MAD Magazine Presents Up the Academy is an American teen comedy film released in 1980, with a plot about the outrageous antics of a group of misfits at a military school.
The movie was an attempt to "cash in" on the phenomenal and unexpected success of National Lampoon's Animal House, which was also a movie made by a comedy magazine about a group of misfits at college.
It was directed by Robert Downey, and starred Wendell Brown, Tommy Citera, Harry Teinowitz, Hutch Parker, Tom Poston, Ralph Macchio and King Coleman. The movie was filmed entirely in Salina, Kansas, mostly on the campus of St. John's Military School,
The film was neither a commercial nor critical success when it was originally released, and was disowned by both the staff of MAD magazine and actor Ron Leibman (who had his name removed from the credits). MAD's publisher, William Gaines, paid Warner Bros. $30,000 to remove all references to MAD from the film when it was released on home video. However, the film developed a small cult following. Following Time Warner's purchase of MAD, all references to the magazine were reinstated on cable television. In 2006, the original version of the film was issued on DVD.
- Make up effects wizard Rick Baker designed the Alfred E. Neuman masks for the film.
- The role of Col. Bliss was originally written for Robyn Hilton, who had played a minor bit part in Mel Brooks' 1974 film Blazing Saddles. Early drafts of the script, with Robyn Hilton in mind, gave the Bliss character a lot more lines. Writers also wrote several semi-nude and topless scenes which were designed to showcase Hilton's physique. Hilton read the script and passed. The role of Col. Bliss in the film is instead portrayed by Barbara Bach.
References in Mad magazine
- In the tradition of MAD making fun of movies, the magazine spoofed their own film with "MAD Magazine Resents Throw Up the Academy". The parody mainly concerned Ron Leibman's name being removed, and the teenage troublemakers being punished by having to star in the film. Unlike most MAD movie parodies which are often several pages in length, this one was only two, the reason being with a fake note attached saying that the entire staff of MAD has quit over their shame and the article is hereby discontinued.
- The statue featuring Alfred E. Neuman with a pigeon on his head now sits in MAD's Madison Avenue offices.