Wednesday, May 4, 2011


original cast album
The MAD Show was the 1966 off-Broadway musical review at the brand NEW New Theatre on E. 54th St. The show's book was written by MAD regulars Larry Siegel & Stan Hart, with terrific music by Mary Rodgers (daughter of Richard Rodgers), and featuring lyrics by Marshall Barer, Larry Siegel, Stephen Sondheim (writing pseudonymously) and the young British Steven Vinaver, who also directed the show, although one "Alfred E. Neuman" is credited with "conceiving & directing the entire production" in the show's publicity. The show was a huge hit.
 This is the album cover art for the original cast recording, illustrated by the legendary MAD artist Jack Davis.

MAD show poster
The original day-glow poster for the show. One adorns my studio,  a prized possession.

Linda Lavin sings "The Boy From...", Music by Mary Rodgers, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim...

From LIFE magazine

"A carnival of caterwauling and idiots in fright wigs" chimed one critic, the show had incredibly innovative, fast-paced, burlesque-like rapid-fire gags, black out sketches, giant cartoon cut outs (via Don Martin and other MAD "usual gang of idiots"), giant word balloons, dangling feet and various limbs. This photo appeared in a LIFE magazine spread about the new, comic book influenced TV and Broadway shows of 1966 (Superman, Batman, etc)...

 ...and features left to right: Macintyre Dixon, Dick Libertini, Marcia Rodd, and Jo Anne Worley. The cast also included Paul Sand, & Linda Lavin, The show was a hit and the original production would run for 871 performances at the New Theatre.

Newspaper ads for the new hit show

The Original "Showcard"
From MAD magazine Photo by Irving Schild
Back cover ad parody for MAD, featuring Jo Anne Worley, then starring in The MAD show, along with suave MAD associate editor Jerry De Fuccio. The MAD Show and director Steven Vinaver (who died very young) would have a huge influence on the conception of "Laugh-In", NBC TV's wildly successful comedy/variety show debuting two years later and featuring Worley as one of it's regular cast members.
MAD show Tab button 
Showcard credits page (no, not that "The Band")
Meet the cast: Left to right: Linda Lavin, MacIntyre Dixon, Paul Sand, Dick Libertini & Jo Anne Worley

Dixon and Libertini 
My two brothers and I had the thrill of watching and loving The MAD Show, squeezed into the lighting booth at the New theatre in late 1966, (I was seven), as our dad's play, the "tense comedy" "Scuba Duba" was in rehearsals, originally planned to be directed by Vinaver, (eventually directed by Jacques Levy), starring Jerry Orbach, and becoming the next hit show at the New Theatre.

Paul Sand and an overweight Alfred E. Neuman 
These MAD Show tiles were given to cast members

           Recording the cast album: Dixon, Libertini, Worley, Lavin & Sand.

Joanne Worley
Linda Lavin

The MAD show was a hit, but not all the critics loved it. Review from the NY Daily News
The 1967 MAD Show Softball team, which included some notable MAD magazine fans:
L to R: Top (circled): MAD magazine production man Len Brenner, George Plimpton, MAD Show writer Stan Hart, Godfrey Cambridge, Paddy Chayefsky, Jason Robards, George C. Scott. Middle (left) Alan King, Bottom: Woody Allen, Tom Wolfe

New York Mayor John Lindsay congratulates MAD show
 team captain Stan Hart on their win.
The published script
Side one of the (Nonbreakable) LP record

Another program cover
Playbill for a later NY production in the park

Ad for the 1967 Los Angeles production at "P.J.'s Theatre" (still there?), this time featuring comic actor Alan Sues who'd later also be cast in "Laugh-In". As for Bob Harvey & Carol Morley, read some of the comments below.

from the LA Free Press
LA article about Alan Sues appearance in The MAD Show

after the MAD show opened in Los Angeles, this full page ad appeared in Variety

A Chicago production

ad for a 1967 London Production

yet another cast including Libertini, possibly the London production.
Some more MAD SHOW info can be found here:


  1. The best kiddie show host - Uncle Al The Kiddies Pal!

  2. I'm really enjoying this blog. It may put Facebook out of business!

  3. Here's a little on Carol Morley:

  4. An impressive list of credits for Bob Harvey, including the Jerry Lewis Show!

  5. Thanks, nice to learn about them!

  6. I remember seeing that picture in LIFE magazine and being so turned onto the fact that it seemed to be in a room (rather than a theater). I also LOVED the cartoon cut-outs. I found it very inspiring and started making my own out of giant pieces of cardboard and hanging them around my room. Thanks for bring that memory back!

  7. My dad took me and some friends to see The Mad Show with the original cast, and years later I had the pleasure of working with Macintyre Dixon (we called him Fred). What a guy. He and Dick Libertini were a great early-sixties comedy duo.

  8. I also remember when this was running. I was pretty young, but I loved the era. Off-Broadway was bursting with energy and innovation. I wish I had seen this show; I know I wanted to at the time.

  9. The life magazine picture of the cast was later used as the basis for the cover illustration of the first cheap paperback edition of A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole which came out in the the summer of 1981.

    1. Thank you, Joel. Finally--affirmation, confirmation, and maybe even vindication. As a born-too-late, having never seen the LIFE magazine article, it's the summer of '81, I'm standing in in a bookstore in California PA at a paperback rack looking at the cover of the Toole mass market, having never heard of him & not knowing a thing about the book, flummoxed as to why Jo Anne Worley was on the front cover.... With no commercial internet to lean on, about 15 years later I discovered the LIFE issue in a used book store & that helped explain it.
      Sorta?....Also, in 1985 I taped "The Gift of Maggie" which I was hearing for the first time on a Pittsburgh radio show that did a fabulous two-hour Christmas comedy theme. I knew it was Worley but didn't know what it was from until years later when I bought the soundtrack LP.

  10. Impressive softball team! For writing. Not sure if they could field.

  11. My friend and i saw this show on a trip to NYC -We were in high school and had very little money so we saw this show. met and talked with Jo Anne Worley in the lobby after. she seemed like she reall wanted to know if we liked the show (we did)