Cracked

21 May

Cracked was an American humor magazine. Founded in 1958, Cracked proved to be the most durable of the many publications to be launched in the wake of Mad magazine.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

In print, Cracked conspicuously copied Mads layouts and style,[7][8][9][10] and even featured a simpleminded, wide-cheeked mascot named Sylvester P. Smythe on its covers (see Alfred E. Neuman). The Smythe character was referred to as Crackeds janitor. Unlike Neuman, who appears primarily on covers, Smythe sometimes spoke and was frequently seen inside the magazine, interacting with parody subjects and other regular characters. A 1998 reader contest led to Smythe finally getting a full middle name: “Phooey.” An article on Cracked.com, the website which adopted Cracked’s name after the magazine perished, joked that the magazine was “created as a knock-off of Mad magazine just over 50 years ago”, and it “spent nearly half a century with a fan base primarily comprised of people who got to the store after Mad sold out.”[11]

Crackeds publication frequency was reduced in the 1990s, and was erratic in the 2000s.[12] In 2006, the magazine was revived with a new editorial formula that represented a significant departure from its prior Mad style. The new format was more akin to “lad” magazines like Maxim and FHM.[13] The new formula, however, was unsuccessful and Cracked again canceled its print magazine in February 2007 after three issues. Later that year, the brand was carried over to a website, Cracked.com, now owned by E.W. Scripps.

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