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
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
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
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
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.