'Dorky Dancing', Hart's 'Dirty Dancing' parody from Mad #278, April 1988 (art by Mort Drucker).

Stan Hart was an American comedy writer, who wrote scripts for various TV shows, alongside works for film and theatre. He was also active at the Topps trading cards company, but is best known in comics circles as a writer for Mad Magazine. For nearly four decades Hart was part of "the usual gang of idiots", penning several classic film and TV parody comics, as well as satirical comics. 

Early life and career
Stan Hart was born in 1928. He studied at Stuyvesant High School and spent his higher education at the City College of New York, Columbia University and Apex Tech.

Mad Magazine: Film parodies
Hart started his association with Mad Magazine in 1962. His first film satire was 'Lawrence of Arabia' (issue #86, April 1964), drawn by Mort Drucker. Over the next quarter of a century he wrote scripts for movie spoofs like 'The Sound of Music' (issue #108, January 1967), 'Midnight Cowboy' (issue #134, April 1970), 'Summer of '42' (issue #148, January 1972), 'A Clockwork Orange' (issue #159, June 1973, with George Woodbridge), 'Death Wish' (issue #174, April 1975), 'Rocky' (issue #194, October 1977), 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' (issue #200, July 1978), 'Grease' (issue #205, March 1979), 'E.T.' (issue #236, January 1983, with Jack Davis), 'An Officer And A Gentleman' (issue #238, April 1983), 'Top Gun' (issue #267, December 1986), 'Fatal Attraction' (issue #279, June 1988), 'Rambo III' (issue #283, December 1988, with Angelo Torres), 'Gone with the Wind' (issue #300, January 1991, with Jack Davis), 'Home Alone' (issue #303, June 1991), 'Sister Act' (issue #316, January 1993), 'Mrs. Doubtfire' (issue #327, May 1994), 'The Truman Show' (issue #374, October 1988, with Sam Viviano) and 'The Green Mile' (issue #393, May 2000).

Hart also satirized both 'Gremlins' movies, Tim Burton's 'Batman' and 'Batman Returns' and three Walt Disney movies ('Beauty and the Beast', 'Aladdin' and 'The Lion King'). He had much fun writing Mad's parody of 'Dirty Dancing' (1987), drawn by Mort Drucker in issue #278, April 1988. Hart claimed that this picture was so full of tired old clichés that he had to keep a list. When creating their comic strip parody, he wrote down at least one at the bottom of each panel. The only other Mad movie satire to ever reach a similar cliché summary amount in the footnotes of every panel was 'Detroit Rock City' in issue #385 (September 1999), written by Desmond Devlin and illustrated by Ray Alma. 

Between issue #289 (September 1989) and issue #310 (April 1992).on Hart launched the 'Mad Video Review' series (1989-1992). These were basically spoofs of Hollywood blockbusters that Mad had missed when they were still in theaters. Thanks to home video they still had a chance to lampoon them, though not in the usual full-blown three to six pages-long comic strip parodies. Instead they tackled eight movies in one episode, but usually in no less than two to four panels, illustrated by Sam Viviano and one episode (issue #302, April 1991) by Mort Drucker. Among the movies covered in this series were, for instance 'Die Hard', 'The Last Temptation of Christ', 'When Harry Met Sally', 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation', 'Kindergarten Cop', 'Misery' and 'Thelma and Louise'.

'If Blondie Entered the Real Work Place' (Mad #310, April 1992), a parody of Chic Young's 'Blondie' comic strip (art by Angelo Torres).

Mad Magazine: TV parodies
Within Mad's pages, Hart naturally also wrote parodies of TV series, among them 'The Fugitive' (drawn by Mort Drucker, issue #89, September 1964), 'Peyton Place' (drawn by Mort Drucker, issue #95, June 1965), 'M*A*S*H*' (drawn by Angelo Torres, issue #166, April 1974), 'Taxi' (drawn by Angelo Torres, issue #212, January 1980), 'The A-Team' (drawn by Mort Drucker, issue #242, October 1983), 'Roseanne' (drawn by Mort Drucker, issue #287, June 1989), 'The Wonder Years (drawn by Sam Viviano, issue #291, December 1989), 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' (drawn by Mort Drucker, issue #303, June 1991), 'Seinfeld' (drawn by Mort Drucker, issue #327, May 1994) and 'NYPD Blue' (drawn by Mort Drucker, issue #329, July 1994).

Mad paperbacks and other activities
Hart penned various paperback compilations for Mad, namely 'The Mad Book of Revenge' (1976), 'The Mad Guide to Careers' (1978), 'The Mad Survival Handbook' (1980), 'Mad's Fast Look at Fast Living' (1982), all illustrated by Paul Coker, and 'A Mad Guide to Parents, Teachers and Other Enemies' (1985), drawn by Jack Davis. Over the years Hart was most proud of his article 'Broken Homes and Gardens', which presented a magazine aiming at children who went through a divorce. It appeared in issue #179 (December 1975) and was illustrated by Jack Rickard. Together with Larry Siegel, Steven Vinaver, Marshall Barer and Stephen Sondheim Hart wrote the Broadway musical 'The MAD Show' (1966), with music composed by Mary Rodgers.

Like many other Mad associates, Hart worked for Topps Card Company, creating trading cards like 'Garbage Pail Kids' and 'Wacky Packages'. According to Art Spiegelman, it was Hart who ignited the spark to create a parody of the 'Cabbage Patch Kids', which would eventually become the 'Garbage Patch Kids' franchise. He merely told the others to "create a parody of something", but this was enough to lead them to the idea. 

'An Officer Ain't No Gentleman' from Mad #238, April 1983 (art by Mort Drucker).

TV career
Outside the comic industry, Hart was also active as a TV screenwriter. He was involved with the never-aired TV pilot 'Wonder Woman: Who's Afraid of Diana Prince?' (1967), which was the first attempt to adapt William Moulton Marston's 'Wonder Woman' to the small screen. He wrote numerous episodes of the variety show 'The Carol Burnett Show' (1970-1972). By the sixth season he was show's main writer and received two Emmy Awards for his contributions. He wrote the script for the episode 'Walt Disney : One Man's Dream' (1981) for the TV series 'Disneyland'. 

Film career
Hart and his son, Christopher Hart, co-wrote the script for the SF comedy film 'Eat and Run' (1986), directed by Christopher Hart. The wacky story dealt with a humanoid extraterrestrial alien who lands on Earth and starts devouring Italian-Americans in New York City. The picture flopped at the box office and is nowadays forgotten. 

Final years and death
Stan Hart retired in 2000 and became a writing consultant for Youth Theatre Interactions, a performing arts school in Westchester County. He passed away in 2017 from progressive supranuclear palsy, at age 88.

Stan Hart by Sam Viviano.

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