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Gov. George D. Clyde and Edward F. Nauman, Thiokol vice president, obtain "Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" tickets from Mrs. Grant Clyde of Villa Heart Fund
Gov. George D. Clyde and Edward F. Nauman, Thiokol vice president, obtain "Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" tickets from Mrs. Grant Clyde of Villa Heart Fund.
Deseret News, 20 February 1964, A11

Fun-Filled 'Mad World' Opens After Heart Fund Premiere

By Howard Pearson
Deseret News Theater Editor
Deseret News, 20 February 1964, A11

Nearly 1,400 Utah moviegoers had a "mad, mad, mad, mad" time Wednesday night at the Villa Theater, where the Mountain West premiere of "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" was held.

The 200-minute comedy opened its regular run at the Villa today and will continue the same roadshow, reserved-seat policy that has marked previous Cinerama productions at the theater.

Those who attended the Wednesday premiere included state, city and count civic leaders, church authorities, businessmen and educators - all contributing to the Utah Heart Fund campaign, which received proceeds from the premiere.

The first-nighters included Gov. and Mrs. George D. Clyde, Pres. N. Eldon Tanner, second counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and Mrs. Tanner, Mayor and Mrs. J. Bracken Lee and Heart Fund officers as well as leaders from Thiokol of Utah, who assisted in sponsoring the premiere.

President Tanner represented President Hugh B. Brown, first counselor in the First presidency of the Church, who had been appointed Heart Fund drive honorary chairman to memorialize the late President Henry D. Moyle, First counselor of the First counselor of the First Presidency of the Church.

President Moyle died of a heart ailment and President Tanner called attention to the fact that although he knew he had the ailment this did not slow down the big heart of President Moyle in doing good to others.

"It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" had most of the premiere audience laughing, chuckling, smiling, tense, and excited in turn. It combines elements of comedies featuring Harold Lloyd, the Keystone Kops, Laurel and Hardy and a few others thrown in for good measure.

There's a chase, which forms the main theme for the picture. There is the old hanging from a high-building act with many embellishments. There is destruction of a building down to its last upright portion. And there are many other tricks, including an airplane flying through a roadside sign.

It would be difficult to determine what brought the most laughter, but when Ethel Merman flew from the back seat of a car to the front and lit on her head, exposing old-fashioned bloomers that went right to her knees, the laughter was long.

When Sid Caesar and Edie Adams, who are married in the picture, made a trip in an old bi-plane with Ben Blue at the controls, there were many moments of merriment as well as tension. The audience wondered if they would reach their destination.

There was a scene that found Caesar and Edie trapped in the basement of a hardware store filled with fireworks. Producer-director Stanley Kramer pulled all tricks for this one. He even had Caesar wandering around with a blow-torch, and it isn't difficult to guess what happened when Sid got near the fireworks.

These were just a few of the high points in the laugh hit. There were almost as many favorite scenes last night as there were people in the audience.

Many liked the credits, which are the most imaginative and longest of any recent picture. The characters tumble together in an unusual manner and with 15 top comedy stars and 25 featured comics, there are plenty of names and faces to keep the credits going for nearly 10 minutes.

It was difficult to tell who the favorites were, but Milton Berle's acting in a semi-serious role drew some good comments. Mickey Rooney had his fans, and so did Dick Shawn. Terry-Thomas, with his separated front teeth, was a favorite, and it's certain Jonathan Winters, Phil Silvers and Buddy Hackett will enhance their standing as a result of the film.

"It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" concerns the chase of a dozen individuals to the site of a fortune in cash buried after a payroll robbery. All the individuals head for the spot, which has been disclosed by the "death" of Jimmy Durante, the stickup artist, after a crash on a mountain road.

From four persons who hear him tell about the buried money, the number in on the "secret" grows and grows as the chase goes on and on.

Among those eventually involved in the chase is Spencer Tracy, who plays a true-blue but fading chief of police detectives. He has been informed his pension fund will not be as big as he had hoped; his wife and daughter are giving him trouble, and he enters the chase near the end.

A sneaky plan enters his mind as the chase nears the site of the buried cash; and this is where the message comes in - that greed will drive individuals to do almost anything.

"It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" is projected in the single projector Cinerama process, but many in the premiere audience said it does not carry the illusion of depth of the three-projector technique.

Some said they preferred seeing center lines to partially losing the illusion of being in the picture. They felt, however, that the sound was excellent, picture was clear and the film did not jiggle, and they liked the sustained comedy which resulted in "Mad . . . World" being named one of the 10 best pictures of the year.