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MAD Magazine poked fun at everything - and changed the world. A peek behind the scenes at this culture rotting institution.
MAD Magazine poked fun at everything - and changed the world. A peek behind the scenes at this culture rotting institution.
606 backers pledged $58,193 to help bring this project to life.

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Catching up...


Well, after a bit of momentum via a great interview with "Weird" Al Yankovic, we thought this summer was shaping up to be fruitful. We were on our way to our next interview - contact was made and we made our pitch. Unfortunately, it turns out MAD was not a major influence of our targeted guest - who would have thought! So, we struck out there, but the search continues. We are sending out more requests for interviews, and hopefully we'll get a few bites.

On a positive note, we have tracked down some tremendous footage of the MAD staff at work in 1978. It has great interviews with Bill Gaines and Al Feldstein, but to see the likes of art director John Putnam, production man Lenny Brenner, and associate editors Nick Meglin and Jerry DeFuccio is amazing. Let's hope the licensing fee gods look down favorably upon us when it comes time to tally this thing up.

As the eternal wait to land a few more interviews drags on, we continue to edit and plan for further B-roll shoots. As this has taken far longer than any of us would have imagined, we've decided to keep the flames of interest glowing with some short "Moments of Mad-ness". These will be minute long pieces taken from the interviews we have collected so far. Seeing that Sergio Aragones recently celebrated a birthday, we thought who better than to kick this off. So have a look and hopefully we'll have some positive responses to our interview requests so we can move this project ahead!



Gettin' Weird

Weird Al talking all things MAD
Weird Al talking all things MAD

Well that went well. 

This past holiday weekend we took a trip to the Traverse City, Michigan to have a sit down with Weird Al Yankovic, who was performing. Being overly cautious, I waited until I had the hard drives in my hands before I posted this update - didn't want to get hopes up if it didn't come together. The whole experience came together rather quickly - a couple weeks from getting permission to interview him to finding a location relatively close to us (he's on his world tour).

Al was terrific! We grilled him for about a half hour and he had great insight into MAD's influence on him and his career. He seemed truly interested in the subject and in relating it to us, despite having performed six nights straight, the last being in Milwaukee, leaving at 2 AM and arriving in Traverse City at 10 AM. 

This was a big get - and now on to the next... 


We've reached "epic" territory


Hi all!

A quick update on the state of WWWM! - 

1. For the first time we have a complete start to finish rough edit of the movie based on the current footage we have. This is, as far as I'm concerned, a big deal for us! The story of MAD and it's influence is told from its inception to current (relatively) day. Here's where the "epic" part comes in - the running time is at a brisk 3 hours or so. Now, as I watch it, I can't get enough of this story - 3 hours just flies by for this MAD fan. That being said, I'm fully aware that this movie shouldn't rival COSMOS for screen time. We're aiming at 100 minutes or so - and THAT's probably too long. What this all means is - let the chopping commence!

2. We're prepping the insert shots of kids reading MAD in various eras. The most difficult thing in putting this together was finding a drugstore style magazine rack. Whoda thunk? (thank you Craigslist)

3. We're also planning our final (hopefully) trip to L.A. for a handful of interviews. 

If everything comes together - this summer will be very fruitful in wrapping up the filming portion of this production. Send us some good juju!

Thanks as always,


No excuses - just apologies


Flat out - I've been neglectful. I have taken too long to keep you updated with the project. And for that - I am truly sorry. I can easily see how this can look to everyone who has contributed to this project, and so I look to make amends and a promise. I won't let this happen again. I haven't been timely with the updates because I haven't had much to update lately, I'm embarrassed to say. But with that, I know it's no excuse and I won't make that mistake any longer.

Here is where we are: When We Went MAD! is still in production. Progress is infinitesimally slower than I imagined it would be at this point, but our budget is so tight - I am at the mercy of the "paying" schedule of the wonderful professionals who are helping us out. I am doing my best to avoid cutting corners on this and that means waiting it out for time to become available with the crew. 

That being said, The main editor is sending me updates fairly regularly - and I see a great story coming together. MAD's history is coming to life through the very words of its creators and it is thrilling. And although I am saddened at the recent passing of MAD writers Lou Silverstone and Tom Koch, we are so very lucky to have interviewed them and their stories feature prominently in this film. 

I edit on a daily basis, scan and place images, tweak cuts, and when I'm not editing, I'm seeking out photos, and always looking for production help to join the project and spread the responsibilities. 

We have a big shoot in the works: material we will use to bridge the decades of MAD - kids reading MAD at various stages of MAD's existence. We are a few major props and a couple cast members from shooting that. (anyone know where to get a large magazine rack - as seen in drugstores and supermarkets? No commercial supply houses seem to have them in the Detroit area)

We are starting to schedule the last couple non-celebrity interviews; hopefully we'll have those nailed down in the next few weeks.

We are still in the hunt for those elusive celebrity interviews. A handful seem like we can get them with just a last little push from those contacts we've made. 

This project has been filled with lulls and bursts, and it's been very challenging to keep the lulls as short as possible - again, something that is a by product of having such a small production team.

I hope this at least alleviates some of the concerns and perhaps anger at the scarcity of reports. I want this to be a project every one of us is proud to have supported, and I certainly don't want to let any of you down. 

We'll talk SOON.

Thanks as always,


let's hope this snowballs...


FINALLY! We have a reason to celebrate in this loooong process of producing When We Went MAD!

We just returned from New York where we interviewed our first celebrity who was willing to claim MAD had an influence - Gilbert Gottfried, the cleanest act in showbiz.

We needed this - it was starting to look a bit gloomy - getting close to a celeb, only to have the rug pulled at the last second. Well, this time we were able to see this through. Gilbert was very kind to sit down with us and gave us some very good material to work with. I have to thank Frank Santopadre, a terrific comedy writer (and writer for MAD - whom we interviewed after Gilbert) for hooking us up with GG. So we have our first celeb. Let's hope this snowballs into a few more who see our project as having a bit more credibility, knowing that there are some names behind this.

We also had the opportunity to sit down with MAD legend Al Jaffee for a bit. He's 93 and as sharp as the X-Acto blades sitting in his art drawer, if he has one. 

Frank S. was our last interview - and he provided some great insight into what it's like growing up as a MAD fan and then moving on to being a MAD writer. 

Finally, just a little bit more of your time to fluff our feathers... the current issue of MAD includes a page with three caricatures; MAD writer Dick Debartolo and... When We Went MAD! producers Alan Bernstein and Doug Gilford! Had I known that all you needed to do to get into MAD was to spend five years or so producing a documentary on them - I would have started this when I was 7. Doug is the drooling knucklehead with the MAD t-shirt and I'm the straight jacketed knucklehead behind him. Either that or I'm the image just to the right of the crying baby - the artist never did specify...

 Anyway, if this was MAD's attempt at getting us to overlook the rough spots in it's history... it would have worked - had we made the cover. This is good, but only enough to for us to remove the 130 minute segment we had in mind comparing MAD to CRACKED, issue by issue. 

Next up, we're preparing for some studio shoots, and we'll start working on nabbing the next celeb.

Final update - from the technical end of the spectrum: we've been in a bit of an editing holding pattern as we make the switch from Final Cut Pro 7 to Adobe Premiere Pro CC. It's not a good idea to jump ship in mid edit - but we felt that FCP7 had reached the point of impracticality that we could no longer work with it knowing there was better software out there and moving over to it would only delay us a bit.

That's it for now. Thanks as always!