William M. Gaines

Sometime during the academic year 1978-79 — I don’t remember the exact dates — I went on a school trip from Iowa to the East Coast, making the basic tourist run from Washington DC to New York City. When I managed to carve out a little unsupervised time in New York, I did what any lifelong Mad magazine fan from the midwest would do, and made a beeline to 485 MADison Avenue where, for reasons that befuddle me to this day, they not only let me past the reception desk, but gave me a thorough tour of the place. I even met the legendary founder and publisher of Mad (not to mention E.C. Comics), William M. Gaines, who was probably, and I mean this quite sincerely, the celebrity I most wanted to meet in New York City. Being quite the junior shutterbug, I snapped a few photos on my Nikkormat, which I found today going through some boxes in my basement — the photos, not the camera — and thought, that’s something that needs to be on the internet. So here you go: William M. Gaines in the old Mad offices, being impossibly gracious to a 17 year old from Iowa.