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And now, today's Thing I Miss - EXCELSIOR, YOU FATHEAD!

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March 23rd, 2009


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09:05 pm - And now, today's Thing I Miss
* Movie posters in the madcap "the gang's all here, and it's wacky chaos!" style of Jack Davis.

Davis, one of the best damn artists MAD Magazine ever had (often partnering with writer Dick DeBartolo to create the best damn film & television parodies MAD Magazine ever ran) did a lot of advertising work. He created the cockroaches that screamed "RAID?!?!?!" before being obliterated, for example. And he also turned out movie posters galore, seeing as how he was a damn fine caricaturist and all.

A typical madcap movie poster would feature the stars prominently in the center while hordes of crazies ran about behind them, often doing stuff you'd get to see in the film if only you weren't a cheap schmuck who won't cough up enough for a ticket! (Hmm. Seem to have channelled certain MAD editors for a moment. So there! Fa!) And boy, were there a lot of crazies involved. So many crazies! Often the crazies got to hold signs, though I'm not sure if that was more of a sign of the late 60s protest culture as it was an overall stylistic decision. (It does help when you don't have word balloons to work with, I guess.)

Other MAD artists got in on this craze, too, such as Jack Rickard. Rickard holds the dubious honor of doing the poster for Up The Academy. I'd say this was MAD Magazine's first and only foray into feature filmmaking, only it was so bad they disowned it and paid Warner Bros. to take their name off the damn thing. Just as it is with the non-film Highlander 2, "Mad Magazine Presents Up The Academy" doesn't exist.

Bad films were par for the course, unfortunately. With a few rare exceptions (such as It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, The Bad News Bears and Woody Allen's Bananas) the films that chose to use these kinds of posters in their promotional campaigns weren't very good. We're talking stuff like Peter Lawford and Sammy Davis Jr's flops Salt & Pepper and One More Time. If you saw a poster like that out, you may have a stinkburger on your hands -- or at least one that just never stood the test of time. (Your decision to be a cheap schmuck then wasn't all that bad. But don't let it get to your head!) I love the poster art, but most of the films I could live without.

The most famous of these madcap posters, the one for Animal House, was not drawn by Jack Davis or any of the Usual Gang of Idiots. It was done by artist and frequent National Lampoon contributor Rick Meyerowitz. Now you know. I hope you can win a bar bet with that knowledge someday.


Internet addendum: See? Some stuff you just can't do on Twitter. I tried it. Didn't work, and Twitter ate 1/3 of my three-message opus. Well!

(12 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:jadasc
Date:March 24th, 2009 01:36 am (UTC)
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Last one I saw in this style was for "Grandma's Boy," which was definitely in this decade.
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From:derspatchel
Date:March 24th, 2009 01:37 am (UTC)
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I may call it an homage. I may not.


but...




was it any good?
[User Picture]
From:jadasc
Date:March 24th, 2009 01:39 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:March 24th, 2009 01:45 am (UTC)
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That's an homage, all right, and it's heartcockle-warming to be sure.

I see that Rotten Tomatoes has declared that the movie sucks out loud, so the tradition holds true!
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From:mmcirvin
Date:March 24th, 2009 02:02 am (UTC)
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I have an unreasonable affection for The Big Bus, probably because it was perfectly pitched to the juvenile-smartass sense of humor I had at the time. Basically, imagine a more leisurely precursor to Airplane! done without the rapid-fire Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker style, but with a more elaborately absurd premise. I doubt it was actually very good, but I find the line "Raise the Flags of All Nations!" funny to this day.

It almost certainly provided partial inspiration for NBC's Supertrain, but I wouldn't hold that against it.
[User Picture]
From:mmcirvin
Date:March 27th, 2009 02:20 am (UTC)
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For contrast with that poster, look at the DVD cover for The Big Bus. That does not make me want to see the movie, even if I like all those people whose giant floating heads they are.
[User Picture]
From:joenotcharles
Date:March 24th, 2009 02:15 am (UTC)
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Please tell me you're not including The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! as part of your stinkfest!
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From:thetathx1138
Date:March 24th, 2009 02:49 am (UTC)
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Oh, Jack Davis.

Someday, I'll do my opus about MAD Magazine. Just the cast of characters is a writer's wet dream. Paul Giamatti IS Lenny Brenner!
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:March 24th, 2009 11:08 am (UTC)
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If you include a chorus of "Fuck You, Bill" in there, I'd watch it a hundred times.

Aw, hell, I'd already watch it a hundred times, but I'd sing along.
[User Picture]
From:thebitterguy
Date:March 24th, 2009 06:18 pm (UTC)
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Oh, wow. I remember those posters, but never knew anything about the creator. Thanks!
From:(Anonymous)
Date:March 25th, 2009 12:55 pm (UTC)

Davis, Rickard, Et Al

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I was a MAD junkie. I knew all of the writers and artists in the same way that some kids (this would be me, also) memorized the musicians from record liner notes. Mort Drucker, Al Jaffee, Frank Jacobs, Davis, Rickard, Don Martin, Dave Berg - all heroes of my youth.

Thanks for the memory, Spatch.

Suldog
[User Picture]
From:pecosy
Date:March 25th, 2009 03:45 pm (UTC)
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Ha, I saw your twitter posts on this an I'm glad to get more of your opus. And I have a overwhelming desire to see The Big Bus.

Twitter can never replace a blog. I think of it as a status thing or when something's not worthy of more verbose treatment. It can work really well for fictional characters (I love me some darthvader) but reals peoples need a blog too. And then the ubiquitous "I just posted in my blog" update on twitter.




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