Mad #198 (Albert Feldstein) - UPC Issue - April 1978

If I had to use one word to describe the Mad editors, it would be "nonconformists."  This issue marked the first mandatory use of the Universal Products Code for supermarket scanners and the editors of Mad let the world know that they were not happy about it.  They put the code in the middle of the cover (6 in. by 7 1/4 in.) with the hope that "... this issue jams every computer in the country ..."  The jokes continued on the inside with a three-page article by Henry Clark.  But, let's face it, bar codes are just not that funny.  The editors continued to show their outrage on the covers of issues numbered 199 through 216 until they finally succomb to the inevitable.  The best of the UPC cover jokes was the lawnmower in Mad #210.

The better article in this issue was "The Dip" which was the Stan Hart/Mort Drucker movie parody of The Deep.  The gang plunges into new depths of underwater silliness.  Along the way, they swim past four other movies (The Spy Who Loved Me, The Poseidon Adventure, Jaws and Airport '77) and their favorite television show, Sea Hunt.  The page-four introduction also previews the feature parody for Mad #199 - "The Spy Who Glubbed Me."  [JAM 8/10/2010]

Departments:
Bubbles, Bottles And Boobs - The Dip
Don Martin - One Morning in a Drugstore; Around Noon on a Movie Set; One Evening in a Bus Station
Vittle Issues - Food for Thought
Code Front Moving In - When the U.P.C. Symbol Takes Over Completely
Torture of Learning - School Supply Catalogue
Minority Retort - Kids' Fresh New Comebacks to Parents' Tired Old Comments
Joke And Dagger - Spy vs. Spy
Bent Offerings - Some Legendary Wire Hangers
Berg's-Eye View - The Lighter Side of Fire
Seller Beware - Warranty Questionnaire from the Purchasing Public
Establishmental Anguish - You Can't Beat the System
There Goes the Neighborhood - Ten Little Businessmen
One to a Customer - Mad's One-Time-Use Products
Counter-Schlockwise - Alas

Fold-In - Whale