Book! Movie!

I’ve been reading about various literary film adaptations lately — Revolutionary Road, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Spirit, even a possible new Great Gatsby directed by Baz Luhrmann. This onslaught caused me to flash back to a vintage Mad Magazine comic (originally published before I was born, but available in countless reprints such as these). Here are the great Harvey Kurtzman and Jack Davis riffing on what happens when a book becomes a movie. First, we see the opening segment from their hypothetical novel:

And here’s how the corresponding movie made from the novel starts:

Dash blast the gosh darned blankety heck! It’s well known that the Kurtzman-era Mad comics of the 50s were among the high points of 20th Century civilization. As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t get much better than Book! Movie! by Harvey Kurtzman and Jack Davis from Mad #13, July 1954.

6 Responses

  1. When I was a kid, I had the
    When I was a kid, I had the six foot tall Frankenstein poster drawn by Jack Davis. Man, I bet it’s a collector’s item now and I don’t even know what happened to it. Recklessness!

  2. Wow, I appreciate you posting
    Wow, I appreciate you posting this! This same strip made a huge impression on me as a kid about the hypocrisy and timidity that lurks at the heart of American culture. I’m going to link it to a film review of “The Furies” that I’m writing on my own blog – hope that’s OK with you! Think I’ll have me a look around the rest of your blog while I”m at it. 🙂

  3. Y’left out the best part…
    Y’left out the best part….when the motley temptress in the book – after witnessing his soliloquy about the throbbing in his head telling him that he wants, he WANTS – responds meekly: “A aspirin?” And the sleek blonde mankiller she turns into in the movie version responds to the same rant by purring: “A Anacin?” (Making “Book! Movie!” one of the earliest shots taken at product placement, though I’m sure Harvey was more entranced by the phonetic silliness of what, today, would have become “a Advil?”)

    Jack and Harvey at their best.

  4. Could someone post the whole
    Could someone post the whole Bokk!Movie! comic, if it doesn’tr violate copyright?

  5. One of my all-time favorites!
    One of my all-time favorites!

    My fave bit is actually the murder scene…

    “Here– among the forks and spoons– a KNIFE!”
    “NO! Not the knife– IN THE FACE!”

    “Here– among the forks and knives– a REVOLVER!”
    “NO! Don’t do it! Aim where the bullet holes won’t show!”

  6. I randomly remembered seeing this in a coffee table book back in the 90’s… I *think* I actually bastardized it for a school project but had the protagonist in my version get hit by a car… Or maybe that’s actually part of the original? Anyway very cool to see this again!

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Litkicks will turn 30 years old in the summer of 2024! We can’t believe it ourselves. We don’t run as many blog posts about books and writers as we used to, but founder Marc Eliot Stein aka Levi Asher is busy running two podcasts. Please check out our latest work!