Your Unauthorized Guide to the Golden Age of National Lampoon Magazine

48. Uncle Buckle, the Safety Buffalo

February 10, 1999

Q: I remember an issue from 1975 (?) that had a story about kids in a driver’s education class. I remember a character called Uncle Buckle the Safety Buffalo. Can you tell me which issue this story was in?

A: Pretty good guess. It was the April ’75 (Car Sickness) issue, titled “Driver’s Ed” written by P.J. O’Rourke; produced and directed by Peter Kleinman.


This has got to be the all-time funniest issue of NL (except for maybe the Old Age issue)


November 21, 2003 4:08 pm

Thanks for posting this. My kids didn't believe me when I told them about Uncle Buckle, so this proved me not to be a lier (or smoking something). As I recall, this was pretty funny. As an avid National Lampoon reader of the 70's, I don't recall much detail except for the Safety Buffalo and the famous yearbook edition (anyone have any idea on where I can find a copy of that?)


December 1, 2003 8:59 pm

The Yearbook Parody has been reissued and is available in the usual places (Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Borders, etc.).


December 1, 2003 10:01 pm

Let's nor forget Uncle Buckle's sidekick, Sergant Seatbelt of the Ohio Highway Patrol. Dressed as an SS officer, it was a takeoff on the notorious Ohio speeding ticket corps of the period. Perhaps my favorite line from the magazine: "You know, if Jimmy (?) had been wearing his seatbelt, the Negroes wouldn't have been able to pull him from the car."


January 27, 2004 10:58 pm

Uncle Buckle returned to investigate the perils of the playground with the help of Lieutenant Helpful in the September 1976 (Latest Issue) ish, written by PJ O'Rourke and directed by Pendar Ness.

—E Nice

June 18, 2004 5:15 pm

I fondly remember the "Driver's Ed" piece with Uncle Buckle from my own childhood, so I was pretty much floored when one of my kids came home with a children's book called "Officer Buckle and Gloria" ( see -- there's a video, too! ). In the book, Officer Buckle is a police safety officer, who goes to schools to deliver useful tips such as "don't sit on a tack." Gloria is his dog, who begins to act out all the hypothetical safety problems (Google found an odd little clip of Gloria pretending to be electrocuted...). It's actually an OK book; in fact, it won a Caldecott medal. But a safety officer named "Buckle" -- Peggy Rathmann, were you a NatLamp reader?


December 16, 2004 10:32 am

That's amazing, Larry. My daughter has that book and I never made the connection. I'd say it's probably a coincidence, but only Peggy Rathmann would know for sure.


December 16, 2004 10:42 am

Yes, I was in college when the first issue with Uncle Buckle was out..I believe that he was featured in a few following issues as well...The features were presented "comic book style" and consisted of photographs depicting a scene..Some guy wore a mounted buffalo head and also wore a WWF styled belt with one of those gigantic bucles (Hence the name "Uncle Buckle".)..In the "Drivers Ed" sequence, Uncle Buckle promotes seat belt use as a deterant to being pulled from a car when driving through a rough neighborhood, in this case a carload of white preppies stop their vehicle in a black section of town and a gang of negroes pull him from the car and beat him up...Uncle Buckle appears on the scene and offers this up as a "tip": "This is why you should wear seatbelts.".....I laughed my ass off!


June 25, 2005 1:56 pm

"Oh Lawdy, dey got de tuna burgers in de lunchroom again!" - timeless concludin quote from Uncle Buckle Photo Funny. Paul Vincent Zecchino 17 September, 2005 Manasoviet Key, FL BT

—Paul Vincent Zecchino

September 15, 2005 10:23 pm

Ohh man. The D.E. segment brought me to this site. One of the absolute best Natlamp bits. "I'll take another sip of this alcholic beer, even though some say it will impair my driving, we're parked on these abandoned railroad tracks, where the police are powerless to arrest us", then "WOOOH OOOOH!!!" (sound of approaching train, followed by the extremely graphic stills we all remember from "death on the highway). I wish they still published these....


September 18, 2006 8:02 pm

Poke her 'fore she gets cold!!!


March 13, 2007 12:25 pm

NL was required reading in my Cav unit overseas. There were fist fights to see who would get the dozen or so issues the PX recieved each month. God Bless Uncle Buckle, The Safety Buffalo!

—John Dodge

July 15, 2007 3:53 pm

"Yow! Negroes! Save meeeee!"

—Ron Bauerle

July 27, 2007 12:46 pm

"Yow! Negroes! Save meeeee!" This had to be one of the funniest things I've ever seen. I still remember it to this day. Would love to get a copy of it.


August 8, 2010 9:33 am

"This is the bad part of town. There are often crimes here."

—John Wise

October 6, 2010 12:56 am

As a teenager, the things in this feature that made the biggest impression on me were the boobs on the girl making out during the film. They were awesome.


May 29, 2011 8:38 pm

There's a common thread of overt racism in most of Doug Kenney's writing. Where did this come from? I grew up in Georgia and even my most volatile racist associates were aghast at some of Kenney's stuff.


May 6, 2013 2:06 pm

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