National Lampoon Parodies 1971 - Douglas C. Kenney (1947-1980) and Henry N. Beard

January 1971 - Women's Liberation Issue

(Karen Murphy) Cosmopolatin - Editor Helen "Cleveland" Brown rambles through a stream-of-consciousness editorial to introduce this 15-page parody of Cosmopolitan.  "Cosmo" gives some advice about latest trends: black men, Don Rickles and spin-the-bottle.  Farm girl, Bessie Mae gets a complete makeover.  Book reviewer E.B. Bromberg gives short reviews of the New English Bible and four other unlikely books for single women.  Francine Frump skewers Jackie O.  Michael O'Donoghue (1940-1994) is the man in the center with a houseplant.  And a man quiz and some liberated girl stories.  All in all it's a very good magazine parody but how would I know?  [JAM 2/2/2010]

February 1971 - Head Issue

(Kenney, Joe Orlando 1927-1998 & Mike Olshan) Classy Comics Illustrated (Siddhartha by Herman Hesse 1877-1962) - In this parody of Classic Comics, Kenney presents an updated interpretation of the Hesse classic as Siddhartha and company roam the country seeking truths.  The cover drawing by Orlando shows Sid reaching the outskirts of Nirvana after visiting Valhala, Utopia, Atlantis, Shangri-La, Lethe Natural Springs, Olympus, Miami, Disneyland and Woodstock.  Inside, Sid and Govinda are disillusioned after reading many "holy books" including Catcher in the Rye, Stranger in a Strange Land, Trout Fishing in America, Cat's Cradle, Lord of the Flies, I Ching and Lord of the Rings.  Sid's travels take him many places ending at the river of truth.  The comic book ad by Olshan is for "PFL" (pre-frontal lobotomy).  The $4.95 kit consists of an ice pick ("icepicculum") and some chloroform.  There is a money-back guarantee if you can remember it after the procedure. [JAM 2/10/2010]

(Anne Beatts and Michael Choquette) Rolling Stein - This short (four pages) parody of Rolling Stone ("December 19, 1791) takes us back to the 18th century when Mozart (1756-1791), Beethoven (1770-1827) and Haydn (1732-1809) were the rock stars.  The result is interesting but not so funny. [JAM 2/10/2010]

March 1971 - Culture Issue

(Kenney and Daniel Maffia) The Undiscovered Notebook of Leonardo DaVinci (1452-1519) - This is one of the most inventive parodies from the clever mind of Mr. Kenney.  With the help of French artist Daniel Maffia, Kenney presents some DaVinci inspirations previously unknown to the world.  The first page shows the "Hulus Hoopus" that can be used to alleviate "Eccesso Obesito Del Gross Stomacchi" (fat stomach).  Other inventions are the giant mousetrap on wheels, the bat signal, a UFO ("Una Volante Pizza"), the "poo-poo cushione", the squirt gun, "La Personalle Vibratoria", the telephone booth and filtered cigarettes.  Apparently, Leonardo was also the first to suggest a heart-transplant procedure involving "mio cane Fido" or "mio stupido e gullibilio assistante Mario" as the donor.  The man truly was a genius. [JAM 2/10/2010]

(Rick Meyerowitz) Mona Gorilla - The cover drawing by Meyerowitz is a classic parody of DaVinci's Mona Lisa.

(George W.S. Trow 1943-2006) New York Review of TV - In TV Guide parody format, Mr. Trow envisions the unlikely future of television as a cultural portal featuring "Robert (1917-1977) Lowell's Easter Prayer" and "Norman (1923-2007) Mailer's Wonderful World of Macho."  Susan Sontag (1933-2004) and Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) are the stars of a quiz show wherein "anguished Roman Catholic guests try for fabulous prizes while racing against ... Abraham deciding whether or not to kill Isaac."  I suppose this is really hilarious on some level but it escapes me.  [JAM 2/10/2010]

April 1971 - Adventure Issue [Frank Frazetta cover]

(Michael O'Donoghue 1940-1994 and Frank Springer 1929-2009) Tarzan of the Cows - The greatest of all the parody comics is this Tarzan parody by O'Donoghue/Springer.  Suppose that young Greystoke had been lost in a farm instead of a jungle.  It could happen.  Raised by cows, Tarzan learns the languages of the livestock and grows to be the strong defender of the farm family.  The best line I have ever read is Tarzan's response to Mrs. Kleckley, the farmer's wife, after saving them from the gang of giant groundhogs ("Ooga-Booga").  Mrs. Kleckley said: "How will we ever thank you?" and Tarzan's reply is: "You let Tarzan graze on north forty?"  The ten-page comic book parody includes the obligatory comic book ad for a "Special Forces Assault Outfit" that includes nerve gas and landmines that Junior can use to combat those pesky adults in his house. [JAM 2/11/2010]

(Kenney, O'Donoghue, Terry Catchpole and John Boni) Real Balls Adventure - This men's magazine parody is a rather mean-spirited article aimed at those who are vehemently intolerant toward hippies, "homos" and the counter-culture figures of the day.  The magazine features two fake articles about a sex-education teacher from Harvard and the macho guy who "... infiltrated a beatnik hootenanny for the F.B.I."  The end-page ad offers a kit for those who never want to leave their house again but want others to think that they travel {"The Safer Living Institute - Finish Life at Home").  Unfortunately, these are the type of articles that limited the readership of NL and kept many from the appreciation of their other fine humor such as "Tarzan of the Cows." [JAM 2/11/2010]

(John Weidman) Booblegum Cards - Weidman presents cards of seven athletes focusing on their legal problems rather than sports prowess.  Parody - yes; true - yes; funny - not so much. [JAM 2/11/2010]

 (Orlando & ?) Flim-Flam Flakes - I love a good cereal-box parody.  See the cover of Panic #11 - 1955 ("Wheedies!").  The author of the Flim-Flam box and "The Adventures of Bobby Bardol and the Space Commandos" is not credited but my guess is Henry Beard.  This parody absolutely captures the plight of the young cereal-eater who wants to get something special from the cereal box but not a tiny piece of worthless plastic. [JAM 2/11/2010]

May 1971 - The Future Issue

(Kenney and Michael Gross) National Lampoon 1906 - Curiously, the editors of NL chose its "Future" issue to display an article that parodies itself if written 65 years in the past and projecting what 1971 would be like.  I would much rather have seen NL 2006 or NL 2106.  The Michael Gross cover has a good look but the humor inside seems weak (and racially insensitive).  However, I am not that well versed in turn-of-the-century joviality. [JAM 2/11/2010]

(?) The New York World - This May 12, 1971 newspaper parody presents the news of the planet in a parallel universe where Herbert Hoover (1874-1964) was still president, the U.S. had not entered WWI, Adolf Hitler was a painter, Richard Speck and Charles Whitman were astronauts, automobiles operated on steam & propane, the Bolshevik Revolution had failed, Richard Nixon was a patent attorney and Palestine was known as the "Switzerland of the Mideast."  In sports, the Dodgers had stayed in Brooklyn, the Braves had stayed in Boston, and Arnold Palmer and Arthur Ashe were baseball stars.  This is a clever exercise with infinite possibilities.  These guys were always thinking about weird stuff. [JAM 2/11/2010]

(Springer, Sean Kelly and Michel Choquette) Weerd Tayls May 2571 - In this comic book parody of the 26th century, talking cockroaches rule the Earth.  Because of a strange "tyme warp", the earthlings are invaded by an insurance salesman from the 20th century.  This scary monster wreaks havoc on the peaceful denizens by offering a policy with coverage for "... fire, theft, total disability" and accidentally steps on a few of them.  Although this may not reflect my view of the future, writer Kelly & company are entitled to their opinions. [JAM 2/11/2010]

June 1971 - Religion Issue

(Kelly, Orlando and John Costanza) Utopia Four - Kelly's superheroes fly around in a pie-in-the-sky and seem to be somewhat detached from reality.  The Utopia Four are Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983), Charles Reich, Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) and Kate Millett.  I am sure that the concept of a comic book parody based on these four media stars was promising but the execution falls short.  Superheroes need enemies to make the comic adventure work.  When the enemy is the entire culture of a population, there is no possibility of a happy ending.  [JAM 2/12/2010]

(Tony Hendra) Lamentations II - Who else but the editors of NL would think to make a parody of the Holy Bible?  In "Lamentations II", writer Hendra reveals the misgivings of the scripture author regarding the editing of his manuscript and the numerous lies that were added about the otherwise dim-witted protagonists.  This is a clever rendering of the scripture format that provides fuel for the atheistic fire.  "Verily the truth is as dung to them and they enter into everything." [JAM 2/12/2010]

July 1971 - Pornography Issue

(Choquette, Springer and Charles O'Hegarty) Sherlock Holmes - In an illustrated version of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) style, Holmes and Watson cleverly unravel a diabolical plot by the evil Moriarty to corrupt the future leaders of Great Britain by exposing them to a peep show.  This story includes every adolescent myth about the dangers of self-abuse.  [JAM 2/13/2010]

(Barbara Schubeck) Dick in Jane - This is a very naughty parody of the popular grade-school reading primer.  The young reader will learn some new words to enhance his or her popularity in the schoolyard. [JAM 2/13/2010]

August 1971 - Bummer Issue

(Kelly Freas 1922-2005) What, My Lai? - The Mad magazine veteran cover artist drew Lt.Calley/Alfred E. Neuman cover for the NL Bummer Issue. [JAM 2/13/2010]

(O'Donoghue, Trow and Crag W. Granite) Defeat Comics - The four battling Domino brothers (quadruplets?) are gung-ho guys who join the army after high school to fight the gooks in Vietnam.  They agree to meet after two years and compare notes.  However, this war was not as glamorous as they imagined.  After two years, the four have become a stoner, a drug addict, a deserter and an opportunistic fat-cat.  The comic book includes a brutal parody of the "Save the Children" organization with an ad for "Lt. Calley's Kill the Children Federation" that suggests that some disadvantaged kids are better off dead.  The last page, "Madame Ky's Puzzle Page", also graphically identifies the ugly acts of an ugly war.  Once again Mr. O'Donoghue displays his innate ability to write a story about the worst of human nature in the guise of humor. [JAM 2/13/2010]

(Weidman) Welfare Monopoly - There are seven different ways to be sent to jail in this board-game parody.  However, one can easily get out of jail by "throwing ten consecutive doubles" (occurs one time in 60,394,176).  Players must avoid drug pushers and greedy landlords.  If you are unable to pay your rent, you may be killed by the property owner.  Winner is the last one alive.  A better game parody appeared in Mad #48 ("Bridge") with drawings by Bob Clarke.  [JAM 2/13/2010]

September 1971 - Kids Issue

(Trow, Beatts and Dom Rodriguez) My Weekly Reader - This tabloid for kids spins stories about kids trapped in refrigerators, playground diseases and the dangers of pet hamsters.  [JAM 2/13/2010]

(O'Donoghue and Donna Moody) Eloise - Moody's drawings are excellent and O'Donoghue's story is pretty good about the little girl who lives at the seedy Dixee Hotel instead of the Plaza.  The Heloise books by Kay Thompson were published in the 1950s.  The stories were made into television movies in 2003. [JAM 2/13/2010]

(Kenney and Gray Morrow) B-90 Super Dodo Model Plane Kit - It's a paper airplane.  [JAM 2/13/2010]

(Beard, Hugo Flesch and Dick Hess) Chums in the Dark - In this Hardy Boys parody, the brothers are rather dim-witted and gullible fellows who keep jumping to conclusions about non-existent mysteries.  Their young friends are drug users and prostitutes.  The story is written in an overly-descriptive style with repetitive and simplistic modifiers.  The detective work of our boys backfires as their friends (?) betray them.  Messrs. Beard and Flesch show us how to stretch a non-story into five pages.  However, the real star is artist Hess whose drawings make the parody work. [JAM 2/13/2010]

(Weidman) Death Is ... - The drawings of the Peanuts gang are very good in this parody of the Charles Schulz (1922-2000) book, Happiness Is ... A Warm Puppy.  Certainly, it is dark humor yet rather tame for NL.  Would Lucy Van Pelt really double-dare Charlie Brown to retrieve his kite from a 60,000-volt power pole?  [JAM 2/13/2010]

October 1971 - Back-to-School Issue

(Beard, Kelly, Gross, Boni, Orlando, Ellen Taurins, Ralph Reese, John Romita, John Lewis, Ernie Colon, Al Weiss, Babi Jery and Stewart Schwartzberg) Mad - This is the most ambitious and most accurate parody of Mad magazine ever produced.  The 15-page treatment delves into Mad of the past and Mad of the present exposing a perceived lack of creativity with the current product.  The cover drawing by Romita shows Alfred E. Neuman without his characteristic, goofy smile.  The first major article, "Citizen Gaines" puts publisher Bill Gaines (1922-1992)  in a Citizen Kane movie parody with flashbacks to the days of editor Harvey Kurtzman (1924-1993) and the original gang of zanies.  Artist Colon shows an understanding of Mad jokes replete with caricatures of Mad staffers, the zeppelin, Arthur and the wagon kid of Wally Wood (1927-1981), the greatest comic artist of them all.  The essence of Mad is presented with a parody of a Mad primer parody of Mad, the spies with an obscene Morse Code message, the middle-of-the-roadness of Dave Berg (1920-2002) and a Don Martin (1931-2000) cartoon in Lampoon style.  The parody ends with an Al Jaffeesque "Fold-In" to remind us of the inspired Madness of the 1950s.  In the second year of National Lampoon, (in their way) the NL editors paid tribute to the humor magazine (Mad) that paved the way for all others.  Although National Lampoon had about five years (1970-1974) of funnier although edgier humor, Mad pre-dated it by 18 years and to date has outlived it by 12 more years.  After the genius Kenney died and the other genius Beard lost interest, NL ceased to be competition for Gaines & company. [JAM 2/13/2010]

(O'Donoghue and Randall Enos) Magical Misery Tour - O'Donoghue tells the story of the Beatles with a parody of Yellow Submarine.  The story focuses on the peripheral activities and the media circus avoiding significant comments about the substance of the Beatles - their music.  [JAM 2/13/2010]

November 1971 - Horror Issue (Michael O'Donoghue)

(Kenney) Dr. Jekyll's Surgical Supply Catalogue - This parody of a 19th century Sears Catalog offers intricate machines to facilitate the torture of friends and small animals by mad scientists.  Now I know where Terry Gilliam got some of his ideas. [JAM 2/13/2010]

(Hendra, Frazetta and Neal Adams) Dragula - This comic book parody cover is the second NL drawing by the great Frank Frazetta.  See also the cover of the April 1971 issue.  The "hemosexual Queen of Darkness" is a gay vampire who is the scourge of the city (New York) turning all men into homosexuals with her bite.  There seems to be no hope for heterosexuals until the female editors of Esquire mount a counter-attack.  This story is just so wrong in so many ways.  [JAM 2/13/2010]

December 1971 - Second Christmas Issue

(Hendra, Teresa Cardinal Cooke and Midge Scuzzi) The Story of Jessica Christ - What if Jesus had been a woman?  Leave it to Tony Hendra to write another blasphemous Bible parody.  I like the large font. [JAM 2/13/2010]

(Kenney and Orlando) Boy's Romance - Bespectacled Ted takes a blind date to the prom.  The best part of this comic book parody was the "Atomic Zit-Lifter" ad showing a cross-section of an erupting pimple that includes "helpless villagers."  I am not sure how this short comic book fits into the "Christmas Issue."  [JAM 2/13/2010]

(Beard and Charles Lilly) Gosudarstvennyi Universalnya Magazin Christmas Gift Catalogue - This Russian gift catalog has many useful items including the Znib egg reeducator, a kerosene-steam iron, the "Quick-As-One-Wink" meat pulverizer, electric tooth broom, whisker trowel, motorized saxophone, tractor that operates on 2200 flashlight batteries, combination harmonica-cigarette lighter and a Bulgarian army knife.  Save your rubles! [JAM 2/13/2010]