Mad #223 (Albert Feldstein) - Dallas Issue - June 1981

Future Mad Art Director, Sam Viviano made his first drawing for Mad with the cover of this issue showing Larry Hagman (as J.R. Ewing) with a gun to his head.  Viviano became art director for issue #381 (May 1999).  The television parody by Lou Silverstone and Mort Drucker took the page-four position in the magazine that is usually reserved for a movie parody.  Hagman, son of Peter Pan actor Mary Martin (1913-1990) from her first marriage, was better known by me as the major who found Jeannie (Barbara Eden).  Drucker takes us on a wild ride through the misadventures of the dysfunctional "Phewing" family that includes unlikely encounters with the Lone Ranger, Tonto, Don Rickles, Ayatollah Khomeini, Mean Joe Green, Ilie Nastase, Ms. Eden, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Henry Kissinger, Bella Abzug and Billy Carter.  I never watched the Dallas show but I was a big fan of I Dream of Jeannie.  This issue also featured the debut of prolific Mad writer, Mike ("Michael J.") Snider with a forgettable Mikado parody ("A 'Let the Punishment Fit the Crime' Up-Date").  Other parodies in this issue ("The Old Gray Line/The New Gray Line" and "Extraordinary People" were rather tedious and unfunny.  [JAM 11/21/2010]

This was also the last issue to recognize John Putnam as a Mad staff member.  Putnam was the only member of the production staff to stay with Mad when editor Harvey Kurtzman departed after issue #28.  Maria Reidelbach (Completely Mad) explains: "Over the years the group grew to know each other well, and this intimacy made the events of the 1980 trip to Germany all the more painful.  John Putnam became sick with a severe cold that, because of his childhood tuberculosis, quickly developed into pneumonia.  When it was time for the group to return to New York, Putnam had grown too sick to be moved, and George Woodbridge volunteered to stay with him until he recovered.  The illness wore on for six weeks as his condition deteriorated.  Several attempts were made to fly Putnam back to New York; once a jet was specially chartered, but it became obvious that he was not to recover.  On November 29, Putnam died.  Several days later Woodbridge flew back alone, ending an era at Mad."

Look for Drucker's pig-in-a-blanket in "Dullus" and Bob Clarke's ponytail-jockey and telephone-slot-machine in "New Inventions to Make Old Inventions Practical."

Creep in the Heart of Texas - Dullus
Don Martin - One Morning on a Street Corner; One Afternoon in the Far East; Late One Evening on Death Row
Getting It Off Their Chest - T-Shirts Through the Ages
Patent Blending - New Inventions to Make Old Inventions Practical
"Point" of Order - The Old Gray Line
"Point" of Disorder - The New Gray Line
Edifice Wrecks - The Mad Sale of Expendable American Properties, Landmarks and Monuments
Berg's-Eye View - The Lighter Side
Poetic Justice - A "Let the Punishment Fit the Crime" Up-Date
No Confidence Game - How Can You Possibly Believe ...?
From Hero To There-o - Unsung "Crossings"
Hokey Focus - Still More Candid Snapshots of Historical Celebrities
That's the Way the Kookies Crumble - Extraordinary People

Fold-In - Oscar