Mad Magazine -Alfred E. Newman my long lost love!
The Local Smoke Shop
My First intro to Mad Magazine was when my Father would bring them home and I would see him giggling like a fool as he read each page. For some reason unknown to me at the time he would first go to the back of the magazine, fold the page in some strange manner and again giggle like an idiot! Upon inquiring about this strange action he showed me what was up. "Watch this " he'd say and before my eyes there was visual trickery! The picture I was originally seeing turned into something else entirely different just by folding the page and connecting two little arrows together that pointed to each other..I was HOOKED!
From then on I would make sure to get my own copy of Mad Magazine and in fact could not wait for the next issue to come out! About a week before I would start to anticipate it's arrival and had my Mad Money all safe and secure and ready to go and buy it at our Local smoke shop under the "L" train station on Ditmars Blvd!
That freckle faced guy on the cover
At first I didn't pay much attention to it. Then after a while I started to notice that the same guy's face was on the cover every month! In fact he would often dress differently or even be of different ethnicity! What the heck was this all about? I soon realized he was Mad magazines idol, mascot, P.R. person , Cover Boy whatever you wanted to call him he was the "it man" and that it man's name was officially "Alfred E. Newman" I finally knew the freckled face kids name...OFFICIALLY! This made me an honorary fan of Mad magazine...well at least in my own mind. Soon after I got to know his motto "What me...worry?" who couldn't love that?!!! My attraction grew stronger and stronger!
The Excitement was overwhelming me thinks!
Oh Boy!!!! I knew my new Mad was sitting on the stand ready to be picked up by yours truly...as soon as I walked the 20 blocks to get it at "the Smoke Shop"! that's where everyone got their magazines at the time. My pace would quicken as I got closer, my heart racing with anticipation! "Oh God don't let all those people wanting Mad as much as I do fiddle with the stack of Mad magazines and mess the pages all up and crinkle the paper!" I must get there before that all happens! I could see the shop now in front of me, just a few more feet and ...I'm there! Walking into the shop you can smell the aroma of freshly printed magazines all stacked in rows, neatly! First you would pass the home decor ones then the how to ones then all the teenage mags like "Teen Beat" with David Cassidy and Donny Osmand staring right at you! and then...and then....MAD MAGAZINE!!!! I would first see the cover..."Hmm, looks like an interesting one this time around"...then I would go to the last page of course "Wow this is going to be a doozy!" ...then I would quickly flip through the pages and scan the topics...SOLD! I would proudly walk over to the cash register where a stubby weathered man chewing on a stubby weathered cigar leaned on the counter and looked less than interested that I was going to pull out my 35 cents and buy my monthly issue of MAD , I would pay the stubby man the money and off I went to MAD heaven!
Hold my calls PLEASE!!!
Candy bar in one hand and Mad in the other I proudly pranced as quickly as I could down my block and shot up my stairs and straight into my room I would go to begin to travel into MADness! My door would stay closed which meant DO NOT DISTURB under ANY circumstances! In reality it meant to everyone else especially my little sister to come in every five seconds to see what I was doing! And worse to ASK what I was doing!!!
I would quickly shoo them all away and secure my door with my body sitting right in front of it, I could hear my sister breathing on the other side of the door waiting for her spidey sense to tell her I had moved and she could dart through it again but NO! I was there for the duration! I would sacredly go through every page in awe, reading and looking at those great illustrations, the movie reviews, Spy Vs Spy, the tiny little comic strips in between the panel sections! With each turn of the page my hunger for satire would be satisfied and I would be left with a smile on my face..but wait...at the end...that special treat...THE FOLD OVER!
Are my MAD days over?...Me thinks NOT!
Many things have changed since those days of yo'yo's and candy bars and Mad magazine! Rollerskating with those metal skates that had keys are certainly non- existent now a days. Are my MAD days over as well? Have I left my Alfred E. Newman in the dust? Have I lost the zest for Spy VS Spy? Sadly I don't run to the news stand like I use to to pick up my latest copy nor do I religiously await the coming of the next copy however every once in a while when I pass a news stand or a magazine rack in a grocery store I suddenly stop as my eye automatically scans the rack for that freckled faced guy and when I do find him I pick him up and embrace him with a long lost "Hello" and I purchase that copy of MAD! Though some of the writing has changed as well as some of the original illustrators and the pages are different now...different material ...I still LOVE MAD as much as I ever did and probably will until I pass on to MADville myself! If you love satire and haven't checked out MAD magazine ever you have to take a look see. There are new publications and you can even find vintage ones as well on the Internet. If you can pick up a collectible one on the Internet I can tell you its definitely worth it , it wont be 35 cents anymore but comparably it will still be "CHEAP" as they would state right next to their copy price on each issue. Get a copy, sit in front of the door in your room, don't allow anyone to disturb you (especially your little sister) and giggle until the people from the crazy farm come and get you! FOREVER MAD!!!!!