Online: Punch’s “Time,” 1960

Punch Time, cover.

Parody Of: Time. Title: “Time.” In: Punch, December 14, 1960.
Length: 10 pages, 2 in color. Contributors: Norman Mansbridge, William Hewison (art); no writer credits. Availability: Online right here; print copies scarce but findable.

Punch cover, December 13, 1960

Punch, 12/14/60

Here’s a last-minute Christmas present — all 10 pages of Punch magazine’s 1960 parody of Time. Though it was founded in 1841, Punch didn’t really go in for parodying other publications until Malcolm Muggeridge was editor in 1953-1957. The first and most famous spoof during his tenure was “The N*w Y*rk*r” (April 7, 1954), an eight-page payback for a mauling Harold Ross and Co. had administered two decades before (see “Paunch,” in the Jan. 13, 1934, New Yorker). Other 1950s targets included Radio Times, Reader’s Digest and Soviet humor magazine Krokodil.

Punch Time, pages 2 and 3

“Time” was the only feature-length magazine parody to appear under Muggeridge’s successor, Bernard Hollowood (editor 1958-1968). The next editor, William Davis (1969-1977), on the other hand, presided over a string of spoofs including Playboy (1971), Cosmopolitan (1972) and the Sunday Express newspaper (1973). Later editors seem to have lost interest in the concept, though I confess I haven’t looked at every issue.

Punch Time, pages 4 and 5.

Punch’s parody appeared just before the sea-change called The Sixties began to erode the self-confidence of Time Inc. and other pillars of the Establishment. It’s now a kind of time capsule itself, mocking the casual superiority, breezy omnipotence and unashamed biases of a major journalistic institution at the height of its power and influence. —VCR

Punch Time, pages 6 and 7

 

Punch Time, pages 8, 9 and 10

 

Playboy Parodies 3: Foreign, 1963-2017

Lawboy coverPlayboy has launched dozens of international editions since 1972, but only a handful of foreign parodists have returned the favor. In 1963, students at Toronto’s Queens University Law School put out a 12-page tabloid called “Lawboy.” A collection of local in-jokes printed on newsprint and seemingly laid out at random, “Lawboy” barely qualifies as a Playboy parody, but it deserves a nod as the first to circulate entirely outside the U.S.

French-language Montreal humor magazines Croc and Safarir spoofed Playboy with more panache in 1990 and 2001, respectively. Croc’s 15-page “Playbec” offered an unclothed Jessica Rabbit and an exclusive interview with the Holy Trinity (two-upping 1983’s “Playbore,” which had only Jesus). Safarir’s self-titled spoof began on the back cover with buxom singer-actress Annie Dufresne crossing her eyes behind a feather boa; she also starred in the interview-pictorial that filled six of the feature’s 12 inside pages.

Playboy parodies from Montreal's Croc and Safarir

Toontown’s Jessica Rabbit and Montreal’s Annie Dufresne in Croc and Safarir.

Munich writer Hans Gamber self-published more than a dozen full-length magazine and newspaper parodies in Germany in the 1980s and early ’90s, beginning with a 1984 takeoff of Playboy’s German edition called “Playbock” (literally, “play-buck,” i.e., play money). His later targets ranged from Der Spiegel to the Asterix books; the former grumbled about trademark infringement, the latter took him to court over it and won. Gamber’s last magazine parody in 1992 was a second “Playbock,” notably thinner and less polished than the first. Both mixed original content with translated pieces from U.S. humor mags, including National Lampoon and 1983’s dueling Playboy parodies. Not one to waste material, Gamber later mined “Playbock” and his other men’s mag spoofs for a best-of collection cleverly called “Playback.”

Playbyte in NatLamp and Playbock 2

NatLamp‘s 1988 “Playbyte” and its German reprint in 1992’s “Playbock.”

“Wookieerotica,” from Australia, is a thick, perfect-bound “1970s style men’s magazine” from the Star Wars universe that doubles as souvenir program for a similarly themed burlesque show. The stripping was originally a sideline to the parody: “Since we were creating the costumes [for the magazine photos], we thought we’d put on a one-night show for a hundred of our friends and fans,” director/editor Russall S. Beattie told the Huffington Post’s David Moye in 2018. Star Wars Burlesque debuted in 2011 and instantly sold out; a revised and expanded version has since made five Australian tours and been seen by more than 50,000 people. This past summer, the company made its U.S. debut with a new edition called “The Empire Strips Back.”

Pages from Wookieerotica

Fur, girls, girls and more fur in “Wookieerotica.”

The show’s success slowed work on the magazine, but Sydney publisher Giant Panda King finally issued “Wookieerotica” in 2017 for $50 Australian ($36 U.S.). What that buys is easily the best-looking fake men’s mag ever published; over half the pages are artistic studies of the show’s performers waving lightsabers, posing nude in Admiral Ackbar masks and suchlike fan service. The ads for fake products like Imperial Strike cigarettes and Smirhoth vodka are well-observed, droll and deadpan.

Playboy was the pinup magazine of the ’70s and I wanted that,” Beattie told HuffPo. “I wanted the articles, I wanted ads, I wanted the reviews. Now we took that, and we parodied Playboy just as much as Star Wars.” Actually, there’s very little Playboy in “Wookieerotica” beyond a few borrowed phrases and an eye for female beauty. Most of the regular columns and features are absent; those that remain look more like standard Upscale Magazine Design than anything specific to Playboy or the 1970s. Significantly, “Wookieerotica” is plastered with disclaimers that it’s “not sponsored, endorsed by, or affiliated with” anything connected to Lucasfilm or Disney. There’s nothing similar about Playboy, nor does there need to be.      — VCR

Playboy Parodies, Part III: Foreign

A. Canada
“Lawboy,” Queens University Law School, Toronto, March 1963 (16)
“The Best of Playboar,” Razorback Press, Toronto, 1984 (64 + 4)
—— [reprint], Firefly Books, Willowdale, Ont., 1996 (64 + 4)
“Playbec,” in Croc, Montreal, Dec. 1990 (15)
“Safarir,” in Safarir, Montreal, Aug. 2001 (12 + 2c)
“The Very Best of Playboar: Special Edition,” Playboar Press, 2018 (84 + 4)

B. Great Britain
“Pl*yb*y” (for July 2078), in Punch, July 13, 1966 (4)
“Punch Goes Playboy,” Punch, Nov. 10, 1971 (34 + 4)

C. Germany
“Playbock,” by Hans Gamber, et al., MAYA Verlag, Munich, Winter 1984/85 (106)
“Playbock,” by Hans Gamber, et al., SAGA Verlag, Munich, 1992 (68)

D. Australia
“Wookieerotica,” by Russall S. Beattie, et al., Giant Panda King, Sydney, 2017

Playboy Parodies 2: U.S. Newsstands, 1957-2018

Seven Playboy parody covers

Two competing Playboy parodies; three inside other mags; two from foreign parts.

(This is the second of a now three-part series on Playboy parodies. The first dealt with college parodies; the next will cover parodies circulated outside the U.S.)

Unlike their college brethren, commercial publishers in the 1950s and ’60s showed little interest in parodying Playboy. Theft was another matter: As long as Playboy’s sales kept climbing, rivals tried to duplicate its appeal. The last and most blatant imitation was Ronald Fenton and F. Lee Bailey’s Gallery, which debuted in November 1972, the same month Playboy sold a record 7.2 million copies. Gallery aped Playboy down to the length of the title (precisely seven letters) but succumbed to sleazery within a year or so.

Cover and pages of Plowboy

Cover, ad and bachelor pad from “Plowboy.”.

The outlier was “Plowboy,” issued in 1957 by an obscure outfit in Manhattan called Bannister Publishing. “Plowboy” was the only non-college Playboy parody of the ’50s and the only one before the Harvard Lampoon’s 1966 “Pl*yb*y” with wide distribution. It acknowledges the real thing’s chief Selling Points in a dozen pages of photo-agency cheesecake, though there’s no full nudity and the “Plowmate” is a pencil drawing. The standout piece is a four-page tour of “Plowboy’s Platinum Hayloft” worthy of a funnier and subtler magazine.

Pages from Mad's Playkid

A peek at “Playkid,” Mad #61 (March 1961).

Treating the Playboy fetish for brand names and status as literally childish, Larry Siegel and Bob Clarke put more satiric bite in the seven pages of Mad’s “Playkid” than there are in all of “Plowboy.” There’s nothing smutty or suggestive, Mad being famously prudish in that regard, but the very premise of “Playkid” is radioactive today and may have prompted second thoughts even in 1961: As far as I know it’s never been reprinted.

Pages from parodies in Sick and Cracked

Pallid parodies from Sick (June 1965) and a Cracked special (1968).

Mad wannabes Cracked and Sick also tackled Playboy in the ’60s. “Boysplay,” a 16-page, comic book-size bonus in Biggest Greatest Cracked #4, is touted as a “Lampoon Edition of Playboy” on the cover but looks more like a fast-food giveaway and can’t articulate its own premise, if it has one. Sick’s “Playbore” is the skeleton of a comic idea fleshed out with two-line jokes and slapdash art. Both make excellent arguments for ignoring Cracked and Sick.

Pages from Punch's U.S. Playboy

Hefner, Punch editor William Davis and Trog’s foldout; William Hewison aping Arnold Roth.

“Punch Goes Playboy,” with Norwegian actress-model Julie Ege on the cover, took up most of the English weekly’s November 10, 1971, issue and was reprinted in the U.S. the next fall with different ads and a 75-cent cover price. Trog’s four-page caricature of a nude Hugh Hefner is the visual highlight of both editions, which otherwise suffer from murky printing and lack of color. The writing, by contrast, is dead-on, nailing Playboy’s weakness for deep-sounding thumbsuckers (“Pollution and the Post-Vietnam Ghetto Interface,” by “Dr. Morton Krimhoretz, Ph.D., Jr.”) and workaholic Hefner’s pose as a carefree hedonist: “After a hectic day’s counting,” says one caption, “our November Playmate relaxes among his matchless collection of early American balance sheets.”

Pages from Playdead, 1973

Pages from NatLamp’s “Playdead,” Jan. 1973.

Harvard’s 1966 “Pl*yb*y” was a giant step on the road to National Lampoon, which tried to duplicate the earlier book’s success by running a centerfold parody in its very first issue. (Alas, the result was an unsexy, out-of-focus mess.) NatLamp tackled Playboy twelve times between 1970 and 1988 — more than any other publication — but the pièce de résistance was “Playdead” in the January 1973 “Death” number. Visually, “Playdead” is impeccable, from the Possum logo in the cufflinks ad to Warren Sattler’s full-color fakes of cartoonists Dedini, ffolkes, Buck Brown and John Dempsey. What’s almost shocking, and all the funnier for it, is how natural Playboy’s vision of airbrushed perfection looks in a mortuary. Unafraid of either bad taste (the Interviewee was newly dead Bonanza actor Dan Blocker, silent throughout) or puns like “Playmort of the Month,” “Playdead” is one of NatLamp’s greatest parodies. The mag turned to Playboy more and more as its creative juices dried up, spoofing single features and grinding out formulaic editions for gun lovers and computers.

Covers of semi- and non-parodies.

Semi-sorta spoofs from Howard the Duck and Wings flank covers that promise but don’t deliver from Laffboy and Bleep; below: “Laffboy” pages, Crazy and Girls & Corpses.

The only other publication to run multiple Playboy parodies was Playboy itself, with samples of four unlikely new editions I’ve written about here. Marvel’s Howard the Duck magazine (1981) promised a parody on its covers but followed through with eight vaguely Playboy-looking pages wedged between its usual black-and-white comics. Crazy (1974) and ultra-niche quarterly Girls & Corpses (2011) were even lazier, promising parodic goodies on their covers they failed to deliver inside. Ditto the two issues of Laffboy (1965) and one-shot Bleep (1974), oversized pulps with tired gags and bubble-captioned photo trying to pass as sophisticated satire. They’re mentioned here mainly as a warning. New-Age satire sheet Wings tried harder, devoting about a third of its March-April 1979 issue to “Playwings,” but most of the parody was typical Wings content poured into a barely modified layout; like “Playduck,” it failed to sweat the details.

Annie Fanny spoof from 73 magazine

Wayne Pierce’s ham-flavored tribute to Annie Fanny in “73” (1966).

73 Magazine was a technical monthly for ham radio buffs that ran from 1960 to 2003. Founder Wayne Green had soft spot for parody, and in April 1966 he ran a Playboy-like cover by reader Wayne Pierce, a high-school art teacher in Kansas City. Pierce also did four of the parody’s five inside pages, including a takeoff of “Little Annie Fanny” set in the world of ham radio obsessives. Pierce was no threat to Will Elder in the art department, but he’d obviously studied Harvey Kurtzman’s page layouts and storytelling rhythm; the fact that his hobby-specific jokes will sound like gibberish to most current readers is a surrealistic bonus.

Ironically, National Lampoon’s decline overlapped with the Great Parody Boom of the ’80s, whose harbingers were NL’s own “Dacron Republican-Democrat” in February 1978 and former NL editor Tony Hendra’s “Not The New York Times” that October. They were followed by scores of parodies of newspapers and magazines, including two of Playboy, one edited by Hendra, the other by his former collaborator Robert Vare.

Hendra and Vare had worked together on “NTNYT” and jointly edited the first “Off The Wall Street Journal,” which sold 350,000 copies in 1982 but showed only a tiny profit. After the two parted ways, Vare founded American Parody & Travesty Co. to produce a series of one-shot spoofs starting with “Playbore,” while Hendra became creative director on “Playboy: The Parody” for TSM Publishing, an offshoot of a marketing firm cofounded by former NatLamp publisher Gerald Taylor. Hendra recruited old associates David Kaestle, Danny Abelson and Rick Meyerowitz for “PTP,” which had led some sources to mislabel it an official National Lampoon publication. In fact, at least as many NL vets worked on “Playbore,” including Chris Miller, Jeff Greenfield and Ellis Weiner. (Bruce McCall somehow got into both.) George Plimpton, Roy Blount Jr., and soon-to-be Spy founders Kurt Andersen and Graydon Carter also had a hand in “Playbore,” while “PTP’s” stable included writer David Owen and Items From Our Catalog creator Alfred Gingold.

Three pages from Playbore

“Playbore” features, including a jab at Hef’s rivals Larry Flynt and Bob Guccione (center).

“Playbore” hit the stands in late September, two months before its rival, but in most respects “Playboy: The Parody” came out slightly ahead. It cost a dollar more, carried 29 pages of real ads to “Playbore’s” six, and better captured the look and tone of Playboy circa 1983, likely because it gained Hefner’s approval and used several of his photographers and models. Not surprisingly, it treated Hef and his empire relatively gently, while “Playbore” made running jokes of “Hugh M. Hepner’s” galloping senility, shrinking assets and eyebrow-raising decision to turn the business over to his daughter — a step the real Hefner had taken the year before. Its foldout showed “Crispie Hepner” lounging in a soapy bath as a certain pipe-smoking editor-publisher massaged her shoulders. “Playboy: The Parody” countered with a full-frontal fake of Princess Diana, which prompted a boycott by distributors in the U.K.

Four pages from Playboy the Parody

DIY pinups, Bruce McCall’s cars, JFK in ’63 and Annie as Grannie in “Playboy: The Parody.”

Sales of both parodies were good but not spectacular. Early on, Vare predicted “Playbore” might sell over a million copies; results were closer to 750,000. Taylor initially hoped “Playboy: The Parody” would do better than the Harvard Lampoon’s “Cosmopolitan,” which had sold a record 1.2 million copies in 1972, but TSM never announced final numbers; press runs for its later spoofs, including “Cosmoparody” (1984) and “Parody People” (1986), were around 750,000 copies each.

U.S. parodists mostly abandoned Playboy after ’83, as did many readers — circulation fell by a third during the 1980s — but Canada’s Thomas Hagey struck gold in 1984 with “The Best of Playboar,” a porcine entry in the then-hot subgenre of parodies starring animals. Hagey (pronounced “haig-y,” not “hoggy,” unfortunately) grew up on a pig farm in Kitchener, Ontario, and quit school after 10th grade. In 1977 he founded Playboar as a semi-serious annual for swine breeders, “about two-thirds information, like how to pick a good pig or what to do about nipple problems, and about one-third humor,” he told the Chicago Tribune. A switch to quarterly publication in 1980 didn’t work out, so he closed the mag and moved to Toronto. There he and editor Chris Lowry rendered Playboar’s six issues into a 56-page greatest-hits collection, which was issued simultaneously or thereabouts in Canada and the U.S. in 1984.

Three pages from "Playboar"

“Playboar’s” contents page and Littermate Taffy Lovely.

Disappointingly, “The Best of Playboar” bears little resemblance to Hefner’s vision — and not just because its cover girl/Littermate’s measurements are 24-26-22. In fact, the pictorial on fetching Taffy Lovely is one of the few features that follows Playboy’s format closely. Most other pages would look just at home in Self or Us or any other ’80s title with colorful text blocks and off-kilter photos. In contrast, Hagey and Lowry’s full-page ads for “Benson & Hedgehogs,” “Mudweiser” and other accoutrements of fine swine living are accurate to the last detail. Maybe, not having sought the Big Bunny’s approval, they decided to steer wide of trespassing on any trademarks.

And maybe more readers are into pigs than parody: When first published, “The Best of Playboar” sold some 300,000 copies. Reprints pushed total sales over a million, making “BoP” the best-selling Playboy parody ever. This past June, Hagey published an enlarged edition in Canada, “The Very Best of Playboar,” bringing swinish behavior into the Age of Weinstein and Trump.

The following census is divided into two categories: issue-length newsstand specials (all at least 40 pages long), and shorter features in other publications. Cover-only and single-article parodies are so marked; as are the dates on parodies of back issues. Each listing contains the work’s title (in quotes), publisher or publication, date and page count (in parentheses). Stand-alone parodies that don’t count covers as pages are marked “+ 4.”

Playboy Parodies II: On U.S. Newsstands, 1957-2018

A. Stand-alone Parodies:

“Plowboy.” Bannister Publications, Spring 1957 (48 + 4)
“Punch Goes Playboy.” [reprint of 1971 U.K. parody with new ads]. Punch, 1972 (44 + 4)
“Playbore.” American Travesty and Parody, Fall 1983 (98)
“Playboy: The Parody.” Taylor-Shain Media, Winter 1984 (102 + 4)
—–. partly reprinted in What a Pair, Taylor-Shain Media, 1985 (40 + 38 pages of TSM’s “Cosmoparody”)
“The Best of Playboar,” by Thomas Hagey. Day Dream Publishing, Santa Barbara, Cal., 1984 (56 + 4)
—–. Firefly Books (U.S.) Inc., Buffalo, N.Y., 1996 (56 + 4)
“The Very Best of Playboar: Special Hardcover Edition,” by Thomas Hagey. Playboar Publishing, 2018 (84) [available in the U.S. on Kindle]

Four parodies from Esquire and National Lampoon

Single-feature spoofs from Esquire (1965, 1969) and National Lampoon (both 1982)

B. Parodies in Magazines:

“Playkid,” Mad #61, March 1961 (7)
“Laffboy,” KMR Publications, Feb. 1965 (COVER ONLY)
“Laffboy,”KMR Publications, Apr. 1965 (COVER ONLY)
“Playbore,” Sick, June 1965 (12)
“I, Playboy, take thee, Reader’s Digest…,” Esquire, Aug. 1965 (1)
73 magazine cover“73,” 73 Magazine, April 1966 (5 + 1)
“Boysplay,” Biggest, Greatest Cracked #4, 1968 (16)
“Liberated Front,” National Lampoon [article], April 1970 (8)
“Esquire Interview: Hugh M. Hefner” [article], Esquire, Dec. 1970 (3+)
“Gamma Hutch: The Playboy Fallout Shelter” (Dec. 1958) [article], National Lampoon, April 1972 (4)
“Playdead,” National Lampoon, Jan. 1973 (14)
“Bleep,” Bleep Publications, 1974 (COVER ONLY)
“Playboy” [obscured], Crazy #10, April 1975 (COVER ONLY)
“Playboy [in Cyrillic]: New Soviet Edition,” Playboy, Jan. 1977 (7)
“Playwings,” Wings, March/April 1979 (20? + 1)
“Playboy: New Chinese Edition,” Playboy, Sept. 1979 (7)
“Playduck,” Howard the Duck magazine #4, March 1980 (8 + 1)
“Parents of the Girls of the Eastwest Conference” [article], National Lampoon, Feb. 1982 (2)
“The Playboy Advisor” [article], National Lampoon, Feb. 1982 (1)
“Dear Playmates” [article], National Lampoon, June 1983 (1)
“Playboy” (November 1963), in “Playboy: The Parody,” Winter 1984 (15 + 1-page intro)
“Prayboy: Entertainment for Far-Righteous Men,” Playboy, Dec. 1984 (8)
“Slayboy,” National Lampoon, Dec. 1985 (8)
“Playbyte,” National Lampoon, Feb. 1988 (10)
“Feminist Party Jokes” [article], National Lampoon, March 1986 (1)
“Interview: Steven Spielberg” [article], National Lampoon, Aug. 1986 (3+)
“Playboy” (Jan. 1000 A.D.), Playboy, Jan. 2000 (4)
“Girls & Corpses,” issue # 5, Spring 2011 (COVER ONLY)

— VCR (updated 12/11/18)

National Lampoon Parodies, A to Z

Various National Lampoon parodies

Spoofs from the Sunday Newspaper Parody (“Pomade,” 1978) and National Lampoon (1971-78).

Here’s the alphabetical version of the chronology of National Lampoon magazine and newspaper parodies posted earlier (which see for the intro to this topic). Each entry begins with the name of the publication being parodied, in italics; followed by the fake title or article name, in parentheses; the NatLamp issue date; and the page count, in brackets. Parodies that appeared in special editions or (in one case) Print magazine are so noted, as are parodies of back issues: e.g., “Popular Workbench” for Aug. 1938.

I’ve moved Genre Parodies to Appendix A, where they’re listed by type of publication, and put two articles that spoof multiple titles in Appendix B, for lack of a better option. As before, I’m ignoring the “inventions” — fake magazines with no obvious real-world prototypes, like “Mondo Bizarro” in the very first issue (April 1970). — VCR

Two parodies and their inspirations

“American Bride” (with author Emily Praeger on cover) and “hy-Art” flank their inspirations.

Parodies in National Lampoon Magazine, A to Z:

A
ArtyNews coverAfter Dark (article: “Glitter Bums”), July 1975 [3]
Amazing Stories (“Amusing Stories” for Oct. 1926), Sept. 1977 [3]
ARTnews (“ARTynews”), Feb. 1976 [13]
The Atlantic (“The Hotlantic”), April 1983 [9]
Avant Garde (“Avant Gauche” ad: “Rockwall’s Erotic Engravings”), April 1970 [3]
Awake! (“Wise Up!”), Dec. 1974 [3 half-pages]

B
Better Homes and Gardens (“Better Homes and Closets”), May 1977 [11]
Boys’ Life (“Boys’ Real Life”), Oct. 1974 [10]

C
Cahiers du Cinema (“Cahiers du TV”), May 1976 [4]
The Canadian Magazine (“The Canadian Weakly,” June 8, 1969), June 1976 [6]
Cinefantastic (“Cinefantasterrifique”), Jan. 1982 [5]
Consumer Reports (“Consumed Reports”),  nationallampoon.com, June 2004; in NL Magazine Rack, 2006 [4]
Cosmopolitan (“Cosmopolatin”), Jan. 1971 [15]

D
The Dial (“hy-Art: The Magazine of the Precious Broadcasting System”), Jan. 1983 [7]

E
Equalriders coverEasyriders (“Equalriders”), March 1984 [11]
—– (“Easywriters”), Sept. 1985 [8]
Ebony (“Ivory”), April 1973 [7]
Esquire (article: “The Incredible Shrinking Magazine”), Nov. 1971 [3]
—– (“Exsquire”), Sept. 1975 [12]
—– (“Esquare”), Dec. 1981 [13]

F
Family Circle (“Famine Circle”), July 1974 [8]
Fortune (“Lucre”), Dec. 1975 [12]
—– (“Misfortune”), Feb. 1986 [13]
Forum (“Whorum”), Jan. 1985 [8]

G
Gourmet (“Goormay”), March 1982 [9]
GQ (“RQ: Regular Guy Quarterly”), Sept. 1978 [4]
Guns & Ammo (“Liquor & Ammo”), Aug. 1994 [10]

H
Harper’s Bazaar (“Bizarre”), June 1970 [5]
Harvard Lampoon (article: “The Ten Worst Movies of All Time”), July 1975 [1]
High Times (“Wasted Times”), Aug. 1977 [7]
The Hollywood Reporter (“The Hollywood Informer”), Oct. 1981 [5]
—– (“The Hollywood Retorter”), limited distribution, Dec. 2002; in NL Magazine Rack, 2006 [16]
Hot Rod (“Warm Rod”), April 1975 [7]
Hustler (“Gobbler”), Aug. 1976 [5]

I
Inc. (“stInc.”), 1998 [13]
Interview (“Interluude”), Dec. 1981 [11]

J
Jack and Jill (“Jack and Jill St. John”), Feb. 1982 [5]
JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association (“COMA: Circular of the Organization of Medical Associations”), May 1975 [8]
Jet (“Tar”), Feb. 1977 [6, digest-size]

K
Kiplinger Washington Letter (“The Hamilton Philadelphia Letter,” Sept. 18, 1787) in NL’s 199th Birthday Book, 1975 [2]
—– (“The Kremlinger Moscow Letter”), Jan. 1977 [2]

L
Ladies’ Home Journal (“Old Ladies’ Home Journal”), Sept. 1974 [8]
Life [old humor mag] (“National Lampoon,” May 1906), May 1971 [7]
Life [pictue mag] (article: “Our Threatened Nazis”), June 1970 [2]
—– (“Life,” Sept. 28, 1943), Sept. 1973 [13]
—– (“Lite”), April 1979 [8]
Look (“Kennedy”), Feb. 1977 [11]

M
Mad (“Mad”), Oct. 1971 [15]
—– (article: “You Know You’re Grown Up When…”), Sept. 1977 [2]
Martha Stewart Entertaining (“Martha Stewart’s Entertaining the K-Mart Way”), Dec. 1989 [3]
Men’s Health (“Man’s Health”), online, June 2002; in NL Magazine Rack, 2006 [4]
Modern Bride (“American Bride”), Feb. 1975 [10]
Money Matters (“Young Money Matters”), June 1977 [4]
Moneysworth (two subscription ads for “Nickleknows”), Dec. 1975 [1+1]
Muscle & Fitness (“Muscle & Fatness”), March 1994 [9]
My Weekly Reader (“My Weekly Reader: The Children’s Tabloid”), Sept. 1971 [4]

N
National Enquirer (“National Inspirer”), March 1973 [8]
—– (“The Washington Enquirer”), Aug. 1980 [4]
—– (“National Sexloid”), Sept. 1982 [5]
—–(“Roman Eqvirer”), 1996 [4]
National Geographic (“National Geographic”), Sept. 1972 [3]
—– (“National Southpacific”), May 1983 [13]
National Lampoon (“National Lampoof”), Feb. 1974 [11]
—– (article: “National Lampoon’s 1974 New Year’s Resolutions”), Jan. 1975 [5]
—– (article: “False Facts”), Sept. 1982 [1]
—– (“National Tampoon”), March 1986 [6]
National Midnight (“Almost Midnight”), Sept. 1974 [4]
National Review (“National Socialist Review”), Feb. 1978 [8]
National Star (“National Sore”), May 1975 [4]
New Times (“Nu? Times” cover only), Jan. 1976 [1]
New York Review of Us coverNew York (“Lifestyles”), Nov. 1977 [42 + front cover]
—– (“Jo’burg”), Sept. 1983 [9]
New York Review of Books (“The New York Review of Us”), Jan. 1976 [8]
New York Times (“The New York World”), May 1971 [2 broadsheet]
—— (“The New York Times”), Oct. 1972 [front page on 2]
—— (“The New York Time”), Oct. 1977 [front page on 2]
New York Times Book Review (article: “Would You Like Something to Read?”), Aug. 1981 [2+]
New York Times Magazine (article: “Talking Out Loud: College Slang of the Eighties,” by “William Zircon”), Sept. 1981 [1+]
—– (article: “Talking Out Loud: The Customers Always Write,” by “William Zircon”), Aug. 1982 [1+]
—– (“The New York Times Magazine”), June 1984 [19]
The New Yorker (“The New Y*rker”), March 1975 [13]
—– (article: “Coming Into the River,” by “John McPhoo”), June 1980 [6]
—– (“Ron Hague’s Year of Rejected New Yorker Covers”), Dec. 1983 [4]
—– (“The Hymie Towner” cover only), June 1984 [1]
Newsweek (cover + article: “Townville, Iowa”), Nov. 1976 [2]

O
Oui (“Peut-etre” article: “Taffy”), Oct. 1973 [4]
Outside (“OutSSide” subscription ad), Feb. 1978 [3]

P-Q
Parade (“Pomade”) in NL’s Sunday Newspaper Parody, 1978 [16]
Penthouse (“Pethouse”), Jan. 1974 [9]
—– (article: “The Resister’s Revenge”), Sept. 1975 [6]
—– (“Repenthouse”), July 1977 [5]
People (“Objects”), Dec. 1976 [5, no cover]
—– (article: “Douglas Waterman Caps a Big Year”), May 1981 [4]
—– (“PLO” article: “Nor More Mr. Bad Guy For Yassir Arafat”), July 1984 [4]
Playboy (foldout: “Liberated Front” + “Party Jokes”), April 1970 [6]
—– (article: “Gamma Hutch: The Playboy Fallout Shelter,” Dec. 1959), April 1972 [4]
—– (“Playdead”), Jan. 1973 [14]
—– (ad: “What Sort of Man Reads Pl*yb*y?”), Oct. 1974 [1]
—– (article: “Parents of the Girls of the Eastwest Conference”), Feb. 1982 [2]
—– (article: “The Playboy Advisor”), Feb. 1982 [1]
—– (article: “Dear Playmates”), June 1983 [1]
—– (“Slayboy”), Dec. 1985 [8]
—– (article: “Feminist Party Jokes”), March 1986 [1]
—– (article: “Interview: Steven Spielberg”), Aug. 1986 [3+]
—– (“Playbyte”), Feb. 1988 [10]
—– (article: “Girls of the Community Colleges”), Oct. 1989 [4]
Print cover, July-August 1974Popular Mechanics (“Popular Workbench,” Aug. 1938), July 1973 [14]
—– (“Tomorrow’s Future Homebody,” June 1946) in NL’s 199th Birthday Book, 1975 [3]
Popular Science (“Popular Evolution”), Jan. 1974 [11]
Print (“National Lampoon Graphics Parody Section”), in Print, July-Aug. 1974 [8 + cover]
Psychology Today (“Psychology Ptoday”), Aug. 1973 [15]

R
Reader’s Digest (article: “Martial Mirth”), Sept. 1973 [1]
—– (“Digester’s Reader” front & back covers only), June 1974 [1]
—– (article: “Rumpus Room Rib-Ticklers”), May 1978 [2]
—– (“Reader Digest”), Jan.-Feb. 1995 [10]
Road & Track (“Food & Track”), March 1982 [5]
Rolling Stone (“Rolling Stein” for Dec. 9, 1791), Feb. 1971 [3]
—– (“Rolling Tombstone”), Nov. 1982 [9]
—– (“Rollin’ Home”), Oct. 1985 [6]
—– (“Rolling Stone”), Feb. 1989 [7]
—– (“Perception/Reality” ad), Feb. 1990 [2]
—– (article: “Have War, Will Travel,” by “P.J. O’Drunke”), Aug. 1991 [2]

S
Scientific American (“Scienterrific American”), Jan. 1977 [10]
Screw (“Third Base” for April 1956), April 1972
—– (“Piddle: The Adult Publication for Children”), Feb. 1973 [8]
—– (“Seed”), Aug. 1974 [8]
Self (“Self-Destruct”), April 1982 [5]
Seventeen (“Savvyteen”), Aug. 1978 [8]
—– (“Deadteen”), July 1985 [7]
The Sporting News (“The Sportbiz News”), April 1976 [6]
—– (“The Sporting Muse”), Oct. 1988 [10]
Sports Illustrated (“Sports Illustrated”), Nov. 1973 [13]
—– (“Sports Hallucinated”), May 1986 [7]

T
Tiger Beat (“Poon Beat”), Dec. 1973 [10]
Time (article: “Partly Sane, Raspberries, and Time”), March 1975 [3]
—– (“Xmas Time”), Dec. 1977 [5]
—– (Special Section: “Let’s Get It Up, America”), Aug. 1981 [27]
—– (article: Henry Kissenger’s “Years of Arousal”), Sept. 1982 [6]
—– (“Time”), Jan. 1984 [35]
The Times of India (“The Times of Indira”), May 1976 [3]
Travel & Leisure (“Postage & Handling”), Feb. 1983 [7]
TV Guide (“The New York Review of TV”), March 1971 [5 pages on 3]
—– (“TV”), Apr. 1977 [16, digest-size]
—– (“Al-Jazeera TV Guide”), nationallampoon.com, Nov. 2004; in NL Magazine Rack, 2006 [4]

U
U.S. News & World Report (“Stupid News & World Report”), March 1974 [7]

V
Vanity Fair (“Vanity Fair”), June 1990 [10]
Variety (“Varietsky” front page), Sept. 1970 [1]
—– (“Movies”), Oct. 1978 [4]
The Village Voice (“The Global Village Voice”), Feb. 1977 [8]

W-X-Y-Z
Working Girl coverWall Street Journal (“The Gall Street Journal”), May 1970 [2 broadsheet]
Weight Watchers (“Weighty Waddlers”), June 1974 [7]
Wet (“Moist”), Dec. 1981 [9]
The Whole Earth Catalog (“The Last, Really, No Shit, Really, the Last Supplement to the Whole Earth Catalog”), Jan. 1972 [7]
Working Woman (“Working Girl”), Nov. 1983 [11]

Appendix A: Genre Parodies, by Type:

Alumni: (“Skidmark: The Alumni Magazine of Skidmark College”), Sept. 1983 [11]
Art studies: (“Modes d’Art Magazine” for June 1926), Feb. 1976 [6]
Boys’ magazines: (“Cap’n Jasper’s Boy O Boy,” May 1935), June 1975 [8]
College humor: (“The Spitoon,” for 1877), 199th Birthday Book, 1975 [2]
Confession: (“True Finance”), May 1970 [4]
—–: (“True Politics”), Aug. 1972 [10]
Crime: (“Citizen’s Arrest”), Aug. 1975 [7]
Fan & gossip mags: (“Screen Slime”), Sept. 1970 [10]
—–: (“Myth & Legend Mirror” for Oct. IV B.C.), Oct. 1975 [5]
—–: (“Silver Jock: The Demi-Decadent Sports Magazine), April 1976 [7]
—–: (“Mersey Moptop Faverave Fabgearbeat” for Oct. 1964), Oct. 1977 [8]
—–: (“Mitch Springer: A Loving Tribute”), April 1982 [5]
—–: (“Big Screen”), June 1991 [36]
Fashion: (“Guerre: The New Magazine for the New Army”), Sept. 1973 [7]
Fitness: (“Muscle Mind”), Sept. 1984 [7]
—–: (“Peppy: The High-Potency Magazine of Fitness and Health”), Jan. 1987 [12]
Golf: (“Duffer’s Digest”), 1996 [9]
Guns: (“Gun Lust”), June 1973 [11]
—–: (“Guns & Sandwiches”), July 1974 [6]
High school: (“Leaf & Squib” for Spring 1964), 1964 High School Yearbook Parody, 1974 [14]
Homemaker: (“Negligent Mother”), Jan. 1975) [6]
Inflight: (“Stampede: Prairie Central/Panhandle Airlines Magazine”), April 1974 [8]
Men’s: (“Real Balls Adventure”), April 1971 [11)
—–: (“Knuckle: A Real Man’s Magazine”), June 1973 [5]
—–: (“Real-Life Adventure”), June 1980 [4]
Newspaper: (“The Dacron-Republican-Democrat”) Sunday Newspaper Parody, 1978 [104]
Newspaper, college: (“The Daily Klaxon”), Sept. 1975 [4]
Newspaper, high school: (“The Prism,” May 11, 1964), 1964 High School Yearbook Parody, 1974 [8]
Newspaper, tabloid: (“Stranger Than Fact”), Nov. 1986 [7]
Newspaper, underground: (“The Daily Roach Holder”), August 1970 [6]
Newspaper magazine section: (“Sunday Week”), Sunday Newspaper Parody, 1978 [16]
Pulp mags: (“Unexciting Stories,” undated but 1930s), Sept. 1974 [4+]
Trade paper: (“Hollywood Briefs”), July 1975 [4]
TV listings: (“American Home Movie Box Program Guide”), Oct. 1981 [4]
—– (“Unofficial 1984 Olympic TV Watcher’s Guide”), Aug. 1984 [16 digest-size]
UFOs: (“Real Business Jet”), March 1980 [5]
Visitor guides: (“Why Leave This Room?”) Aug. 1982 [5]

Appendix B: Parodies of Multiple Titles:

* “The Hot New Lineup for 1986 from Condom-Nasty Publications” (covers of STD-focused versions of Harper’s Bazaar, Reader’s Digest, New Age Journal), Sept. 1985 [2].
* “The Real Story of Rock ‘n’ Roll” (told in fake clips from the New York Post, People, Jet, etc.), Oct. 1985 [7].

National Lampoon Parodies, 1970-2006

Six National Lampoon Parodies

Clockwise from Mozart: Early parodies of Rolling Stone (1970), Playboy (1973) and Life (1973), a special for Print (1974); late parodies of the Times Magazine (1984) and Vanity Fair (1990).

This week’s debut on Netflix of another movie about the early years of National Lampoon — not a documentary this time, a biopic  of Doug Kenny — provides all the excuse I need to catalog its magazine and newspaper parodies. Founders Kenney, Henry Beard and Rob Hoffman honed their chops aping Playboy, Life and Time at the Harvard Lampoon , so it’s no surprise magazine parodies were highlights of NatLamp’s Golden Age (roughly 1971-75) and bright spots in the silver-plated years that followed (roughly 1976-84; the mag’s post-1984 content is mostly lead).

The contract licensing the “Lampoon” name to Twenty-First Century Communications explicitly barred the national version from milking Harvard’s cash cow. The closest National Lampoon ever came to producing a full-length, stand-alone magazine parody was the November 1977 “Lifestyles” issue, which aped New York from cover lines to crossword puzzle without quite admitting what it was up to. Fortunately, the contract said nothing about parodies of generic high-school yearbooks and small-city Sunday papers, leaving the door open for NatLamp’s masterpieces.

Pages from the Lifestyles issue

Top: NL’s “Lifestyles” issue (Nov. 1977); bottom: New York pages from 1976-77.

National Lampoon’s fake publications fall into four types: inventions, genre spoofs, mutations and plain ol’ parodies. Like Mad’s fake mags for protesters, schoolteachers and what-have-you, the inventions were vessels for satire aimed at some other target. And as with the earlier Mad index, they’re not listed here. Genre spoofs imitated types of publications — often fan magazines or gossip tabloids — without cloning any one title. Examples include “Real Balls Adventure” for men (April 1971) and the inflight magazine “Stampede” (April 1974). I suspect some items I’ve put in this category have specific models I’m not familiar with, and I’d welcome additional info.

The mutations spoofed specific titles but tinkered with their DNA, making My Weekly Reader a scandal sheet (Sept. 1971) or switching Hot Rod’s focus from gearheads to tree-huggers (“Warm Rod,” April 1975). A few were relatively straight counterfactuals: e.g., the parodies of Look, Jet and the Village Voice in the JFK Fifth Inaugural issue (Jan. 1977). Others put familiar mags in Bizarro worlds where plants crave porn (“Seed,” Aug. 1974) and military service is a fashion statement (“Guerre,” Sept. 1973). This approach reached perfection in “Playdead” ( Jan. 1973), which exposed the airbrushed unreality of Playboy simply by redirecting its covetous ogle from skin to bones.

Examples of four kinds of parody

Four kinds of fakes: Invented, genre, mutated, and plain ol’ parody.

The plain ol’ parodies dispensed with what-ifs and tackled publications just as they were. This group includes many NatLamp’s classics, including “Mad” (Oct. 1971), the 1943 “Life” (Sept. 1973) and what I consider its last first-rate feature of any kind, a 19-page sendup of The New York Times Magazine in June 1984. Also included are a few items that aren’t strictly parodies but capture the essence of a publication, such as “Ron Hague’s Year of Rejected New Yorker Covers” (Dec. 1983) and “National Lampoon’s 1974 New Year’s Resolutions” (Jan. 1975).

This list is divided into three unequal parts: parodies in regular issues, those in books and specials containing new material, and those in non-NL publications. (The last section contains only one item, but it’s a hoot if you’re into graphic design.) Each entry in Section 1 begins with the name of the publication being parodied, in italics; followed by the fake title or article name, in parentheses; the NatLamp issue date; and the page count, in brackets.

A phrase like “5 pages on 3” means each magazine page contained two or more digest-size parody pages; the word “broadsheet” describes a few newspaper parodies that folded out to 17″ by 22″. Parodies of old magazines have their cover dates noted inside the parentheses: e.g., “Popular Workbench” for Aug. 1938.

A version of this list in alphabetical instead of chronological order will appear in my very next post. —VCR

Section 1: Parodies in National Lampoon Magazine, 1970-98:

1970
Avant Garde (“Avant Gauche” ad: “Rockwall’s Erotic Engravings”), April 1970 [3]
Playboy (foldout: “Liberated Front” + “Party Jokes”), April 1970 [6]
Genre: confession (“True Finance”), May 1970 [4]
Wall Street Journal (“The Gall Street Journal”), May 1970 [2 broadsheet]
Harper’s Bazaar (“Bizarre”), June 1970 [5]
Life [pictue mag] (article: “Our Threatened Nazis”), June 1970 [2]
Genre: underground newspaper (“The Daily Roach Holder”), August 1970 [6]
Genre: movies (“Screen Slime”), Sept. 1970 [10]
Variety (“Varietsky” front page), Sept. 1970 [1]

1971
Cosmopolitan (“Cosmopolatin”), Jan. 1971 [15]
Rolling Stone (“Rolling Stein,” Dec. 9, 1791), Feb. 1971 [3]
TV Guide (“The New York Review of TV”), March 1971 [5 pages on 3]
Genre: men’s (“Real Balls Adventure”), April 1971 [11)
Life [humor mag] (“National Lampoon,” May 1906), May 1971 [7]
New York Times (“The New York World”), May 1971 [2 broadsheet]
My Weekly Reader (“My Weekly Reader: The Children’s Tabloid”), Sept. 1971 [4]
Mad (“Mad”), Oct. 1971 [15]
Esquire (article: “The Incredible Shrinking Magazine”), Nov. 1971 [3]

1972
The Whole Earth Catalog (“The Last, Really, No Shit, Really, the Last Supplement to the Whole Earth Catalog”), Jan. 1972 [7]
Screw (“Third Base: The Dating Newspaper,” April 1956), April 1972 [8]
Playboy (article: “Gamma Hutch: The Playboy Fallout Shelter,” Dec. 1959), April 1972 [4]
Genre: true story (“True Politics”), Aug. 1972 [10]
National Geographic (“National Geographic”), Sept. 1972 [3]
New York Times (“The New York Times”), Oct. 1972 [1 page on 2]

1973
Playboy (“Playdead”), Jan. 1973 [14]
Screw (“Piddle: The Adult Publication for Children”), Feb. 1973 [8]
National Enquirer (“National Inspirer”), March 1973 [8]
Ebony (“Ivory”), April 1973 [7]
Genre: guns (“Gun Lust”), June 1973 [11]
Genre: men’s (“Knuckle: A Real Man’s Magazine”), June 1973 [5]
Popular Mechanics (“Popular Workbench,” Aug. 1938), July 1973 [14]
Psychology Today (“Psychology Ptoday”), Aug. 1973 [15]
Genre: fashion (“Guerre: The New Magazine for the New Army”), Sept. 1973 [7]
Life (“Life,” Sept. 28, 1943), Sept. 1973 [13]
Reader’s Digest (article: “Martial Mirth”), Sept. 1973 [1]
Oui (“Peut-etre” article: “Taffy”), Oct. 1973 [4]
Sports Illustrated (“Sports Illustrated”), Nov. 1973 [13]
Tiger Beat (“Poon Beat”), Dec. 1973 [10]

1974
Penthouse (“Pethouse”), Jan. 1974 [9]
Popular Science (“Popular Evolution”), Jan. 1974 [11]
National Lampoon (“National Lampoof”), Feb. 1974 [11]
U.S. News & World Report (“Stupid News & World Report”), March 1974 [7]
Genre: inflight (“Stampede: Prairie Central/Panhandle Airlines Magazine”), April 1974 [8]
Reader’s Digest (“Digester’s Reader” front & back covers only), June 1974 [1]
Weight Watchers (“Weighty Waddlers”), June 1974 [7]
Genre: guns (“Guns & Sandwiches”), July 1974 [6]
Family Circle (“Famine Circle”), July 1974 [8]
Screw (“Seed”), Aug. 1974 [8]
Genre: pulps (“Unexciting Stories,” undated but 1930s), Sept. 1974 [4+]
Ladies’ Home Journal (“Old Ladies’ Home Journal”), Sept. 1974 [8]
National Midnight (“Almost Midnight”), Sept. 1974 [4]
Playboy (ad: What Sort of Man Reads Pl*yb*y?”), Oct. 1974 [1]
Boys’ Life (“Boys’ Real Life”), Oct. 1974 [10]
Awake! (“Wise Up!”), Dec. 1974 [3 half-pages]

1975
National Lampoon (article: “NL’s 1974 New Year’s Resolutions”), Jan. 1975 [5]
Genre: homemaker (“Negligent Mother”), Jan. 1975 [6]
Modern Bride (“American Bride”), Feb. 1975 [10)
The New Yorker (“The New Y*rker”), March 1975 [13]
Time (article: “Partly Sane, Raspberries, and Time”), March 1975 [3]
Hot Rod (“Warm Rod”), April 1975 [7]
JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association (“COMA: Circular of the Organization of Medical Associations”), May 1975 [8]
National Star (“National Sore”), May 1975 [4]
Genre: boys’ magazines (“Cap’n Jasper’s Boy O Boy,” May 1935), June 1975 [8]
Genre: show-biz trade paper (“Hollywood Briefs”), July 1975 [4]
After Dark (article: “Glitter Bums”), July 1975 [3]
Harvard Lampoon (article: “The Ten Worst Movies of All Time”), July 1975 [1]
Genre: true crime (“Citizen’s Arrest”), Aug. 1975 [7]
Esquire (“Exsquire”), Sept. 1975 [12]
Genre: college newpapers (“The Daily Klaxon”), Sept. 1975 [4]
Penthouse (article: “The Resister’s Revenge”), Sept. 1975 [6]
Genre: gossip (“Myth & Legend Mirror” for Oct. IV B.C.), Oct. 1975 [5]
Fortune (“Lucre”), Dec. 1975 [12]
Moneysworth (two subscription ads for “Nickleknows”), Dec. 1975 [1+1]

1976
New Times (“Nu? Times” cover only), Jan. 1976 [1]
New York Review of Books (“The New York Review of Us”), Jan. 1976 [8]
ARTnews (“ARTynews”), Feb. 1976 [13]
Genre: art studies (“Modes d’Art Magazine” for June 1926), Feb. 1976 [6]
The Sporting News (“The Sportbiz News”), April 1976 [6]
Genre: fan & gossip (“Silver Jock: The Demi-Decadent Sports Magazine), April 1976 [7]
Cahiers du Cinema (“Cahiers du TV”), May 1976 [4]
The Times of India (“The Times of Indira”), May 1976 [3]
The Canadian Magazine (“The Canadian Weakly,” June 8, 1969), June 1976 [6]
Hustler (“Gobbler”), Aug. 1976 [5]
Newsweek (cover + article: “Townville, Iowa”), Nov. 1976 [2]
People (“Objects”), Dec. 1976 [5, no cover]

1977
The Kiplinger Washington Letter (“The Kremlinger Moscow Letter”), Jan. 1977 [2]
Scientific American (“Scienterrific American”), Jan. 1977 [10]
Look (“Kennedy”), Feb. 1977 [11]
Jet (“Tar”), Feb. 1977 [6, digest-size]
The Village Voice (“The Global Village Voice”), Feb. 1977 [8]
TV Guide (“TV”), Apr. 1977 [16, digest-size]
Better Homes and Gardens (“Better Homes and Closets”), May 1977 [11]
Money Matters (“Young Money Matters”), June 1977 [4]
Penthouse (“Repenthouse”), July 1977 [5]
High Times (“Wasted Times”), Aug. 1977 [7]
Amazing Stories (“Amusing Stories” for Oct. 1926), Sept. 1977 [3]
Mad (article: “You Know You’re Grown Up When…”), Sept. 1977 [2]
Genre: fan & gossip (“Mersey Moptop Faverave Fabgearbeat” for Oct. 1964), Oct. 1977 [8]
The New York Times (“The New York Time”), Oct. 1977 [front page on 2]
New York (“Lifestyles”), Nov. 1977 [42 + front cover]
Time (“Xmas Time”), Dec. 1977 [5]

1978
National Review (“National Socialist Review”), Feb. 1978 [8]
Outside (“OutSSide” subscription ad), Feb. 1978 [3]
Reader’s Digest (article: “Rumpus Room Rib-Ticklers”), May 1978 [2]
Seventeen (“Savvyteen”), Aug. 1978 [8]
GQ (“RQ: Regular Guy Quarterly”), Sept. 1978 [4]
Variety (“Movies”), Oct. 1978 [4]

1979
Life (“Lite”), April 1979 [8]

1980
Genre: UFOs (“Real Business Jet”), March 1980 [5]
Genre: men’s (“Real-Life Adventure”), June 1980 [4]
The New Yorker (article: “Coming Into the River,” by “John McPhoo”), June 1980 [6]
National Enquirer (“The Washington Enquirer”), Aug. 1980 [4]

1981
People (article: “Douglas Waterman Caps a Big Year”), May 1981 [4]
New York Times Book Review (article: “Would You Like Something to Read?”), Aug. 1981 [2+]
Time (Special Section: “Let’s Get It Up, America”), Aug. 1981 [27]
New York Times Magazine (article: “Talking Out Loud: College Slang of the Eighties,” by “William Zircon”), Sept. 1981 [1+]
Genre: TV listings (“American Home Movie Box Program Guide”), Oct. 1981 [4]
The Hollywood Reporter (“The Hollywood Informer”), Oct. 1981 [5]
Esquire (“Esquare”), Dec. 1981 [13]
Interview (“Interluude”), Dec. 1981 [11]
Wet (“Moist”), Dec. 1981 [9]

1982
Heavy Metal (“Semi Mental” art portfolio), Jan. 1982 [6]
Cinefantastic (“Cinefantasterrifique”), Jan. 1982 [5]
Jack and Jill (“Jack and Jill St. John”), Feb. 1982 [5]
Playboy (article: “Parents of the Girls of the Eastwest Conference”), Feb. 1982 [2]
Playboy (article: “The Playboy Advisor”), Feb. 1982 [1]
Gourmet (“Goormay”), March 1982 [9]
Road & Track (“Food & Track”), March 1982 [5]
Genre: fan & gossip mags (“Mitch Springer: A Loving Tribute”), April 1982 [5]
Self (“Self-Destruct”), April 1982 [5]
Genre: visitor guides (“Why Leave This Room?”) Aug. 1982 [5]
New York Times Magazine (article: “Talking Out Loud: The Customers Always Write,” by “William Zircon”), Aug. 1982 [1+]
National Enquirer (“National Sexloid”), Sept. 1982 [5]
National Lampoon (article: “False Facts”), Sept. 1982 [1]
Time (article: Henry Kissenger’s “Years of Arousal”), Sept. 1982 [6]
Rolling Stone (“Rolling Tombstone”), Nov. 1982 [9]

1983
The Dial (“hy-Art: The Magazine of the Precious Broadcasting System”), Jan. 1983 [7]
Travel & Leisure (“Postage & Handling”), Feb. 1983 [7]
The Atlantic (“The Hotlantic”), April 1983 [9]
National Geographic (“National Southpacific”, May 1983 [13]
Playboy (article: “Dear Playmates”), June 1983 [1]
Genre: alumni (“Skidmark: The Alumni Magazine of Skidmark College”), Sept. 1983 [11]
New York (“Jo’burg”), Sept. 1983 [9]
Working Woman (“Working Girl”), Nov. 1983 [11]
The New Yorker (article: “Ron Hauge’s Year of Rejected New Yorker Covers”), Dec. 1983 [4]

1984
Time (“Time”), Jan. 1984 [35]
Easyriders (“Equalriders”), March 1984 [11]
New York Times Magazine (“The New York Times Magazine”), June 1984 [19]
The New Yorker (“The Hymie Towner” cover only), June 1984 [1]
People (“PLO” article: “Nor More Mr. Bad Guy For Yassir Arafat”), July 1984 [4]
Genre: TV listings (“Unofficial 1984 Olympic TV Watcher’s Guide”), Aug. 1984 [16 digest-size]
Genre: fitness (“Muscle Mind”), Sept. 1984 [7]

1985
Forum (“Whorum”), Jan. 1985 [8]
Seventeen (“Deadteen”), July 1985 [7]
Easyriders (“Easywriters”), Sept. 1985 [8]
Multiple titles (article: “The Hot New Lineup for 1986 from Condom-Nasty Publications,” with covers of STD-focused versions of Harper’s Bazaar, Reader’s Digest and New Age Journal), Sept. 1985 [2].
Rolling Stone (“Rollin’ Home” for Itinerant Bluesmen), Oct. 1985 [6]
Multiple titles (article: “The Real Story of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” told in fake clips from the New York Post, People, Jet, etc.), Oct. 1985 [7].
Playboy (“Slayboy”), Dec. 1985 [8]

1986
Fortune (“Misfortune”), Feb. 1986 [13]
National Lampoon (“National Tampoon”), March 1986 [6]
Playboy (article: “Feminist Party Jokes”), March 1986 [1]
Sports Illustrated (“Sports Hallucinated”), May 1986 [7]
Playboy (article: “Interview: Steven Spielberg”), Aug. 1986 [3+]
Genre: tabloid (“Stranger Than Fact”), Nov. 1986 [7]

1987
Genre: fitness (“Peppy: The High-Potency Magazine of Fitness and Health”), Jan. 1987 [12]

1988
Playboy (“Playbyte”), Feb. 1988 [10]
Sporting News (“The Sporting Muse”), Oct. 1988 [10]

1989
Rolling Stone (“Rolling Stone”), Feb. 1989 [7]
Playboy (article: “Girls of the Community Colleges”), Oct. 1989 [4]
Martha Stewart Entertaining (“Martha Stewart’s Entertaining the K-Mart Way”), Dec. 1989 [3]

1990-1998
Rollling Stone (“Perception/Reality” ad), Feb. 1990
Vanity Fair (“Vanity Fair”), June 1990 [10]
Genre: movies (“Big Screen”), June 1991 [36]
Rolling Stone (article: “Have War, Will Travel,” by “P.J. O’Drunke”), Aug. 1991 [2]
Muscle & Fitness (“Muscle & Fatness”), March 1994 [9]
Guns & Ammo (“Liquor & Ammo”), Aug. 1994 [10]
Reader’s Digest (“Reader Digest”), Jan.-Feb. 1995 [10]
Genre: golf (“Duffer’s Digest”), 1996 [9]
National Enquirer (“Roman Eqvirer”), 1996 [4]
Inc. (“stInc.”), 1998 [13]

Section 2: Parodies in Special Editions and Books, 1974-2006:

In the 1964 High School Yearbook Parody, special edition, Summer 1974:
Genre: high school newspaper (“The Prism” for May 11, 1964) [8]
Genre: high school literary magazine (“Leaf & Squib” for Spring 1964) [14]

In NL’s 199th Birthday Book, special edition, 1975:
Genre: college humor (“The Spitoon,” for 1877) [2]
Kiplinger Washington Letter (“The Hamilton Philadelphia Letter,” Sept. 18, 1787) [2]
Popular Mechanics (“Tomorrow’s Future Homebody” for June 1946) [3]

In NL’s Sunday Newspaper Parody, special edition, Feb. 1978:
Genre: newspaper (“The Dacron-Republican-Democrat”) [104, in 8 sections]
Genre: newspaper magazine section (“Sunday Week”) [16]
Parade (“Pomade”)  [16]

In NL Magazine Rack (New York: National Lampoon Press, 2006):
Consumer Reports (“Consumed Reports”), from nationallampoon.com, June 2004 [4]
The Hollywood Reporter (“The Hollywood Retorter”), limited distribution, Dec. 2002 [16]
Men’s Health (“Man’s Health”), from nationallampoon.com, June 2002 [4]
TV Guide (“Al-Jazeera TV Guide”), from nationallampoon.com, Nov. 2004 [4]

Section 3: Parodies in Non-National Lampoon Publications:

Print (“National Lampoon Graphics Parody Section”), in Print, July-Aug. 1974 [8 + cover]

“The Bilioustine,” 1901

Bilioustine and Philistine covers

“The Bilioustine’s” two issues and the Dec. 1901 Philistine.

Parody Of: The Philistine. Title: “The Bilioustine.” By: Bert Leston Taylor.
Dates: May and October 1901. Published By: William S. Lord of Evanston, Illinois.
Availability: Free online here; print copies findable but pricey.

“The Bilioustine” may have been this country’s first full-length magazine parody, though no one thought to make that claim when it was published back in 1901. It’s still one of the funniest, thanks to the wit of author Bert Leston Taylor and the barn-size targets provided by Elbert Hubbard and his self-published organ, The Philistine.

Elbert Hubbard photo

Hubbard.

Elbert — not to be confused with L. Ron — Hubbard is dimly recalled today, but at the dawn of the last century he was one of the most famous writers and lecturers in America. A former soap salesman with a facile pen and an Barnum-like gift for publicity, Hubbard combined a passion for the arts-and-crafts movement of the 1890s with a keen eye for the main chance. After making his name with a collection of moralizing travel sketches called Little Journeys to the Homes of Good Men and Great, he launched The Philistine: A Periodical of Protest in June 1895 as a platform for his thoughts on culture, politics and other matters. Within a few months he was printing it himself on second-hand equipment in an old barn near East Aurora, New York; he dubbed this set-up the Roycroft Press, after a family of 17th-century English printers. Its success drew other artisans to New Aurora, and by the time of Hubbard’s death in 1915 there were more than 500 “Roycrofters” working in 14 buildings.

The Philistine was one of hundreds of self-consciously “little” magazines that sprang up in the mid-’90s, partly in reaction to the emergence of mass-market behemoths like the Ladies’ Home Journal (born 1884) and Saturday Evening Post (1821, but reborn 1897). Unlike those titles, the little magazines offered “a small or odd-shaped page, fine typography and printing, and cleverness and radicalism in criticism,” in the words of historian Frank Luther Mott. They had names like Angel’s Food, the Bauble, the Goose-Quill, Jabs and Stiletto. Most struggled to find readers and had the lifespan of mayflies.

Two pages from the May Bilioustine

Fake ads and deep thoughts in the May “Bilioustine.”

The Philistine was an exception: It ran 20 years and reached a circulation of 200,000 — ten times that of its best-known contemporary, the Chap-book. A typical issue contained 32 pages of editorial matter and at least as many of ads, all printed on brown butcher paper and bound with gold thread. Though its contributors included Stephen Crane and Oz illustrator W.W. Denslow, The Philistine‘s voice was pure Hubbard. He wrote countless signed and unsigned editorials, poems and homilies — including “A Message to Garcia” (1899), a brief sermon on duty in war and workplace that struck a chord with the millions and entered countless anthologies.

As a writer, Hubbard had two voices. The first, cosmic and gaseous, can be heard in his introduction to the Philistine’s first issue. After comparing “the true Philistine” to Don Quixote, he charged his readers to

rescue from the environment of custom and ostentation the beauty and goodness cribbed therein…, go tilting at windmills and other fortresses — often on sorry nags and with shaky lances, and yet on heroic effort bent. And to such merry joust and fielding all lovers of chivalry are bidden: to look on — perhaps to laugh, it may be to grieve, at woeful belittling of lofty enterprise. Come, such of you as have patience with such warriors…

…and so on. His other style was down-to-earth and satirical, with echoes of Ambrose Bierce: “Genius may have its limitations,” he wrote, “but stupidity is not thus handicapped.” He flayed the publishing industry, fellow writers, the professions, organized religion, imperialism, sexual prudery and the tyranny of marriage. (“Never get married in college; it’s hard to get a start if a prospective employer finds you’ve already made one mistake.”) For a while he mocked the idle rich, but scorn turned to flattery as his own fortunes waxed. “The Superior Class is a burden,” he wrote in 1903; “no nation ever survived it long.” Ten years later he was attacking trust-busters for destroying “creators of wealth” and golfing with John D. Rockefeller. Similarly, his sermons against monogamy tapered off after his first wife divorced him and he married his mistress.

Four pages from the Bilioustine

A “Little Journey” to Fra McGinnis in the October issue.

“It would be possible to place a higher value on Hubbard’s writings, essentially vulgar though they were, if one could believe in the man’s sincerity,” Mott wrote, but those writings were manna for a culture-starved audience hungry for something high-minded but not too demanding. Meanwhile, his more sober contemporaries tended to find Hubbard’s prose impossible and his affectations maddening: The flowing locks, the wide-brimmed sombrero, the soulful posturing. He styled himself “Fra Elberto” like some medieval monk and called his followers “the Society of American Immortals.” Much of this was tongue-in-cheek, but still….

B.L. Taylor photo

Taylor.

One of the eye-rollers was Bert Leston Taylor, whose “A-Line-o’-Type-or-Two” debuted in the Chicago Tribune in 1901 and has been called the first modern newspaper column; at its peak it appeared in hundreds of papers in North America and Europe. On April 12, 1901, Taylor introduced his readers to one “Fra McGinnis,” spiritual leader of “the Society of Boy Grafters” and purveyor of “gold bricks and other articles calculated to con the community, especially that part of it which is female and literary and adores speaking eyes and conversational long hair.”

Within a month, Taylor-as-McGinnis had written enough material to fill a small magazine, and in May he collaborated with publisher William S. Lord of Evanston, Ill., on the first issue of “The Bilioustine: A Periodical of Knock.” It wasn’t the first burlesque of the little-magazine phenomenon, but it was the first to target a specific title. Taylor was a former typesetter, and he made sure his 24-page, 6″-by-4″ pamphlet resembled The Philistine in layout, page size and paper stock. It was an immediate hit. “As a well aimed shaft of ridicule there is nothing to equal it. As a piece of humor it is a gem,” wrote the Denver Republican. The St. Louis Mirror called it “one of the best parodies issued in the last twenty years.” A second issue with new material followed in October to similar acclaim.

Cover of the Book Booster

1901 Bookman spoof.

Nothing about The Philistine escaped ridicule in “The Bilioustine,” from its sampler-like homilies set in decorative borders (“Art is long — Why not hair?”) to its advertisements for deluxe editions “carefully impressed upon What’ell hand-laundered paper, bound in burlap specially imported from Burlapia, and stenciled by the cunning hand of Saintess Genevieve.” Other ads pushed the Fra’s “Little Journeys to the Scenes of Famous Explosions” and hinted at his dalliances under the heading “Affinities Wanted, Female.” The essays sandwiched between these notices were all either by or about Fra McGinnis, the latter rather more skeptical than the former.

Taylor and Lord issued a third magazine parody in 1901, a takeoff of The Bookman called “The Book Booster” that did to the publishing industry what “The Bilioustine” did to Hubbard. It sold well, too, but Taylor appears not to have tackled the form again. Ten years would pass before the Harvard Lampoon issued its first full-length magazine parody, and twenty before “burlesque numbers” became a regular feature of Life and Judge. Although “The Bilioustine” failed to start a trend, it set a high standard, as can be seen in the pages posted here. – VCR

Parodies in Mad, 1954-2017

Seven Mad parodies from 1954-2006

Wikipedia helpfully lists all of Mad’s movie and TV-show spoofs, but I believe this is the first attempt to catalog parodies of publications. Real, identifiable publications, that is: I’m not counting the fake lifestyle mags for groups like beatniks and hippies and mobsters Mad has perpetrated over the years. I’m also ignoring articles that show a bunch of different titles pulling the same gag: e.g., “Jack and Jill as Retold by Various Magazines (June 1959), “Magazines for Senior Citizens” (June 1961), etc. Everything listed here had at least one full page devoted to it.

"The Bunion," 2002.

“The Bunion,” 2002.

Unlike TV and movie spoofs, magazine parodies never became a staple of Mad’s editorial mix, and they’ve grown rarer as its target audience drifts away from boring old print. More than half the longer parodies appeared in the 1950s and ’60s, with the most recent in 2001. Many were designed by John Putnam, Mad’s art director from 1954 to 1980, whose fascination with the details of layout and typography was rivaled only by National Lampoon’s Michael Gross. Significantly, when Mad took a poke at The Onion in 2002, it targeted theonion.com, not the print edition. Since then there have been similar digs at The Huffington Post (2014) and Cracked (2016).

The list has two sections: multi-page parodies – usually consisting of a front page or cover and three or more inside pages — and cover-only parodies.  Section 1.B lists parodies done as bonuses in Mad annuals, which tended to be longer and more colorful that those in the magazine, with pages the same size and paper stock as their targets’. The biggest parody in a regular issue was a 16-page spoof of Entertainment Weekly in April 1998 that doubled as a test-run for Mad’s switch to inside color and slick paper (and the real ads that would pay for them). “Entertain-Me Weakly” generated a flurry of media coverage, but nothing as ambitious has been done since.

Pages of Mad's 1968 16 parody

“Sik-teen” in issue #121 (1968) was the only Mad parody to begin on the back cover and continue inside. Frank Frazetta’s Ringo first appeared in the “Blecch” Shampoo ad in issue #90 (1965).

Section 2 deals with cover-only parodies. Such brief spoofs usually leave me wanting more, but some of Mad’s are priceless. Basil Wolverton’s Life-like “Beautiful Girl of the Month” on the front of Mad comics #11 (May 1954) may be the most famous, but for my money the funniest is Mark Fredrickson’s version of Vanity Fair’s kiss-up to Tom Cruise and family in issue #472 (Dec. 2006). Both appeared on Mad’s front cover, but most fake covers have run on the back, where they’re subject to mutilation by Fold-In fanatics. Since the late ’90s, Mad has done most of its magazine spoofing in the annual “20 Dumbest People, Places and Things” survey.

Three pages of Mad's 1957 "TV Guise."

Making 1 + 1 (pages of Mad) = 3 (pages of parody) in issue #34 (1957).

Each listing begins with the name of the publication being parodied, in italics; followed by the fake title or article name, in parentheses; the Mad issue date and number; the length of the parody (if more than one page); and the names of the writer(s) and artist(s), in that order, separated by a slash (/). A phrase like “9 pages (on 5)” means one page of Mad contained two or more digest-size parody pages; the phrase “no cover” flags a couple of early parodies that didn’t have one; and “(p)” indicates a photographer. The writer and artist credits are from Doug Gilford’s Mad Cover Site, to whom all thanks. — VCR

1. Multi-page parodies …
A. … in Mad regular issues, 1954-2001:

  • The DailFirst page of "Field & Scream"y News (“Newspapers!”), Oct. 1954 (#16). Front cover + 7 pages. Harvey Kurtzman/Jack Davis.
  • Confidential (“Confidential Information”), Aug.-Sept. 1955 (#25). 6 pages (no cover). Kurtzman/Will Elder.
  • Field & Stream (“Field & Scream”), Jan.-Feb. 1957 (#31). 5 pages (no cover). Kurtzman/Davis.
  • TV Guide (“TV Guise”), July-Aug. 1957 (#34). 9 pages (on 5). Paul Laikin/Bob Clarke.
  • Better Homes and Gardens (“Bitter Homes and Gardens”), Mar.-Apr. 1958 (#38). 5 pages. Tom Koch/Wallace Wood.
  • The Saturday Evening Post (“… Pest”), May-June 1958 (#39). 6 pages. Koch/Clarke.
  • Pravda, July 1958 (#40). 4 pages. Frank Jacobs/Wood.
  • National Geographic (“National Osographic”), Sept.-Oct. 1958 (#41). 5 pages. Koch/Wood.
  • Look (“Gook”), Mar. 1959 (#45). 7 pages. Koch/Wood.
  • True Confessions (“Blue Confessions”), Oct. 1959 (#50). 9 pages (on 3) Laikin/Wood.
  • Modern Screen[?] (“Movie Land”), Apr. 1960 (#54). 5 pages. Larry Siegel/Joe Orlando.
  • The Wall Street Journal (“… Jungle”), Mar. 1961 (#61). 4 pages. Phil Hahn/.
  • Playboy (“Playkid”), Mar. 1961 (#61). 7 pages. Siegel/Clarke.
  • Ladies’ Home Journal (“… Journey”), Apr. 1961 (#62). 6 pages. Koch/Orlando.
  • Reader’s Digest (“Reader’s Digress”), Dec. 1961 (#67). 9 pages (on 5). Siegel/Orlando.
  • Popular Mechanics/Popular Science (“Popular Scientific Mechanics”), Sept. 1963 (#81). 7 pages. Al Jaffee/Clarke.
  • Hair Do (“Hair Goo”), June 1965 (#95). 6 pages. Jaffee/Jack Rickard.
  • Road & Track (“Load & Crash”), Sept. 1965 (#97). 6 pages. Koch/George Woodbridge.
  • National Enquirer (“National Perspirer”), Apr. 1966 (#102). 5 pages. Siegel/Jaffee.
  • 16 (“Sik-Teen”), Sept. 1968 (#121), Back & inside-back covers  + 6 pages. Siegel/Rickard, Davis.
  • Consumer Reports (“Condemner Reports”), Jan. 1970 (#132). 6 pages. Dick DeBartolo/Clarke, Irving Schild (p).
  • Popular Photography (“Popular Photomonotony”), June 1975 (#175). 6 pages. DeBartolo/Schild (p).
  • Consumer Reports (“Consumer Reports for Government Agencies”), March 1979. 4 pages. DeBartolo/.
  • TV Guide (“Mad’s ‘TV Guide’ Textbook”), June 1980 (#215). 7 pages (on 5). Lou Silverstone/Woodbridge.
  • Mad (“The Book of Mad” [Biblical Parody]), Dec. 1983 (#243). 5 pages. Silverstone/Paul Coker, Dave Berg, Don Martin, Rickard, Davis, Clarke, Woodbridge.
  • Parade (“Charade”), Sept. 1993 (#321). 4 pages. Charlie Kadau, Joe Raiola/Sam Viviano.
  • Entertainment Weekly (“Entertain Me Weakly”), Apr. 1998 (#368). 16 pages. Scott Brooks/Drew Friedman, Joe Favarotta.
  • Generic muscle magazine (“Bulging Man”), Aug. 1999 (#384). 8 pages. Scott Maiko/Scott Bricher, Schild (p), Sean Kahlil (p)
  • Generic tattoo mag (“Maimed Flesh”), Sept. 2001 (#409). 8 pages. Maiko/Hermann Mejia.
TV Guide parodies and 1776 "Madde."

Bonus parodies in or from More Trash # 6 (1962) and Specials #8 (1972) and #19 (1976).

B. … in Mad Annuals, 1961-1976:

  • Puck: The Comic Weekly (“A Sunday Comics Section We’d Like t0 See”), in The Worst From Mad #4, 1961. 8 broadsheet pages. /Wood, Orlando, Clarke, Woodbridge.
  • TV Guide (“TV Guise”), in More Trash from Mad #6, 1963. 16 digest-size pages. Aron Mayer Larkin/Lester Kraus (p).
  • TV Guide (“TV Guise” Fall Preview Issue), in Mad Special # 8, Fall 1972. 16 digest-size pages. Koch/Schild (p).
  • Mad (“Madde”), in Mad Special #19, Fall 1976. 24 pages. All the regulars.

2. Cover-only parodies …
A. …on Mad front covers, 1954-2006:

  • Life (“Mad”), May 1954 (#11). “Beautiful Girl.” /Basil Wolverton.
  • Time (“Mad”), Sept. 1982 (#233). Pac Man: Man of the Year. /Clarke.
  • Time (“Mad”), March 1987 (#269). Alfred E. Neuman as Max Headroom. /Richard Williams.
  • People (“Mad”), Jan. 1991 (#300). Alfred as “Sexiest Schmuck Alive!” /Norman Mingo.
  • Vanity Fair (“Mad”), Dec. 2006 (#472). Alfred as Suri Cruise. /Mark Fredrickson.
Real and parody covers of SatEvePost and Vanity Fair.

Mad on the Post’s redesign (back cover #62) and VF’s Suri Cruise hoopla (front cover #472).

B. …on back covers, 1958-2000:

  • Reader’s Digest (“Reader’s Disgust”). Jan.-Feb. 1958 (#37). /Orlando.
  • Saturday Evening Post. March 1962 (#69). /Mingo.
  • Newsweek (“Newsweak”), Dec. 1963 (#83). /Kraus (p).
  • The New Yorker. March 1977 (#189). Bill Johnson Jr./Clarke.
  • WWF Magazine (“WWWF: Witless Windbag Wrestlers Federation Magazine”), July 1987 (#272). /Schild (p).
  • Sports Illustrated (“Sports Titillated”), April 1988 (#278). /Schild (p).
  • Metal Edge (“Metal Sludge”), July 1989 (#288). Kadau, Raiola/Schild (p).
  • Typical teen mag (“StupidTeen”), Sept. 1991 (#305). Kadau, Raiola/.
  • GQ (“Geek’s Quarterly”), March 1992 (#309). William T. Rachendorfer, Andrew J. Schwartzberg/.
  • Sassy (“Sasssy”), Jan. 1993 (#316). Kadau, Raiola/Jacques Chenet (p)
  • Martha Stewart Living (“…Dying”), May 1997. Meredith Anthony, Larry Light, Alison Power/Schild (p).
  • Maxim (“Maximum”), July 2000. Jeff Kruse/AP, Wide World (p).

C. …in the annual “20 Dumbest” list, 2000-2017:

  • 1999's "20 Worst" People cover.People, Jan. 2000 (#389). “JFK Jr. crash coverage.” David Shayne, Raiola/.
  • Playboy, Jan. 2001 (#401). “Darva Conger.” Dave Croatto/.
  • Time, Jan. 2002 (#413). “Anne Heche.” Greg Leitman/.
  • Martha Stewart Living (“Martha Stewart Lying”), Jan. 2003 (#425). “Martha Stewart.” /Scott Bricher.
  • Teen People (“Dumb Teen People”), Jan. 2004 (#437). “Jessica Simpson.” Frank Santopadre/Schild (p).
  • Modern Bride (“Drunken Bride”), Jan. 2005 (#449). “Britney Spears.” Raiola, Kadau/Schild (p).
  • Modern Bride (“Runaway Bride”), Jan. 2006 (#461). “Jennifer Willibanks.” Kadau, Raiola/Bricher.
  • Sports Illustrated (“Sports Inebriated”), Jan. 2007 (#473). “Bode Miller.” Kadau, Raiola/Bricher.
  • Sporting News (“Snorting News”), Jan. 2008 (#485). “Keith Richards.” Jacob Lambert/Fredrickson.
  • Parenting (“Bad Parenting”), Jan. 2009 (#497). “Celebrity parents.” /Schild (p).
  • High Times, Jan. 2010 (#502). “Michael Phelps.” Uncredited.
  • Women’s Wear Daily (“…Deli”), Jan. 2011 (#507). “Lady Gaga.” Barry Liebman/Bricher.
  • Scientific American (“Unscientific American”), Jan. 2013 (#519). “Todd Akin.” Scott Nichol/.
  • Money (“Fake Money”), Feb. 2014 (#525).”The Winklevoss twins” /Mike Lowe.
  • Better Homes and Gardens (“Better Homes unGuarded”), Feb. 2015 (#531). “White House security.” Uncredited.
  • Sports Illustrated (“Sports Segregated”), Feb. 2015 (#531). “Donald Sterling.” /Friedman.
  • People (“Deplorable People”), Feb. 2017 (#543). “Donald Trump.” Uncredited.

Parodies In Playboy, 1970-2000

Four Playboy self-parodies

Playboys for the USSR, China, Moral Majority and Dark Ages.

That’s “in,” not “of,” though some of the following are both. The Bunny Book is such an inviting target that not even Playboy could resist cooking up fake editions of itself every now and then. Self-parodies make up nearly half this list — and the most elaborate one isn’t even on it.

Pregnant Vargas girl

Vargas self-parody.

After seeing the Harvard Lampoon’s “Pl*yb*y” in 1966, a “delighted” Hugh Hefner telegraphed the ‘Poonies that “If a better parody of Playboy is every created, we reserve the right to do it ourselves.” True to his word, he commissioned an issue-length spoof, supervised by Harvey Kurtzman, that would have featured most of the magazine’s regulars mocking their own work. The story goes that it was nearly complete when Hef cooled on the idea and cancelled it. Fragments have since turned up at auction houses and bookstores, including a very pregnant and indignant Vargas girl, the art for a mock James Bond story, and a Ray Bradbury pastiche by William F. Nolan called “The Dandelion Chronicles.” Kurtzman and Will Elder produced a still-unpublished episode of “Little Annie Fanny” in which she tours the Playboy Mansion; cartoonist Skip Williamson told Kurtzman’s biographer Bill Schelly that it ended with Hefner ripping off his clothes to be revealed as Super-Bunny.

Playboy never explained why — or when — the project petered out (pun). The appearance of “Playbore” and “Playboy: The Parody” just two months apart in fall 1983 might have been the final nail, but work had already stalled; most of the material mentioned here was done in the ’60s and early ’70s. Arnold Roth and Al Jaffee, who worked on it, said the idea was doomed from the get-go because Hefner fundamentally didn’t see anything ridiculous about Playboy or its mission — or about sex, really. Like many visionary magazine makers, he was his own ideal reader.

Playboy's National Pornographic

The cover and first page of National Pornographic (1975).

The four self-parodies that did make it into print are staff-written and, not surprisingly, rather toothless. All ridicule uncool losers (commies, prudes, 10th-century peasants) who just aren’t cut out for the sophisticated, high-end Playboy lifestyle; the lifestyle itself goes unquestioned. “National Pornographic,” by contrast, gleefully mocks National Geographic’s classic trope of tropical maidens on bare-breasted islands, or whatever. The full-color feature on insects humping (thoughtfully posted above) is such a juvenile idea you can’t help but laugh. In “How Other Magazines Would Photograph a Playmate,” the mag’s editors and lensmen have fun with the styles of ten magazines from True Detective to Vogue; the results are visually and verbally impeccable.

Three parodies by freelancers

Spoofs by freelancers Sussman, Slansky and Wieder.

The other parodies were done by outsiders. Gerald Sussman contributed “The Hole Earth Catalog” the year before he joined the editorial board of National Lampoon. (This was around the time in the ’70s when NatLamp was Playboy’s biggest rival for the eyeballs of male collegians.) Paul Slansky, formerly with Spy and now a Slate columnist, wrote “USSR Today” when both glasnost and the Gannett daily were new. And Robert S. Wieder, who for years did Playboy’s annual “Celebrity Christmas Carols,” ridiculed Men’s Health for its heretical notion that women might prefer guys with six-pack abs and bulging biceps to those with single-malt scotches and sports cars. —VCR

Parodies in Playboy, 1970-2000:

Playmates seen by other magazinesTrue Detective, Fortune, Family Circle, True, Life, Consumer Reports, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, Popular Photography, Vogue (“How Other Magazines Would Photograph a Playmate”), Feb. 1970, 10 pp.
The Whole Earth Catalog (“The Hole…”), Feb. 1972, 3 pp.
National Geographic (“National Pornographic”), Dec. 1975, 7 pp.
Playboy (“Playboy” in Cyrillic), Jan. 1977, 7 pp. [“New Soviet Edition”]
Playboy, Sept. 1979, 7 pp. [“New Chinese Edition”]
Playboy (“Prayboy”), Dec. 1984, 8 pp. [Moral Majority edition]
USA Today (“USSR Today”), Oct. 1986, 6 pp.
Men’s Health (“Men’s Help!”), Aug. 1997, 5 pp.
Playboy, Jan. 2000, 4 pp. [dated January 1000 A.D.]

Corey Ford’s “Mis-Fortune,” 1934

Corey Ford's Misfortune

Parody Of: Fortune. Title: “Mis-Fortune.” In: Vanity Fair, March 1934, pp. 22-23, 62.
By: “John Riddell” (Corey Ford).  Availability: Findable; usually pricey.

March 1934 Vanity Fair cover

Dwight Macdonald dismissed Corey Ford’s parodies as “mild” and didn’t include him in his magisterial Parodies: An Anthology from Chaucer to Beerbohm – And After (Random House, 1960). I’m hesitant to disagree with Macdonald — his book is merely the best thing ever done on the topic of literary parody — but he was strict grader, and Ford was something of a class clown: Like Mad a generation later, he had no qualms about putting authors in their own universes or breaking the fourth wall for the sake of a joke.

Ford went directly from Columbia University, where he edited the Jester and (therefore?) didn’t graduate, to the pages of Life, Judge and, especially, the old Vanity Fair. From the late ’20s until VF’s demise in 1936, he was in nearly every issue with a feature, profile or “Impossible Interview,” the last illustrated by the great Miguel Covarrubias. Meanwhile, his alter ego “John Riddell” wrote a monthly parody — usually of a recent bestseller, but every now and then of a magazine. Before tackling Fortune, he spoofed Time as “Time-and-a-Half” in March 1933 and George Jean Nathan’s American Spectator (no kin to the current title) as “The American Spectre” two months later. There may be others; I haven’t seen every issue. But I doubt any top “mis-Fortune.”

Last page of "mis-Fortune"

“Mis-Fortune,” continued.

Henry Luce planned Fortune to be a big, beautiful celebration of American capitalism, but it had the ill luck to debut in February 1930, just as the Depression was settling in. It was still big, beautiful and resolutely pro-Free Enterprise (and expensive, going for $1.00 a copy when Time was 15 cents and the SatEvePost a nickel), but in the ’30s it spent as much time diagnosing Big Business’s problems as cheering its success. The early Fortune’s specialty was exhaustively researched, multi-part dissections of publicity-shy corporations and complex business arrangements. Many of them were written by bright, young Ivy Leaguers (all male, of course) with a leftish outlook, including Archibald MacLeish, James Agee and future anthologist Macdonald. “There are men who can write poetry, and there are men who can read balance sheets,” Luce once said. “We made the discovery that it was easier to turn poets into business journalists than to turn bookkeepers into writers.”

Page from the real Fortune in 1934

The real Fortune, August 1934

Depression-era readers were hungry for facts, and Fortune supplied them, sometimes in a breathless gush out of scale with the info’s importance. “Mis-Fortune’s” opening riff on “an ordinary paper-clip, magnified to one thousand times its natural size,” is absurd but not unjustified. For comparison, here’s a snippet from the real Fortune for August 1934: “The average Greyhound [bus] is a body job thirty-three feet long, and reaches the average legal width of ninety-six inches (the average Buick is seventy-two inches wide). When loaded to its capacity of thirty-three passengers, it weighs – nickelwork, insignia, pretty curtains, and all – eleven tons. If you as a private citizen should be so rash as to offer to buy it, it would cost you $13,500….” And so on for several hundred more words.

Ford is particularly good on Fortune’s bombastic/omniscient house style: For maximum impact, imagine “mis-Fortune” being read by a 1930s newsreel narrator. Like all Ford’s VF parodies, “mis-Fortune” is brief — too brief to duplicate the lushness of Fortune’s art and photo spreads — but it makes the most of its two facing, almost Fortune-size pages. Its three photos of regimented pencil sharpeners, typewriter keys, and workmen not only mock Fortune’s taste for heroic industrial photography, they make a sharper point about the Big-Business Mentality than anything in the text. As a parodist, Ford was too fond of his subject’s foibles to savage them, but he was delighted to point them out. Class clowns usually are. —VCR