Monday, July 22, 2013

Jack Davis's Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

In anticipation of the 50th anniversary coming up in Nov...

In 1963, the cartoonist/comics artist/humorous illustrator Jack Davis was hired by United Artists to create the poster art for the Stanley Kramer all-star comedy It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Jack Davis had drawn several movie posters prior to being hired for MMMMW, but this one was huge, the film becoming a blockbuster, and forever established him as the king of comedy film posters. When Fantagraphics' Gary Groth and I interviewed Jack in 2011 at the Brooklyn Comics festival he confirmed that this was the assignment that forever changed the course of his career, it was the game changer.
with the  great Jack
Davis in Nov 2011
(photo by Ryan Flanders)

Jack Davis became the go to guy, the most in-demand artist of comedy film posters throughout the sixties and seventies, arguably the most successful and popular film poster artist of all time, and undoubtedly, the master of the chaotic, over- crowded crowd scene. The film has also had an afterlife for Jack Davis. He'd create several variations of the poster over the years, as well as the wraparound art for the LP album, and several other fun spinoffs...

The original film poster

B&W version used for the film's press book and newspaper ads

click to enlarge

another version of the poster

an ad for the film's LA premiere

ad for the NY premiere

larger look at the B&W version

cover to the LP album

the front & back covers

Click to enlarge

sheet music

a display for record stores

a later poster variation created for the film's re-release in 1970

a German poster

later newspaper ad

TV Guide ad for the film's first TV airing

an early video cover

Soundtrack CD

Jack Davis created this later cover piece for the RCA Videodisc release in 1983:

Jonathan Winters who co-starred in the film, had Davis create this cover parody of
his film poster for this 1964 album cover

in 1964, Jack Davis, who hadn't done work for MAD magazine in nearly
 a decade, made his triumphant return by parodying the very poster he created for this
wraparound MAD paperback

And his most recent images created for the Criterion release:

Jack Davis's recent career anthology from Fantagraphics, using his
 "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" poster art on the cover

thanks to Ed Edo Dennis & Stephen Kroninger


  1. Always nice to read another Drew, Drew, Drew, Drew blog. Well done!

  2. Your profile pic looks like Burt Mustin. Lol