Mad #218 (Albert Feldstein) - Throw Up The Academy Issue - October 1980

According to Mr. Neil Wahlert: " ... issue #218 ... I considered for many years as the WORST ISSUE ever, because of many things, but most obviously (apart from Dave Berg discontinuing his coverage of just one topic), the fact the Mad staff was eating manure on account of the film flop "Up the Academy," an aborted two-page spoof that took the place of the normal letters section ..."

I am not sure that this was the "worst issue."  I think the worst one probably occurred some time after Al Feldstein stepped down as editor.  Although this issue was certainly not the best, I found some portions that I liked.  The Larry Siegel/Mort Drucker movie parody of Being There was very good.  Although Arnie Kogen's television parody ("WKRAP in Cincinnati") was probably not as good as any of the actual WKRP episodes, I did find my zeppelin there (but still no aeolipile) and the return of the RCA dog.  I liked the Sergio Aragones marginal drawing of the King Kong switcheroo and the drunk's tie by Jack Davis in "Advertising Makes You Wonder ..."  I also liked Sergio's drawing of Publisher Gaines in "The Shadow Knows" and the twelve appearances by the Pink Panther in "Being Not All There."

Issue number 218 was not the first be printed without a letters page and, the letters have not always been on page two. For example:

Comic issues 1-23 had no letters page.
Original editor, Harvey Kurtzman put the letters on page 4 for the first issue (#24) where they also stayed for issues 25-26, 29-41, 43 and 45.
The letters appeared on page 6 in issue #27.
Double issue #60 had two letters pages, one on each end.
Issue #72 reserved the inside cover for "10th anniversary letters" but was blank except for a small paper-clipped note.
Issue #90 had a blank letters page with the words: "nobody wrote!"
Issue #101 had 17 fake partial letters.
Issue #157 had a blank letters page with the words: "nobody dared write!" (in reference to The Godfather parody in issue #155)
Issue #178 had twelve horse drawings in place of the letters.
Issue #196 printed just one letter with examples of foreign editions.  [JAM 11/3/2010]

Departments:
Up the Brass - Mad Magazine Resents "Throw Up The Academy"
Vidiot's Delight - Being Not All There
Don Martin - One Day in the Life of a Tennis Pro; One Day in the Life of Some Salesmen
X-Posed - Another Collection of Mad X-Ravings
All Kidding a Snide - The Mad Nasty Book - Volume Two
Berg's-Eye View - The Lighter Side
Catch As Cachet Can - Sneaky Mad Tactics To Get People To Open Junk Mail
Free For All - A Mad Guide To Cheap Pastimes
Ad Insult To Injury - Advertising Makes You Wonder
Joke And Dagger -  Spy vs. Spy
Lexi "Con" - The Mad Dictionary of Cliche Parental Terms
We Got Your Penumbra - The Shadow Knows
A-M/Ecch-M - WKRAP In Cincinnati

Fold-In - Jeans