Thursday, September 19, 2013

BOOK REVIEW! SING ALONG WITH MAD, written by Frank Jacobs and illustrated by Al Jaffee (Signet, 1970)

Following on the heels of last week's MAD paperback atrocity comes this 'un from the same flea market batch (which at least yielded some better early-sixties magazine reprints), this time a collection of song spoofs 'n musical skits written by longtime MAD contributor Frank Jacobs and drawn by Al Jaffee, who did a much better job of it during his HUMBUG and TALL TALES days.

Again, I must admit that the show tune and pop spoofs that permeated MAD during the sixties and beyond never were my favorite part of the mag, and one reading of this book'll show you why. Sheesh, some of this is so contrived that even those cornball if dirty takeoffs you hear via "classic rock" drivetime radio and the Capitol Hill Pantcrappers come off illustrious in comparison.

Well it does starts off better'n either you or I woulda expected with a "hip" take on MY FAIR LADY (this time with a clean cut butch teenage auto mechanic being turned into a rabid antiwar rockstar), but that was lukewarm at best and it goes downhill pretty zip-like from there. You know, with the usual swipes from everything from THE SOUND OF MUSIC to WEST SIDE STORY (if those two Broadway productions didn't exist the writers at MAD would be in deep trouble trying to come up with musicals to spoof) that were already way overdone a good ten years earlier. Do I have to go on and tell you just what a drag this collection of page filler and outright rejects are to the point where you can just feel all of those letters to comic fanzines nationwide mentioning just how lame MAD had become since Harvey Kurtzman left???

Note to original owner Brian Davis (name marked inside front cover)...yeah I paid for this book along with many others of yours, but if you'd like it back you are most certainly welcome to it. To be honest about it I get the feeling that Davis, now a fairly successful day laborer who is looking forward to taking an early retirement next year, is chortling over the fact that it was """""I""""" who got stuck with this atrocity and will spend the rest of my life agonizing over its placement amid much better sixties/seventies satire and comic offerings in my ever-moldering collection. Kinda shows just how MAD influenced a generation to become snide, sarcastic, back-stabbing cutthroats now, don't it!

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