MAD Magazine has been around for a long time, and was both an influence on and/or a favorite of, many kids who later grew up to be famous/influential professionals in film, TV and other entertainments venues. As a result, every once and awhile when I do a TV show or movie parody in the magazine, one of the producers, directors, writer, stars or some other person involved in the creation of the show ends up being one of those kids who loved MAD, and contacts the magazine looking for the original artwork. I am happy to sell it to them, but I always offer them a good deal in exchange for a little perk… I send them an over sized print of the splash page and get signatures on it from those depicted. It doesn’t always work out, but when it does it is pretty cool.
One of my favorites is the one of “A MAD Peek Behind the Scenes on the Set of the Sopranos” that appeared in MAD 422 (see raw art above). That one I didn’t think would work out because of the timing, but… well, here’s the story:
I was contacted through MAD by one of the producers of the show. He was a huge MAD fan from way back, and wanted not just the original art, but to get a print of it for each of the cast members—I think we wanted a dozen or so. I got permission from MAD to get prints made, went to a local printing house to arrange it, and got the prints done… plus one. I asked the producer if I sent an extra one, if he could get a couple of signatures on it for me. He apologized that they had just wrapped the current season, and production on the next season was not scheduled for 16 or 18 months. However, he said to send the print and he’d have it signed when they started up again.
I sent the print along with the others, but did not have high hopes of getting it back signed. That was a long time to try and keep it on this person’s radar. I had sent a few prints out like that to other shows/people (who shall remain nameless) and never saw them again.
To my great delight, about a year and a half later I got this in the mail, signed by almost all the major cast members (missing only Edie Falco):
Of course, the best signature was James Gandolfini’s, who added a very Tony Soprano comment:
That makes me laugh every time it catches my eye. RIP Mr. Gandolfini.