Do you know that not more than a year ago, I was visiting Hammond, I was walking down the street, and who came out of the A and P, looking even more high-octane than ever before—Patty Remaley. My first thought was, don’t even notice her. But she looked at me and said, “Why, Jean, how are you?” She remembered me! My god, there’s still hope!
I said, “Hi. Gee, Patty Remaley, how are you?”
She said, “How are you?” She said, “Why, you’ve grown.”
I said, “Heh, you know, heh, those things happen. The sun hits you and you grow.”
We stood there for a minute. I thought—should I pour it all out? Then I said, no, no, I’m a grownup man. I said, “Good seeing you, Patty.”
She said, “Do you still have that red corduroy hat?”
I said, “Yeah.”
And we walked our separate ways. April Fool’s Day.
So “April Fooled” (as I’ve titled it) is the story Shepherd used,
in a recorded audio from a decade past,
to end his WOR broadcast career after 21 years.
Yes, he was unhappy.
One can only wonder exactly what he felt
as that story played:
“Why have they done this to me?”
[END OF “APRIL FOOLED”
NEW STORY COMING.]
TALES CALCULATED TO DRIVE YOU MAD
Around the time when Congress was beginning to complain about “sex-and-violence in comics,” and a book appeared, Seduction of the Innocent, decrying the influence of comics, I believe that EC Comics got worried, and, with the staff of witty writer/artists, came up with Mad, which would appeal to the same more advanced adolescent minds. (A few years into it as a comic, Mad changed format and, for me, lost some of its wit and much of its visual art. It became Mad Magazine, so it could no longer be persecuted as a “comic.” It was still funny, but less witty as it continued its burlesque of modern American culture. I kept up my subscription to beyond issue 100.)
Ad for the first issue of MAD Comic,
on the back of the front cover
of a late 1952 Two-Fisted Tales.
Covers of Mad‘s first issue and its “art” issue of 4/1955
Mad captivated a certain strata of youngsters who had a higher-than-average interest in words and ideas (including myself, I blushingly note.) As I put it in the intro to my EXCELSIOR, YOU FATHEAD!:
As a kid in the higher reaches of grammar school and early high school, I had the good fortune, along with countless others, to encounter Mad comics, which opened a kid’s eyes by making fun of our culture’s assumptions, clichés, fads, fancies, and popular arts—just at an age when a kid first begins to realize (but has not yet fully articulated) that the world constructed by parents and other adults has inconsistencies. In college I found Jean Shepherd.
Mad stories were quirky, funny, ironic, and usually made fun of the usual kid “comics” and other cultural items seldom criticized by mainstream adults–or even most kids.
For example, in “Blobs!” by Mad artist Wally Wood, one sees the future, in which everything is done for people to the extent that they can no longer even move around by themselves. One character worries that they will be in big trouble if the main machine that does everything breaks. His friend says it will never happen. At the end, the main machine breaks and the two are flung out of their motor-driven seats and are seen, upside down on the floor, conscious, but not mobile. A spider casually spins a web from one of their noses.
MORE MAD-NESS TO COME