…according to newly released files, the fearsome director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, J Edgar Hoover, was watching Alfred. He was not alone: much of Middle America believed the lad was a Communist, local watch committees thought him a menace, and law enforcement agencies were on his case. For 20 years from the mid-Fifties, Mad’s cartoonists and spoof writers sent up everything from politics and television to church and big business. It was the must-read for bolshie baby-boomers, the magazine your parents and teachers did not want you to read; and, at its height in the early Seventies, it sold 2.8m copies.
It is only now, however, that we are able to present