Over the years, especially when I was growing up as a young man, I gained some much pleasure from reading the magazine. I loved spy vs. spy. And the spoofs on TV shows and movies. I guess eventually that all good things must end.
Where do I begin? It’s almost impossible to over-estimate the influence that MAD Magazine, back in the day, could have on the thinking of an impressionable, curious young person growing up in a small town in middle America.
I learned about Judaism. I learned about Catholicism (but not to worry, I had the Knights of Columbus pamphlets to teach me the “real deal”). I learned about New York City. I learned about politics. I learned about ethnic diversity. And on and on.
MAD was the “South Park” of its day, and, thankfully, a good deal cleaner and more wholesome. Deliciously subversive and yes, possessed of a strong social conscience — anti-drug, anti-racism, anti-war, more of a good influence than a bad one.
You will be missed. Potrzebie!
Well, it’s not really going away. Just not having new content.
Per the linked article:
"While there will be no new material after issue #10, @MADmagazine is not gone,” Goertz continued. “I find it deeply sad to learn that there will be no new content, but knowing history repeats itself, I have no doubt that the vintage pieces will be highly (if not tragically) relevant.”
MAD artist and writer David DeGrand elaborated on Twitter that the magazine “isn’t shutting down but is only leaving the newsstand and will be sold to the direct market. The best thing to do is buy MAD and support it as much as possible, it’s not going away!”
Well, I had always been curious what the Mag was about and finally someone explained it.
When I was a just a kid in grade school, my parents must have brought home an issue of Mad, and it had an article about making use of television commercials to get things done. It was funny, but practical, and even now, I’ll take advantage of a TV commercial to run into the kitchen and wash some dishes or do some other chore. When I was growing up, I would practice piano during the commercials.
The movie satire i remember best is the Star Wars satire–“Red Five chickening out and leaving!”
And of course, I loved the artist Don Martin, the maddest artist of all!
I thought it was already out of business. The last time I saw an actual issue was in the 70s.
I read an issue once that involved Pinocchio squashing Jiminy Cricket so he didn’t have to listen to moral lectures. While I as a child had actually read the original pre-Disney Collodi book, and knew that’s what actually happens to the cricket in the original book, I could have done without the gross splatter “humor” illustration. Guess I was not the target audience. I figured it was for boys who enjoyed gross-out humor.
MAD was basically a satirical humor magazine, heavy on both cartoon art and some pretty intelligent, slyly subversive dialogue. It was like a primer for understanding the secular New York Jewish culture and experience — it wasn’t a Jewish magazine per se but it was heavily, and I do mean heavily, influenced by that culture. Witty, urbane, ironic, intelligent, highly political, very liberal and socially conscious, and they did not accept advertising. I learned about things such as lox, bagels, halvah, knishes, gefilte fish (which I have never tried), bar mitzvahs, the bris, Catskills resorts, and a million other things. It was like manna from heaven for a socially awkward, brainy kid growing up in a small town. It is a wonder I didn’t end up Jewish myself!
I bet that was one of Don Martin’s cartoons.
I still don’t know what any of that is…But I do hope to visit the Holy Land one day, hopefully folks there will show me around
The last time I actually looked at a Mad Magazine was during the Kennedy administration. It has certainly made its mark on American culture, but I will not miss the lack of new material.
Lox - cured salmon
Bagel - like a bread donut, cooked in boiling water and then baked
Halvah - sesame candy (spelled “chalwa” in Poland where I had it, same thing, pronounced the same)
Knish - like a potato roll
Gefilte fish - poached minced fish cakes (never had the pleasure)
Bar mitzvah - a coming-of-age ceremony when a Jewish boy turns 13
Bris - ritual circumcision
Catskills - a hilly region of upstate New York known in the past for Jewish-friendly resorts (kosher, High Holy Days accommodations, many iconic comedians started out there)
What me worry…
Cracked Magazine disappeared a few years ago too I also read them although they have a successful website and YouTube channel.
Too bad but meh I outgrew both.
Cracked was a feeble ripoff of Mad. Mad was the gold standard.
Pushed a secular, liberal viewpoint as far as it could be pushed, but it was intelligent, insightful, witty, urbane, socially conscious, and far more wholesome than many of today’s media creations. I credit Mad and Felix Unger with making me into an urbanite. When I would walk with my suit and briefcase to my high-rise apartment building, I could feel the muse of both Tony Randall and Bob Newhart. (Think of the opening credits.) Though I have retired to a smaller city with a vapid local newspaper, no mass transit other than buses, and I have my doubts that you could find a decent knish. But at least I have a lawn and I don’t share a wall with anyone.
And Felix and Oscar were not gay. Quite the contrary. Nothing whatsoever gay about their situation. But my father still didn’t like me to watch it when I was a kid. He didn’t think it looked right. Product of his generation.
Who’s calling that furshlugginer thing wholesome?
Notably, Mad was equally happy to skewer both he radicals and the establishment–and at the same time, if it could manage.
Its primary purpose is to hold cream cheese together . . .
Compared to South Park, Sex and the City, the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise, and so on, it was almost puritanical. No foul language, no nudity, very strong messages against drugs, smoking, alcohol abuse, consumerism, and so on, all told, more of a good influence than a bad one. And no one escaped their skewering. Sure did help me make sense of the 60s and 70s. I knew who Abbie Hoffman was years before I heard him speak at my university.
Some purists would say no. I go with either cream cheese, butter, or both.
It was a one-liner to include the word that they used so much in place of actual vulgarity . . .
Oh, horrors. Cream cheese is better without butter. While eating it without something to hold it together might indeed be the purist position, most of us (although some are grudging) permit something edible, such as a bagel, to hold it together.
OK, fershlugginer. I get it now.
OK, OK. I put cream cheese on toast or an English muffin, and I use cream cheese the way many people use mayonnaise, as a sandwich topping. I have been unable to eat mayonnaise ever since a bad incident in college with a canteen sandwich and a microwave. Don’t ask.
I was in junior high, around 1958. The first issue I bought was #46, I think. I read it regularly, and saved the issues for 20+ years. While getting all the reprint pbs, a few omnibuses, and some MAD material. There were giants in those days. Harvey Kurtzman, Will Elder, Jack Davis, Wally Wood, George Woodbridge. And, of course, Don Martin. I tried to emulate him. And, late in his life, ordered some signed material from him He offered to do an original sketch. I waited too long; he died. I was going to get one of my all time favorites. Anyone remember “PULL DOWN - TEAR UP” ? But I did get Frank Kelly Freas to sign a few covers, and Al Feldstein to sign an editorial page, and a reprint of an EC comic.
Memories. I never did find out where to get a pair of Don Martin hinged shoes.