Interview: Tim Johnson, MAD Collector

Tim's MAD CaveI discovered Tim Johnson on Facebook as a fellow MAD collector… but as it turns out, his collection puts mine to shame.  After paging through his photo albums of all the cool stuff he has and coveting some of the stuff I’d always wished to find, like the MAD Straitjacket from the late ‘50s, I decided to contact him and see if he’d be up for a Kittysneezes interview with a fellow MAD fan.

Part the First

KS: At this moment in time, what is your favorite song?

Tim Johnson: “Wichita Lineman” by Glen Campbell.

KS: What’s your favorite band that you don’t think a lot of people would have heard of?

Tim Johnson: Tarney-Spencer Band.

KS: What, if anything, is on any particular wall (your choice) in your domicile?

Tim Johnson: A Warner Bros. Studio / Mel Blanc Print.

KS: What’s the strangest thing you own?

Tim Johnson: A leg lamp from The Christmas Story.

KS: Of the things you’ve done, what’s your all-time favorite (however you want to interpret that, be it artistic works, actions, whatever)?

Tim Johnson: Besides fathering my three children, I’ve been in a television commercial.

KS: Who’s your favorite visual artist (excluding yourself)?

Tim Johnson: Norman Mingo.

KS: What are the five most recent films you’ve seen?

Tim Johnson: Night & Day, Toy Story 3, Robin Hood, Valentine’s Day, and Sex In The City II.

KS: What’re your top three movies?

Tim Johnson: History of the World – Part I, Caddyshack, and Dances With Wolves.

Original Swedish MAD Cover Art by BowenKS: Do you own any original artwork, and if so, whose?

Tim Johnson: Yes.  All from MAD magazine : Al Jaffee, Dave Berg, George Woodbridge, Don Martin, Sergio Aragones, Paul Peter Porges, Bowen (Swedish MAD).

KS: What is your favorite game?

Tim Johnson: Yahtzee.

KS: If you could say one thing to David Byrne, what would it be?

Tim Johnson: Get off of your high horse and put the band back together.  Tina misses you.

KS: What are your five most favorite books in the world?

Tim Johnson: Collectibly MAD, In Cold Blood, To Kill a Mockingbird, Guinness Book of World Records, and the MAD World of William M. Gaines.

KS: What is the most boring thing you’ve ever experienced?

Tim Johnson: A management meeting at my old job.

KS: If you could name a child anything in the world, what would it be?

Tim Johnson: Brecklynn.

KS: What is your favorite meal?

Tim Johnson: Deep-fried Chicken with homemade Mac & Cheese.

KS: What is reality?

Tim Johnson: Living & breathing, human interaction, pain & suffering.

Part the Second

KS: How did you get interested in MAD?

Tim Johnson: I read my first MAD in 1975.  I’ve been hooked ever since.

KS: What’s the coolest thing in your collection?  What about the weirdest?

Tim Johnson: I’ve got a lot of cool things.  But the most precious thing is the original cover painting to an issue of Swedish MAD from 1967. The weirdest thing would be a Little Charlie’s t-shirt that was worn by Bill Gaines.

KS: Have you ever made it to the MAD offices?

Tim Johnson: Yes.  Twice.  In 1995 and 1998.

straitjacketKS: You’ve got a Facebook photo album of MAD Holy Grails — the cufflinks, the straightjacket, and other cool stuff — what’s the next Holy Grail you’re after?

Tim Johnson: I would like to own a piece of original MAD cover art by Norman Mingo.

KS: Do you have a favorite issue or story?

Tim Johnson: I love Dave Berg’s the “Lighter Side of……” from the 1960’s.  And, I like Al Jaffee’s “Hawks and Doves”.

KS: What’s your favorite era of MAD?

Tim Johnson: I would say the 15 years from 1960 to 1975.

KS: What is your opinion of the Kurtzman MAD (and his later magazines Trump, Humbug and Help!) versus the Feldstein MAD?

Tim Johnson: I’m not really into the earliest MAD stuff.  To be fair, I’ve never really given any of the Kurtzman stuff a chance.  I’ve been more than satisfied with the stuff I read growing up, so the early comic book stuff doesn’t interest me.  Besides, they’re comic books.

KS: What do you think of MAD‘s decision to go to color and accept advertising?

Tim Johnson: I hate it.  I’m more of a traditionalist, so this new concept doesn’t sit well with me.

KS: Have you seen the new MAD show on Cartoon Network?

Tim Johnson: I have not seen the show, outside of a 2 minute pilot on YouTube.  I think if it helps MAD sell more magazines, it is worth it.

KS: What is it about MAD that means so much to you?

Tim Johnson: It keeps me in my favorite childhood memories, and I have MAD to thank for developing my sense of humor.  I have stacks and stacks of old MADs that my kids read now, and you have no idea how much that pleases me.

KS: Do you collect anything other than MAD memorabilia?

Tim Johnson: Yes.  I also collect vintage MTV memorabilia (pre-1986).  Although it doesn’t match the sheer volume of my MAD collection, my MTV collection is quite impressive as well.

KS: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Tim Johnson: Thank you for considering me for an interview.  I hope people take an interest in what I have to say.