Al Feldstein 1925-2014

feldstein Feld

Al Feldstein, the man who took over MAD in 1956 and turned a cult magazine into a cultural phenom, passed away on April 30. Prior to MAD, he was an editor, artist, and writer for many of E.C. Comics’ most popular horror and science fiction titles. His work on that alone is enough to make him an important figure in the shaping of popular culture in post WWII America. It turns out, that was just an opening act for Al as MAD was soon to come along for him and he once again had a profound effect on American culture.

When I first decided to actually move forward with this project, Al was my first interview. Who better to learn about the history of MAD than from a man who was there from the very beginning. I had the pleasure of interviewing Al twice for this movie – he was such a wealth of information and had wonderful stories to tell. Two interviews later, I still had a million questions for him that I never had the chance to ask.

My sole intent for this movie was and still is meant to honor those who were involved in the creation of MAD. I am saddened that he won’t be able to see the final outcome.

 

There’s no business like slow business

Editing is moving along. Each sound bite from all of the interviews have been broken down to individual clips. Each clip is lined up against other clips to hopefully tell the story of MAD. It’s a fun, but time consuming process. It’s quite exciting to see and hear a sequence come together.

We’ve also completed the first of what we hope to be a few “faux-cumentaries” that will introduce some of our segments.

We have also begun in earnest our search for any photos, videos, home movies related to MAD. A picture of you reading MAD as a kid? We’d love to see it. A home movie of you dressed as Alfred for the prison halloween party? Send it our way.

That’s it for now. Hopefully we’ll have some big news to report soon!

1950's OPEN 1950's OPEN2

 

MAD in the 1950′s – sort of…

Photos from the MAD shoot – what happens to children when they read MAD!

Scenes from the documentary "When We Went MAD"

Scenes from the documentary “When We Went MAD”

Scenes from the documentary "When We Went MAD!"

Scenes from the documentary “When We Went MAD!”

A gang of idiots invades New York!

We have just returned from a grueling, and by grueling we mean fantastic, excursion to New York where we interviewed 14 (count ‘em!) MAD artists, writers, editors, art department-ers – anyone who would sit down for us long enough to stick a microphone in their face!

The list of interviewees:

John Ficarra – Executive Editor

Sam Viviano – Art Director

Ryan Flanders – Associate Art Director

Charlie Kadau – Senior Editor

Jacob Lambert – Associate Editor

Dave Croatto – Associate Editor

Tim Carvell – Head Writer “The Daily Show”, MAD writer

Paul Coker – MAD legend/artist

Tom Richmond – MAD artist

Teresa Burns Parkhurst – MAD writer/artist

Peter Kuper – MAD writer/artist

Richard Williams – MAD artist

Drew Friedman – MAD artist

Tom Bunk – MAD artist

Not too shabby!

Let the transcribing begin!

One of MAD’s Finest joins us!

I am thrilled to announce that TOM RICHMOND – one of MAD’s finest artists and proud member of the Usual Gang of Idiots – has offered to produce the artwork for the When We Went MAD! poster.

Tom has been with MAD for thirteen years (you think he’d have found a more respectable job by now) – which puts him right up there with the MAD greats – Mort Drucker, Angelo Torres, etc.

This is a tremendous offer – as a MAD fan, I can’t tell you how excited I am to have a real Idiot represent our project!

Of course, this is all provided we reach our goal – 9 days left and much more money needed to be raised.

Help us out! – Make a contribution today and tell your friends:

WHEN WE WENT MAD! KICKSTARTER – CLICK HERE!

11 days to go!

During this campaign, I’ve had the great opportunity to chat with many MAD fans, young and old,  and from around the world – everyone telling me that this is a really cool project and they are excited to see it’s completion. People with direct ties to MAD have approached me with a desire to talk of their love for MAD. I’ve gotten to hear so many stories from people who fondly recall MAD as a part of their childhood. Fo so many, MAD was a great moment of youth captured and bundled into 48 pages of fun.

There is no doubt in my mind that there are enough people out there to support this project even beyond my goals. So that can only mean one thing – I haven’t found enough ways to reach those people. I’ve got a publicist working on drawing more national attention to us – and hopefully we can pull it all together in the 11 days remaining.

In the meantime, I’ve been running a few numbers – and it so happens that we currently have 177 backers and need about $35,000 to reach the goal. If my math is correct (and that is highly suspect), if each current backer was able to get just 8 more friends/family to contribute $25 – we’d reach the goal. Now, I’ve been suckered in to those “get 5 friends to sign up for such and such and get a free iPod” (true story) It’s a pain and also rather off putting to ask your friends to commit to something for your own benefit – but maybe this is a little different in that each $25 contribution does get a DVD of the finished film. I’ll just throw that out there and see where the wind carries it…

Thank you for your continued support and… wish us luck!

Alan

http://kck.st/VRFb5P

A Call To THUMBS!

We are halfway through our fundraising but only 21% in to reaching our goal. Daunting, but doable – provided we line up a “heavy hitter” or two to help us out. I’ve been tweeting several comedians, actors, etc. with the hope of getting their attention and enticing them to jump on board or share the project with their minions. But, truthfully, what are the odds of my tweet being singled out from the volume of tweets these famous people receive every day? Zippo. So here’s a thought: what about a twitter bomb? What if each and every one of you fellow MAD folk send a similar message to a select group within a day? It has to increase the odds of being seen, right? Right?

The scheme:

Send this tweet to Howard Stern:

@HowardStern MAD Magazine doc on @kickstarter http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1438570989/when-we-went-mad-a-documentary-of-ecch-ic-proporti needs help! Share this to see MAD’s story get told! #madmagazine

make sure there is a space between @kickstarter and http

Then, replace the @HowardStern with one name from this list, one tweet at a time per name -

@ebertchicago @jimmyfallon @juddapatow @funnyordie @pattonoswalt @sethmacfarlane @stephenathome @thedailyshow @thelonelyisland @ThatKevinSmith @nerdist @TheEllenShow @cklouis

Who knows? Maybe we’ll actually get a response, and not the personal restraining order kind. And look at it this way – if we do get a response, you can say you had a chat with “so and so…”

I know you’ve given so much already. I didn’t think I could get any lower than actually using Twitter, but to ask others to send a tweet on my behalf… ugh. I’m just trying every avenue to see this project through. Let’s try to do this TODAY, Thursday Jan 24.

Thanks, Alan

 

History in the making

My motivation for this project was two fold: First, I wanted to meet my heroes. The artists and writers of MAD, the Usual Gang Of Idiots, having seen their names printed above so many articles that entertained me as a kid – I grew to look beyond the written word and image, I wanted to learn more about those responsible. Secondly, as time went on, I would see the occasional interviews regarding MAD – in newspapers and magazines, and every so often on television. But they were short interviews, a gloss over in seven minutes or less. And few and far between. The 60 minutes segment, perhaps the most well known and in depth video document of MAD was 12 minutes long and 26 YEARS AGO.  There are so many more faces and stories behind MAD and I took it upon myself to get the stories before they are forever silenced. MAD is as much a  chronicle of American history and culture as TIME is, albeit from a slightly different angle. That angle fascinates me.

Media Darling

This has been a busy week for getting the word out on When We Went MAD! Earlier in the week, I recorded an interview for Detroit’s NPR station WDET 101.9, which will run today, and yesterday I had a nice four minute segment pitching woo on Detroit’s FOX affiliate WJBK channel 2. I think both went well, despite my attempt at looking TV cool and addressing the camera when I just ended up looking at nothing. That being said, it felt good to be able to express directly my love of this project and why it’s important. Check out the PUBLICITY page to see and hear the interviews.

New and improved gifts for your pledges!

We’ve improved the pledge gifts offered! In an effort to make it easier to get a DVD and a T-shirt, we have adjusted the gifts per category as such:

$10 donation – stays the same

$25 donation – instead of a digital download of the movie, we’ve replaced that with a DVD of the movie. Much nicer, you can actually hold a DVD and proudly show your friends and family what you helped bring to life.

$50 donation – everything included as before, but with the addition a DVD instead of a digital download, and a mini-poster of the movie.

$100 donation – everything included as before, but with the addition of the mini-poster and a T-shirt.

$250 donation – everything included as before, but with the addition of the mini-poster, T-shirt, and an invite to the premiere of the movie.

$500, $1000, $5000, $10000 donation – everything included as before, but now with the adjusted $250 donation.

These changes cover both previous backers and future backers. We hope this make sense and that everyone likes these improvements.

We have included a new statement describing these changes on the Kickstarter site:http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1438570989/when-we-went-mad-a-documentary-of-ecch-ic-proporti