Trivia / MAD

Trivia related to the magazine:

  • Banned in China: One page containing a strip mocking the British royal family had to be ripped from 25,000 copies manually before that issue could be sold in the UK. Though they have relaxed their attitude on such jokes since then.
  • Defictionalization: Some people actually play "43-Man Squamish", a Calvinball-esque game invented by the mag in the 60s.
  • Executive Meddling: Mike Snider revealed in his now-defunct blog that his first approved piece for the magazine, a parody of "A More Humane Mikado", was greatly altered by the editors, who felt that The Mikado would be too unfamiliar to readers. As a result, the parody barely scanned to the song at all.
  • Follow the Leader: The magazine's success inspired a succession of copycats, including Cracked and countless others, many of which even had Expys of Alfred E. Neuman as their mascots (and many of which lasted for only a few issues). William Gaines supposedly kept a voodoo doll that had pins marked with the names of Mad knockoffs; by his death in 1992, only the Cracked pin remained.
    • Gaines even launched his own rip-off, Panic.
  • Old Shame: Mad lent its name to an Animal House-style comedy, Up the Academy. After it did poorly at the box office, Mad was quick to disown it, and wrote a two-page satire of their own movie, which ended with the entire staff fictitiously quitting in shame. William M. Gaines also paid Warner Bros. $30,000 to remove every reference to Mad from the movie. However, following being more integrated in the Time-Warner corporate culture after Gaines's death, (as compared to their relative freedom under Gaines during the Warner Communications/early Time Warner years), the references were restored on all recent TV airings and the DVD. Despite this, it's still Old Shame to the Mad staff.
    • Some characters in parodies refer to their previous roles as such. In the parody of "Eraser", Arnold's character is asked to "erase" some of his co-stars' previous roles, and he tells them to wait until he's done with his own.
  • The Other Darrin: Many recurring features have changed artists and/or writers:
    • Frank Kelly Freas, who did the majority of the early magazine covers, left in 1962. After his departure, most of the covers went to Norman Mingo, although several other artists pitched in too. When Mingo died in 1980, cover duties went to whoever was available (although a large number into the early-mid 90s were done by Richard Williams). Starting in the early 2000s, Mark Fredrickson has done virtually all of the covers.
      • Notably, Mingo conceived the cover to issue #212 (Alfred skiing and crashing into a tree), but never finished it before his death. It ended up being drawn by Jack Davis instead.
    • After Antonio Prohías retired in 1986, Spy vs. Spy went to other artists. Bob Clarke drew the work from 1987 to 1993, usually with Duck Edwing writing the gags. After Clarke quit, George Woodbridge did two installments in 1993 with uncredited writers, then Dave Manak took over art duties until 1997, again with Edwing usually serving as writer. Other writers who pitched in during Clarke's and Manak's tenure included then-editor Andrew J. Schwartzberg, and Michael Gallagher, who worked with Manak on the first issues of Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog. (Manak and Edwing also handled a very short-lived Sunday Strip adaptation of Spy vs. Spy in 2002.) Peter Kuper has drawn the feature since 1997, and does the majority of its writing.
    • This has also shown up in Monroe and..., which was originally drawn by Bill Wray (the same one who worked on The Ren & Stimpy Show in the 1990s). After a short retirement, the feature was briefly revived with Tom Fowler as the artist before retiring again. The change in artists was supposedly because Wray (who, like most of the staff, has plenty of work outside the magazine) had very little time to draw and color the strip on time, meaning that he had to do a rush job.
    • Mike Snider's "Celeberity Cause-of-Death Betting Odds'' was originally drawn by Thomas Fluharty for seven of its first eight installments (the seventh, in #364, was done by James Warhola instead). Hermann Mejia then drew it for the rest of the run, except for issues #370 (Warhola again), #375 (Fluharty again), and #398-#401 (Jon Weiman). The feature was retired with #417, made a one-time return with #423, then was revived starting at #455 with Jack Syracuse as the artist. After Snider quit the magazine in the mid-2000s, the series has been uncredited.
    • Also present in the Star Wars parodies of the first six movies. Dick DeBartolo and Nick Meglin co-wrote the A New Hope parody, with Harry North as the artist; the next four had just DeBartolo writing and Mort Drucker drawing. Inexplicably, the Revenge of the Sith parody switched to David Shayne for the writing and Hermann Mejia for the art, and The Force Awakens parody was drawn by Tom Richmond (except for some Call-Back panels from the A New Hope parody) with newcomer David Richards writing.
  • Outlived Its Creator: Bill Gaines passed away in 1992, but the magazine is still in business. (He's still credited as the "founder" among "The Usual Gang of Idiots".) Also, Spy Versus Spy creator Antonio Prohías retired in 1987 and died in 1998, but his strip still appears in the magazine, originally written by Don "Duck" Edwing and drawn by such artists as Bob Clarke, George Woodbridge and Dave Manak; currently, the strip is scripted and drawn by Peter Kuper.
  • Technology Marches On: In their article "The 50 Worst Things About the Internet", one of the captions showed a family huddled around their tiny computer monitor watching a movie on Netflix, while their big beautiful flatscreen TV sat in the living room unused. The issue came out in 2009; nowadays there are multiple ways to stream video sites through your television (even back then, the family could have plugged the computer into the TV with an HDMI cable if they really wanted to). Hell, many TV's now have wifi connectivity, eliminating the need for a middleman altogether.
  • Too Soon: Issue #411 (November 2001) was originally supposed to have a cover featuring Alfred mistaking crime scene tape for the finish line of a race. The cover was deemed insensitive after 9/11, so it was hastily pulled and replaced with a stock Alfred image photoshopped to have an American flag in place of his missing tooth. A few copies of the original cover supposedly got out, though.
    • According to this interview with Fold-In artist Al Jaffee, he created a Fold-In themed to the 2012 theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, and the editors decided that it was in poor taste, and 600,000 copies were shredded to cover it up.
  • The Wiki Rule: The MAD Magazine Wiki.
  • Writer Revolt: A running joke in the magazine, and somewhat true behind-the-scenes occasionally.
  • Write What You Know: Dick DeBartolo was working for Mark Goodson Productions when he was tapped to write the Family Feud parody. Naturally, he took that opportunity to knock down every trope that show presented (and submitted the parody under a pen name).
  • You Look Familiar: Certain contributors have returned after a long gap. Most notably, Will Elder and Harvey Kurtzman returned to illustrate some articles in The '80s, and artist Joe Orlando, a semi-regular between 1957-1969, returned for four articles in 1997.

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