Humor Mags #4: MAD Behaving Badly

Let me make this perfectly clear - every boy growing up in the seventies read MAD (and Cracked and Crazy - the Heavenly Trinity).  And let me make it also clear that these magazines weren't necessarily aimed at minors.  Looking back at my old mags, it's interesting to note how inappropriate they were for a young impressionable mind like myself.  But then.... they didn't give a shit back then.  Children weren't insulated quite like they are today.

Anyway, I've covered this ground before, so I won't rehash it.  But, paging through a stack of old MADs, I began to notice a pattern: if there was a sex scene or nude scene in a movie they were spoofing - they were damn well going to include it!

So, here's a handful of panels of cinematic naughtiness from MAD that a generation of us kids grew up on.  Be sure to read the speech balloons because they often have a humorous jab at the scene itself.  So, enjoy!

Summer of '42 (1971)


The Way We Were

Billy Jack

The gal in Billy Jack wasn't exactly a looker, if you'll recall.  But it was the seventies, and nudity was required.

Animal House

Diamonds are Forever

Kramer vs. Kramer

Who doesn't remember that bit of gratuitous nudity from JoBeth Williams?  MAD certainly took note.  Here's the next panel...


Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Risky Business

Bob, Carol, Ted and Alice


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  1. What about "Shmoe" and "A Crockwork Orange"?

  2. I remember when MAD parodied "An Officer and a Gentleman"; in one panel, you can see a nipple. My friends and I studied that panel a long, long time.

  3. I remember a bit Mad did about newspaper comic characters shown bare-assed. I found it very appealing as a kid but now I see how completely pervy that was.

  4. "Kids are insulated today"? Are you joking?

    1. Well, yes and no. I need to do a whole post on the topic. On the one hand you had sitcoms and other media of the 70s and early 80s dealing with things way beyond the pale (rape, molestation, etc. on shows like Family Ties and The Facts of Life) and other adult topics on After School Specials and so forth.

      However, kids today who are sitting in front of MTV and various reality shows are being inundated by sleaze the far surpasses my wildest nightmares.

      So, that's a long way of saying my statement is a bit off base.... but it depends. It's a complicated issue analyzing what are kids are exposed to, but I see your point.

  5. Mort Drucker was the greatest. He knew how to bring out the character the celebs he skewered. I loved the paperback editions of Mad, the were like a best of the early Mad articles. Nick

  6. One of my favorite Mad pieces was the ABC Campus Riot of the Week. There was also a great one called The Mr. President Contest where the President was chosen like Miss America.

  7. "The gal in Billy Jack wasn't exactly a looker, . . . ."

    However, she WAS living with the stat of the movie at the time, which got her the part.

    Great post.

  8. Yes! I remember the Billy Jack and Bob, Carol, Ted, and Alice spoofs. Probably still have them. Jeez, I need to dig this stuff out and read it again. It's been far too long.

  9. I remember when I read Mad for the first time as a young boy in the seventies. One of my older teenage cousins was babysitting me, and he took me to his buddy's house. The buddy had a big collection of Mad that he let me read, while the older guys were in another room smoking pot. I had no idea Mad was aimed at kids, and thought I was reading something illicit like Playboy.

  10. Hmmm...MAD was one of my first sex educators!

  11. Around 1972, my neighborhood pal and I (we were both about 7) laughed hysterically over a MAD parody of "Captain Kangaroo," and its use of the word "toilet." We were stunned.

    Kids today can never know how irreverent and "naughty" MAD was! Parents barely tolerated it, seeing it as an inevitable corrupting element of growing up for kids then...Just like that first issue of PLAYBOY that once figured into every young man's "rite of passage..." MAD was VERY racy stuff then! CRACKED and the others leaned toward kids wanting yet another HAPPY DAYS parody....

    MAD was also the ONLY thing that told kids and young folks to watch out for politicians, TV, religious heads, government, teachers...To be aware that EVERYTHING is farce, and to make up your own mind..

    They say kids today don't need it, because today's pop culture itself is nothing but irony and self-awareness...

    Al Bigley

  12. In the late 1970s I memorized every issue, paperback, and Super Special of MAD available, and those reprints went clear back to the 1950s comics. Even at age eleven I could tell MAD was much more sophisticated than CRACKED, and CRAZY wasn't even worth a look. I gave up comics for video games in junior high, but that "usual gang of idiots" was some of the most talented people in the business.

    Debate rages when - or if - MAD jumped the shark. When it became a magazine in 1955, when circulation peaked in 1973, when William Gaines died in 1992, when it accepted advertising (my vote), or when it got its own TV show?


    1. Ugh, the TV show. I dunno, I never saw many issues past the late '70s, but when I did see them, I didn't recognize the artwork or the attitude. It sure wasn't the Mad magazine that started it all.

  13. Back in the 1976, I was in New York City, and decided to visit the offices of my favorite magazine, National Review. We walked there. The secretary said there was nothing to see, just offices, and sent us on our way. We also walked to the offices of Mad Magazine. They were very gracious to us, and seemed thrilled to have visitors. They showed us around, and I think we even saw the publisher in his office. I appreciated their hospitality.

  14. Neat article. I read nearly every one of those. One that ought to have been included here was the take down of the opening sequence from the Six Million Dollar Man. Something about the scientists claiming they can make him better and faster, and the woman in the panel saying that sometimes faster wasn't always better. Had me puzzled for a few years.

  15. AnonymousMay 14, 2013

    The punchline now is that Cracked has taken over the reign as the king, thanks to its namesake website. When the magazine folded in 2006 or 2007, nobody had any idea that the resulting website would become the largest comedy website in the world a few short years later. Granted, it's a completely different format, in that 95% of its articles are fact-based.

    1. The punchline is that one media outlet "beat" another one, even though they're completely unlike in format, content, style, or the thing they are? There hasn't been a victory this magnificent since "Seinfeld" beat "Calvin & Hobbes."

  16. AnonymousMay 23, 2013

    Great post. Mort Drucker rocked! Hey and don't forget National Lampoon. . .

  17. Red Sam RackhamSeptember 06, 2014

    I want to see the Captain Kangaroo talking like Don Rickles from MAD magazine which is what I came here looking for. ☺