Lost MAD TV Special

June 19th, 2007 | Posted in MAD Magazine

Back in February I posted a few video links to some animated Don Martin cartoons. In it I mentioned a MAD TV special from 1974(ish… that is in dispute) that never aired. As the story goes the TV genius who commissioned the show wasn’t very familiar with MAD, and he and the network were surprised by the tone and adult nature of the humor and did not air the completed show. I wrote the following:

Speaking of MAD TV specials (not the sketch comedy show), apparently there exists a never aired, 30 minute MAD TV Special pilot from the mid 1970s. This special was supposedly commissioned by a producer or executive who was not familiar with MAD’s humor, and ended up axing it from airing because he found it too ‘adult’. With input from MAD editorial staffers Larry Siegel, Stan Hart, Tom Koch, Earle Doud, and Don “Duck” Edwing, the special features the first animated Spy vs. Spy, some Don Martin animated gags, other animated shorts and even a movie parody “The Oddfather” featuring Mort Drucker‘s work. The features were taken from various issues of MAD from 1963-1973. A complete synopsis and breakdown can be found here.

Apparently you can get bootleg copies of the special on DVD from various shady sources, but no official version exists. I’ve never seen it, and it’s so obscure it isn’t even on YouTube!

I should have more faith in YouTube and it’s legions of copyright ignoring uploaders! Here is the opening of the show as it was never seen in the 1970’s:

There’s a lot more actual animation in this clip than I was led to believe was present in the show. It has been described as being more of a series of animatics using the static images directly from the magazine, but there is a genuine attempt at more complete animation here. Maybe that’s just for the intro… I’ve never seen the actual show. The pause near the end is for the voiceover of the local sponsors of the show. The fact that it is a long and awkward pause with a hanging, blinking Don Martin cartoon man instead os a list of sponsors is the funniest thing about the clip. It’s like saying “Sponsors? Anyone? Anyone? Buehler?” … too bad there aren’t crickets chirping instead of the silence. By the way, I am in no way endorsing the purchase of a dvd of the show from the advertised website, as I have no experience with said seller. Caveat Emptor.


  1. Philbert says:

    Thanks for the clip, Tom. You know, it kinda had the feel of what might be best described as an American “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.” In tone at least. More sophisticated humor than what TV viewers were getting at the time with a little rebellious streak that would have gone over well, I think, if the network had chosen to air it. Using the Mad artists in lieu of actors would have been outstanding!


New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550

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