Interview with Jack Davis

Jack Davis is one of the original artists from “Mad” magazine.  He has also illustrated covers from various outlets such as “Time” magazine to film posters for “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”.  He also worked with Rankin/Bass productions on films like “Mad Monster Party”.  Media Mikes had a chance to briefly chat with Jack about his various projects over the years.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us how you got started working with “Mad” magazine?
Jack Davis: I was brought on by Harvey Kurtzman when he started “Mad” in 1952. I contributed a lot of illustrations to that magazine. I left though to work for Playboy and Hugh Hefner but I came back shortly after and worked with them for many years after.

MG: Is there a difference in your process when creating art in magazine’s differing from “Time” to “Mad”?
JD: It wasn’t much different. I really enjoyed doing the work for “Time”. They really let me do my one thing on the covers. I always thought they came out really nice.

MG: Tell us about working on film posters like “The Bad News Bears” and “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”?
JD: I would get an idea of what they wanted, then I would submit my variations.  They would be both in color and black and white. They would go through them make changes, send them back to me and I would adjust my drawings.

MG: How did you get involved working with Rankin/Bass productions?
JD: Well, I guess they were “Mad” fans and they need some help with their character designs. I worked with them on many projects including “Mad Monster Party” and “King Kong” series. I enjoyed work with Rankin/Bass quite a lot, they are good people.

MG: Tell us about working with Rick Goldschmidt in both “Enchanted World of Rankin/Bass” and the “Making of a Rankin/Bass Holiday Classic: Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer”?
JD: Rick is a big fan and I appreciate that very much. He asked me to help contribute and I agreed. He has some really rare photos and drawings from Rankin/Bass productions. It was a real pleasure.

MG: What are you currently working on?
JD: Not really, I am retired here in Georgia. Occasionally, I do some lend my services for the local University here and make art for the Georgia Bull Dogs team.

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