Sadly, MAD magazine is coming to an end (more or less). After 67 years of publishing, it will now only be releasing new material once per year. Otherwise, MAD magazine will be reprinting old material.
MAD magazine has a special place in the hearts of many. It’s irreverent and unapologetically political, calling out everything and everyone. Here are five facts you should really know about Mad magazine:
1. “Weird” Al was a guest editor
MAD named “Weird” Al Yankovic as their very first guest editor, which seems like a match made in heaven. He brought in several celebrity contributors, including Patton Oswalt and Seth Green. According to Entertainment Weekly, MAD is responsible for setting him on the “dark, twisted path to becoming who I am today.”
2. Fred Astaire danced as Alfred E. Neuman
Yep, this actually happened. Fred Astaire decided to do a dance number on a 1959 TV special made up as Alfred E. Neuman. There are really no words. I’ll just leave the video here:
3. The unknown origin of Alfred E. Neuman
No one really knows where Alfred came from. He was an advertising mascot for several brands in the early 1900s, and he may have his roots in comics as far back as the 1890s. Harvey Kurtzman, founder of MAD, claims he spotted Alfred on a postcard and named him after composer Alfred Neuman.
4. The creator of “Spy vs. Spy” was accused of being a spy
Antonio Prohias, the creator of “Spy vs. Spy,” was born in Cuba and started his cartooning career there. He was an award-winning journalist in Cuba, and once Fidel Castro came to power, his cartoons began criticizing Castro’s policies. This lead the government of Cuba to accuse him of working for the CIA. Prohias resigned from his newspaper job and eventually immigrated to the U.S. He spoke no English, but his daughter helped to translate, and he walked into the MAD magazine offices, showed his work, and was hired on the spot.
5. MAD didn’t run ads for four decades
One of MAD’s best features was its hilarious satire ads. They took on cigarette makers, shampoo ads and more. To be able to truly skewer advertisers, they decided not to run real ads, making the magazine an expensive proposition (most magazines make their money from ad revenue). MAD finally had to start running ads in 2001, but its satirical ads continued.
What’s your favorite MAD magazine memory?