Ever since I was in Junior school, discovering DC Comics'
Superman and all the other Super heroes, Comic book art
put me in a trance ust as it did many schoolboys, back in those
days before we ever saw a TV set. Along with the Comics we
were just discovering TIME,LIFE, PHOTOPLAY, PLAYBOY
and other marvels of Americanpublishing. But only one magazine
– MAD –straddled all the lines of satire, humor, art, Beatnik
hipness and insanity to transport us to an America we always
knew existed but never really looked at in the way MAD made
Parodies of Hollywood Blockbusters of the time, Billboard chart
hits, Housewives, Preachers, Politicians, Housewives, Olympians
all got the MAD treatment and in the process a new awareness
was raised in their readers worldwide.
Yes, the ‘geniuses’ behind MAD were also the early geniuses
of Madison Avenue, where products are created and marketed
by the brightest, most hyper-animated in the world of Advertising.
The ‘usual gang of idiots’ as MAD staffers called themselves
were anything but idiots– as all those who grew up and got out of
school and into the real world eventually realized. Of course there
is not that much of reading going on nowadays when there’s
MAD TV and SNL to watch. Which is why I must recommend getting
your hands on an old copy of MAD Magazine, the older the better,
and see if all the mocking humor of yore doesn’t qualify today as
an American cultural institution. Thousands are of the same opinion
as I discovered through my adult (?) years. I have been MAD-inspired
for almost my entire life. So imagine what it was like to not only
meet but be alone with MAD writer Dick DeBartolo, who joined the
staff fresh out of high school and still stays on as Consultant today.
As a fledgling Limo Driver in New York City I had the rare and
pleasurable opportunity of picking up Mr. Bartolo from the CNBC
Studios in New Jersey and driving him home to the West Side of
Manhattan. The entire trip saw me lose my professional attitude
and revert to the gushing schoolboy who had just split his sides
reading the latest issue of MAD. By the time we reached his
residence, Mr. Bartolo was fully convinced of the genuineness
of my admiration and gave me the latest issue of MAD, not only
autographed, but with a line dedicated to me ! But wait, that’s
not all – he even gave me the MAD pin from his Baseball cap,
saying jokingly that he couldn’t give me his cap as he was bald
(it was a cold New York winter) and needed it. I left on Cloud Nine
as you can imagine. And I often gaze fondly at the business card
(above) he handed me as he got out with a warm handshake.
Silly, crazy childish me, still growing up mad, letting them get to me.
Selected TRIVIA from wikipedia.org
Richard Nixon, ….remains the only President credited with
Critic Roger Ebert wrote: I learned to be a movie critic by
reading Mad magazine... Mad's parodies made me aware
of the machine inside the skin—of the way a movie might look
original on the outside, while inside it was just recycling the same
old dumb formulas. I did not read the magazine, I plundered it
for clues to the universe. Pauline Kael lost it at the movies; I lost it
at Mad magazine.
Always as controversial as humorous, here's a Google cached
image from a report about the mag being pulled from the shelves
of Retail Electronics giant Circuit City (now in Bankruptcy)click to enlarge and read
Earlier MAD raving on this Blog