Tom Koch, a veteran writer for MAD and yet another of the “old guard” I never got a chance to meet, passed away back on March 22nd. I’d have posted about this earlier but I didn’t seen any decent obits about him until today.
Tom was a comedy writer for television and performers, and worked in the 50’s with the well-known comedy team Bob & Ray. His first few assignments for MAD were for the short-lived “Bob & Ray” feature in the magazine, featuring some of the earliest MAD artwork from a young, up-and-coming artist named Mort Drucker, back in 1957. He continued to write for MAD regularly until the early 90’s. He did a lot of TV writing over his career, for shows like “The Lucy Show” and “My Mother the Car”.
Tom’s biggest hit for MAD was easily the classic “43 Man Squamish” article in MAD #95, illustrated by George Woodbridge. It was a parody of the convoluted rules of team sports. The article gained quite a following, with several colleges attempting to play the game by the impossible rules Koch had dreamed up, and sending in pictures to MAD of their teams. It remains one of the most remembered and referenced MAD articles… according to MAD’s post on Tom’s passing, “43 Man Squamish” “remains MAD‘s most requested reprint”. If you’ve read any of the MAD parodies of the Harry Potter films, you might have noticed writer Desmond Devlin giving a nod to Tom by replacing “quidditch with “squamish” throughout.
Sorry I never got to meet Tom. He wrote some very funny stuff over a long career.
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918 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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