Favorite "Far Side" Memories (MAD, too)

If there have been new releases of Larson’s “Far Side” stuff lately, I’ve missed them. Last I heard (several years ago) he had thrown in his pen. So this thread is for the purpose of letting you relive the splendor of your fave(s).

Same for old issues of MAD Magazine.

The FS thing I like to remember is where the rescue pilots are looking down on this little isand where the guy is frantically trying to spell out something in the sand, and one says to the other something like “It’s okay. He just says “HELF.””

Then there’s one where this guy is hanging upside down in the doorway, with one foot tied in a deadfall rope. Over on the piano top is a goldfish bowl with some fish in it and one of the fish says, “It worked!”

MAD had some Ernie Kovacs pages with something like “Believe It Or Else” as a title. One of them is great for retelling whenever the coincidence or synchronicity issue comes up:

“On April 4, 1953, Martin Watson, a bricklayer in NYC, carved his initials “MW” in a brick he had just made. Exactly two years later, to the day, he was fishing off Cape Cod and caught a perch.”

Is it me or is MAD not as good as I remember? My orthodontist has a subscription just for her patients, and when I read the new ones I wonder what happened to the magazine I remembered. Then again, a lot of the old ones weren’t so hot anyway, like the Simpsons said. (“They’re making fun of Spiro Agnew again. He must work there or something.”)

My favorite Far Side was a well-racked buck jumping a log in the forest, about to be horn-clipped by a branch. At the bottom, it says “nature scenes we rarely see”

A young God tries to make a chicken.

There is a goldfish bowl on a table. There are two fish in the bowl, and the skeleton of a third lying on the ground beside the table. One of the living goldfish says to the other, “I guess he made it. It’s been more than a week since he went over the wall.”

Cracks me up everytime I think about it.

My all-time favorite Far Side is the Midvale School for the Gifted.

It’s got a kid leaning against the door, pushing (looks like he’s been there for hours). The sign on the door says “Pull”. The sign in the yard says “Midvale School For The Gifted”.

One that I have taped to the inside cover of my DMG (god, I am such a geek): Male and female bear in a circus. The male is riding a motorcycle, the female is sitting in the sidecar, they’re riding around the ring. Male bear is saying: “Looks like a trap,” I said. “Nonsense,” you said. “Who’d put a trap way out here in the woods?” you said.

Some of my favorites:

A cat is heading toward the clothes dryer, following signs that read “cat fud” with arrows pointing in the opening of the dryer. The dog is hiding nearby, excitedly saying to himself “Oh please, oh please”.

Circus bear 1 (who has just removed his muzzle) to circus bear 2 (with a third circus bear on a unicyle lead by a trainer in the background): “Well, hey…these things just snap right off.”

Man in doorway of house which has erratic pattern mown into lawn, to dog sitting in front of him, next to lawn mower: “You call that mowin’ the lawn?..Bad dog!..No biscuit!..Bad dog!”

The more Far Sides I read in a row, the more exponentially funny the next one becomes…

“Horse Hospitals” which shows horses lying in traction in beds in a hospital ward while Dr.'s in lab coats walk through the aisles with shotguns tucked under their arms.

And the one with the dog translation: “Hey! Hey! Hey! Heeeeeeyyyy! Hey! Hey! Hey! Heyheyheyheyhey!”

As for MAD, I’m not sure how well it holds up, but it is fun nostalgia. Apparently, they’ve published all their back issues on CD-ROM. I found one in a CompUSA and bought it. It covered from about '73 through '77, which covered some of my peak Mad reading years.

The one with a bunch of ducks standing around and one of them calls out “Chicken!” and they all duck as a chicken flys by overhead.

Two explorers cross a savannah. Unknown to either of them, a large water buffalo is right behind them. One explorer turns to the other, and says “Buffalo breath? Buffalo breath? Shall we discuss your incessant grunting noises?”

Two kangaroos are bounding thru the outback. One says to the other: “Just jump! Stop saying ‘boing, boing’.”

All the cows standing up and schmoozing until…


And they all get down and graze until the car passes.

A rooster is home sick in bed. The hen brings him a bowl of chicken soup and says, “Don’t worry – nobody we know.”

First fave: The spaceship has landed, two aliens standing at the top of the stairway, with a third lying in a crumpled pile at the bottom of the stairs, whilst humans are in attendance. “So much for instilling them with a sense of awe.”

The other fave is a bear doing a puppet show in their cave for his kids, poppa bear using human skulls for the puppets: “Hey Jim, d’ya think there are any bears in this cave?” “I dunno, let’s look.”

MAD isn’t what it used to be (but then, what is?).

Favorite moment was 43-Man Squamish.

I also love Dick DeBartolo’s work, with “Loused Up In Space” the standout. There’s one panel where you see David Janssen as The Fugitive on one of the alien planets (Mort Drucker did the art, of course).

My favorite FS moment is from one of the books. He got all these calls about how the cartoon didn’t make sense. Then he actually saw it. They had cropped the name of the company off the top of the building. The caption (details don’t matter) was something like:

“We’ve got two guys out sick, production line one is down, there’s a fire in the storeroom and everything is generally, you know…”

The (missing) name of the company is “Haywire Manufacturing.”

Heh. I spent three weeks substitute-teaching at a private school with a door exactly like that. It wasn’t until the last day that I managed to remember which way it opened.

My favorite is the one where a bunch of cars are going up a winding mountain road with a sign that says “Lookout ahead.” On the other side of the mountain you see the cars plunging off a cliff as the road ends abruptly, and another sign which reads “LOOK OUT!”

(Hmm, that description doesn’t do it justice. Oh well.)

Scientists look at themselves in the mirror. On the door behind them you see “Primate Studies.” Man says, “Hey, that’s us! Somebody’s installed the one-way mirror in backwards!”

A woman is speaking to her husband, whose head just peeks from the couch. “Harold! So that’s where you’ve been! Oh, and there’s my good hairbrush, too.”

Two classics:

What we say to dogs: "Bad Fido! You see this? You were a very bad dog, Fido! Bad dog! Bad Fido!
What they hear: “blah Fido blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah Fido blah blah blah Fido

And then:

What we say to cats: “Bad Fluffy! You chewed up the houseplants again, Fluffy, didn’t you? Bad kitty! Bad Fluffy!”
What they hear: “blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah”

Always loved the one with the guy getting into a full elevator with a lion. He states “Don’t worry, he’s completely harmless unless suddenly startled.” The lions tail is hanging in the path of the closing doors.