MAD lost another longtime member of the Usual Gang of Idiots this past week with the passing of Paul Peter Porges at age 89.
Porges led a very interesting life. Born in Vienna in 1927, he fled the Nazis as a child via France before being captured and placed in a deportment camp. He escaped by hiding in a garbage collection and was smuggled into Switzerland, where he studied art and met his future wife, Lucie. After the war he emigrated to the United States along with his parents, who themselves had survived a Nazi concentration camp.
While serving in the US Army during the Korean war, Porges drew cartoons for military newspapers. After his service he started doing illustrations and gag cartoons for magazines including the Saturday Evening Post. While he contributed occasionally to The New Yorker, his work was seen more often in Playboy and MAD. He began working with MAD in 1965 mostly as a writer, contributing more and more frequently through the 60’s and 70’s both as a writer and wrtier/artist. By the 80’s most of his work in MAD was as writer/artist, and his whimsical, expressive and energetic style became a fixture in the magazine through the mid 90’s. He contributed over 200 articles to MAD.
I was lucky enough to meet “PPP” at a MAD holiday party (back when they still had MAD holiday parties) in NYC probably in 2002 or 2003. He was a friendly, gruff, coarse, animated and outspoken guy who was very funny in person, either because of what he was saying or because he seemed to be doing a dead-on Victor Borge impression at all times. His wife Lucie was the polar opposite–elegant, soft spoken, very urbane and sophisticated. They were a textbook example of how opposites attract, and as I understand it were devoted to each other. Lucie passed away not very long ago. I barely got to say more than just to introduce myself, but I’m glad I can say I met them. Rest in Peace, PPP.
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