Please explain what just happened.

I was reading my emails and I learned that I had won the Brazilian Microsoft lottery! The email asked if I wanted the $5 million sent to me? I emailed back: “yes, send it to me right away!” It was then I realized I had responded to this stupid question thing and erased the Microsoft info!

What is your earliest memory?

6 AM.  No, wait, I think I remember something at 4 AM.  I am not a morning person.

Please describe the current contents of your refrigerator.

Filled with lots of soda, juice, and a water bottle I hardly ever drink from. There are tons of left-overs in little plastic containers. And lots of things in packages like cheese, turkey, etc.

What verb best describes you?

To be.

What would you say to yourself if you could go back in time and have a conversation with yourself at age thirteen?

I would say: “My God, this is scary! You look exactly the way I looked when I was 13!”

What are the steps you take to regain your composure?

First I have a screwdriver. Second. I have a screwdriver. Third. Problem? What problem? And who am I? And why do I look this bad at age 13?

Define “success.”

Getting paid a really decent amount of money for doing what you really want to do.

From what or whom do you derive your greatest inspiration?

Watching the early days of TV, namely Sid Caesar on “Your Shows of Shows.” I laughed at that show so much; I thought: I want to write stuff like this when I grow up.  (You can find old “Show of Shows” shows on DVD).

What change do you want to be in the world?

I would like this question to be changed into one that I could understand.

Are you pro- or anti-emoticon? Please explain.

I’m neutral emoticon, which thankfully doesn’t require an explanation. Next question please.

How are you six degrees from Kevin Bacon?

Weird Al Yankovic is a MAD fan, and we’re Weird Al fans. Weird Al invited us to a live show he was doing in NYC at the Beacon Theatre. After the show we went backstage to say hello. Waiting outside Weird Al’s dressing room was Kevin Bacon. So that’s like one degree away right? I mean I was standing RIGHT next to him. I even said “hello.”

What makes you feel most guilty?

Giving flip answers to questions so I don’t have to work hard and think.

Please list three things you never leave home without.

Wallet, keys, egg rolls.

What is the worst piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?

Become a TNB Arts & Culture Featured Artist!

What is the best advice you’ve ever given to someone else?

Telling a friend: That rent stabilized penthouse apartment on Park Avenue your family left you will bring you nothing but misery! Let me live there. It will put a barrier between you and the “family curse.”

What do you consider the harshest kind of betrayal?

Stealing ideas and taking credit for them. (But I’m getting better.)

Of all the game shows that have graced our TV screens throughout history, which one would you want to be a contestant on and why?

I’d like to be on “Match Game.” I wrote the questions for “Match Game” for 18 years but I never got to answer any of them on the show! (Yes, it’s true. I worked for Goodson-Todman for many, many years writing those “Dumb Dora, Weird Willie, etc.” questions.)

What do you want to know?

Is there a way to parlay answering these questions into an acting career?

What would you like your last words to be?

I’ll see you tomorrow.

Please explain what will happen.

I’ll send in these 21 answers and then get an email saying: “Everyone here at A&C Feature Artist loved your answers! But it turns that the email you received asking you to answer those 21 questions really wasn’t meant for you. But thanks for your time. Perhaps we’ll use your answers some other time!”

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DICK DEBARTOLO wears many hats, which may explain his severe hair loss.

Dick appears regularly on WORLD NEWS NOW, the overnight ABC Network news program showing the latest gizmos and gadgets. Along with Leo Laporte, one of the most famous names in the world of technology, Dick does a daily Podcast/Netcast called "The Daily Giz Wiz". In 2009 it won a People's Choice Award as “best comedy podcast." Dick is not sure how it ended up in the “comedy” category, but he felt it was a lot better than “Best Dramatic Podcast." The Daily Giz Wiz is going into its fifth year with more than 1050 episodes so far.

Dick's gadget spots are low to medium-tech and lighthearted. The light-hearted part stems from his second career as MAD Magazine's MADDEST Writer. For more than forty years he's been writing many of those famous off-the-wall movie, TV and ad take-offs. He started his MAD writing career in high school when he submitted an article. He thought it had been returned when his own envelope came back. The envelope was stuffed with cardboard, a check and a note: "ha, ha, thought you were rejected, but we bought your piece.  Dick wrote the book GOOD DAYS AND MAD, which is all about the insane way MAD founder William M. Gaines ran his multi-million dollar empire. (No secretaries, no switchboard, even white wine in the water cooler one day!) Dick was featured in the April, 2010 issue of MAD for setting a record, by appearing in every issue of MAD for 40 consecutive years.

Dick is also a boating expert. For 35 years he had an office on a 50' houseboat docked in the Hudson River. Now he's downsized and moved his office to a 24' work boat which stays in the water year round. In the summer, his fleet expands when he brings his 25' walk-around cabin boat to the marina. Although he has owned 26 boats, he has never owned a car! He has been writing a monthly column for Powerboat Magazine for 40 years! For about 12 of those years he also was part of the Powerboat Test Team, putting new boats through their paces. And through a lot of waves!

He's also big fan of G gauge trains, sometimes known as outdoor trains and has a layout in his backyard. Having a backyard in Manhattan is rare, having trains in a backyard in Manhattan, is just about unheard of!

In the 1960’s, Dick used his MAD Magazine background to change the "Match Game" from normal questions to silly "Dumb Donald" and "Weird Willie" questions, and then wrote thousands of them for Mark Goodson/Bill Todman Productions. 

Dick died in 2002, but found it was kind of a dead end thing. So he reversed course and is back as MAD’s Maddest Writer (he just celebrated being in 400 consecutive issues) and is once again The Giz Wiz and back playing with his boats and trains! He has no plans to die again.

7 responses to “21 Questions with MAD Magazine‘s Dick DeBartolo”

  1. Carl D'Agostino says:

    Last words” “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

    I really loved this one!

    Could add: and give you the $50 I owe you.”

    I really like the picture of you with those two Presidents. I shook hands in the rope line with Nixon in 1965, 1968, and 1972. I don’t think he remembered because when I wrote him in 1973 to be appointed Secretary of State, I didn’t even get an answer.

    I have over 175 cartoons, single cel line drawing with gag. Original, unpublished, wholesome, folksy. May I send you samples. If interested please send US Mail address. Sold a bunch of my baseball ones to New Jersey Baseball Magazine. I’m 60 and gotta get moving on this before I come up with my last words. For tombstone , I like “I told that doctor I wasn’t feeling well.” 1660’s Puritan graveyard.

    What do penguins drink on New Years Eve toast? Cold Duck of course.

  2. Greg Olear says:

    Simply put, I’m honored to be on the same list of contributors with Dick DeBartolo.

    MAD’s influence on me has been well-documented. Well, it’s online somewhere. Here, in fact:

    http://www.powells.com/blog/?p=8519

    Thanks.

  3. Greg Boose says:

    This is how you do the perfectly timed comedic interview. Had me rolling. Big fan of MAD.

  4. Simon Smithson says:

    W…

    What is the purpose of the hat in the second photo?

  5. Henry A says:

    To Simon: It is a gadget called TV hat, google it. :}

  6. dwoz says:

    holy Sh**.

    saying “hi” to this guy is like meeting Jaco before he melted. It’s like remembering almost completely sure, but not completely sure, that that girl that gave you that spectacular hummer at the drive in back in high school is now the woman that the rest of the world knows as katie couric.

    It’s like crashing a party and what do you know, the guy handing me a drink is Gordon Sumner.

    It’s like being 12 again.

    thanks, my friend…I appreciate it.

  7. […] DICK DeBARTOLO of MAD Magazine. […]

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