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Jeffrey Morgan’s Media Blackout

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Hoohah! It's Jeffrey Morgan's Media Blackout #185!

The Usual Gang of IdiotsMAD #493 (EC Publications) :: Bill Gaines is gone. Harvey Kurtzman is gone. Will Elder is gone. Norman Mingo, Don Martin, Dave Berg, John Putnam, sadly all gone. So if you haven't read an issue of Mad lately, you might think that the old irreverent rag just ain't what it used to be — in which case you obviously haven't had your eyeballs scorched by the seditious September issue. From the rabble-rousing cover portrait of Alfred E. Obama holding a "YES WE CAN'T" sticker to the inside political movie posters starring Obama as "The 46-Year-Old Political Virgin" and John McCain in "No Country for Old Man," this is insightful social satire just like Al Feldstein used to edit. Even better: Mort Drucker and Al Jaffee are still here!

SIZZLING PLATTER OF THE WEEK: James BrownI Got the Feelin': James Brown in the '60s (Shout! Factory) :: Didja hear about the gig Mr. Dynamite gave on live television in 1968 to keep Beantown from burnin' down after MLK's death? You can see it now via this three-disc set, which contains a documentary about the show, the full-length monochromatic broadcast itself, and a rare period colorcast of JB on TV.

The myth is that the GFOS showed up to save the day, but the reality is that not only did he not come up with the idea to broadcast his already-scheduled show on live television — you can thank Boston's Mayor for that — after Hizzonner told the town to stay home and watch the JB Revue on the tube, an irate Looking Out For Soul Brother No. 1 got on the bad foot by demanding that he be paid $60,000 to recoup the loss incurred by tanking ticket sales and box office refunds.

But the big payback is a bitch, which is why the high point of the proceedings is watching Butane James' own personal Altamont ignite when he loses control of the show after inviting the audience to climb up and join him onstage.

Be seeing you!

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