency.

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entertainment
Watch 18 Minutes of Julia Louis-Dreyfus Seinfeld Bloopers
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Getty Images

Sometimes you just need to settle in and watch professional actors cracking up, over and over. That's what we have for you today.

In the two videos below, we get a total of 18 minutes of Seinfeld bloopers, specifically focused on Julia Louis-Dreyfus. When Louis-Dreyfus cracks up, Seinfeld can't help but make it worse, goading her. It's delightful.

Sample quote (during an extended break):

Seinfeld: "We won an Emmy, you know."

Louis-Dreyfus: "Yeah, but I didn't."

Her individual Seinfeld Emmy arrived in 1996; the show started winning in 1992. But in September 2017, Louis-Dreyfus—who turns 57 years old today—set a couple of Emmy records when she won her sixth award for playing Selina Meyer on Veep.

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