It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

The one movie that probably best describes the state of the world today is the title of this post. But what a movie! I saw “Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” in 1964 – shortly after it was released – at the old Michael Todd Theater on Dearborn Street in Chicago. I’ve watched it a couple of times since then even though the running time is more than three hours. What a production!

Stanley Kramer produced and directed this amazing comedy based on the screenplay by William and Tania Rose. The film features – are you ready? – scores of famous actors and actresses. In the credits we see Spencer Tracy, Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Buddy Hackett, Ethel Merman, Mickey Rooney, Dick Shawn, Edie Adams, Phil Silvers, Dorothy Provine, Terry-Thomas, Jonathan Winters, Jim Backus, Joe E. Brown, Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, Peter Falk, Buster Keaton, Don Knotts, the Three Stooges – and so many others. What’s interesting is that another score or two of noted performers appeared without credits! These include Jack Benny, Jerry Lewis, Harry Lauter, James Flavin, and on and on. . . . .

Stanley Kramer originally wanted to add a fifth “Mad” to the title but decided against it. He later regretted it. In 1964, the film was nominated for six Academy Awards. It won just one — “Best Sound Effects.” While Kramer had previously avoided comedies, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World inspired him to direct and produce “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” which starred Spencer Tracy. Kramer’s success with the movie made him consider bringing back the former cast members for a sequel — “The Sheiks of Araby.” But it never happened.

If you’ve not seen it, you will enjoy it! Check out the trailer –

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