BALLYHOO and MAD Magazine
- A major inspiration for this exhibition was MAD Magazine. First published by William Gaines as a comic book in 1952, MAD, originally edited by Harvey Kurtzman then by Al Feldstein from 1957 to 1985, was the spiritual successor to BALLYHOO, a humor magazine (published on and off between 1931 and 1954) aimed at a college-age readership. BALLYHOO was one of the first periodicals to publish trenchant parodies of cigarette advertisements.
- After converting to a magazine in 1955, MAD continued this tradition, parodying cigarette advertising and mocking the tobacco industry for decades while most print media, including The New York Times, TIME Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and Newsweek courted tobacco companies for their lucrative cigarette advertising dollars in full-page ads in theUS Tobacco and Candy Journal, an industry trade magazine.
- MAD, which did not accept advertising in its eight issues a year from 1957 to 2001, ridiculed the industry’s health claims for cigarette filters, weak warning labels on cigarette packs, and tobacco industry executives who testified in Congress that nicotine is not addictive. At its peak in 1974, MAD achieved a circulation of 2.1 million. The rise of the internet deeply cut into print magazine readership. MAD ceased publication in 2018.