On This Day, May 8, 1956 – Alfred E. Neuman Fails to Worry



1956 – Alfred E. Neuman appeared on the cover of “Mad Magazine” for the first time. 

Alfred owes his place in history to four men. The first was MAD’s first editor, Harvey Kurtzman, who glimpsed the grinning face, captioned “Me worry?” on a postcard in 1954.

“It was a kid that didn’t have a care in the world, except mischief,” Kurtzman recalled. The boy soon made his way into the pages of the magazine, though he was as yet unnamed.

Kurtzman had been using the Neuman name mostly because it had the ring of a nonentity — although there was a Hollywood composer named Alfred Newman. Misspelled, with the added “E,” it too was integrated into the magazine.

When Al Feldstein replaced Kurtzman as editor, he decided to link “Alfred E. Neuman” with the face of the idiot kid. The idiot kid made his official debut in 1956 as a write-in candidate for President on the cover of MAD #30, and the magazine now had an official mascot and cover boy. In the next issue, Alfred made his second cover appearance pictured as an addition to Mount Rushmore.

1541 – Hernando de Soto reached the Mississippi River. He called it Rio de Espiritu Santo. 

1794 – Antoine Lavoisier was executed by guillotine. He was the French chemist that discovered oxygen. 

1794 – The United States Post Office was established. 

1847 – The rubber tire was patented by Robert W. Thompson. 

1879 – George Selden applied for the first automobile patent. 

1886 – Pharmacist Dr. John Styth Pemberton invented what would later be called “Coca-Cola.” 

1904 – U.S. Marines landed in Tangier to protect the Belgian legation. 

1914 – The U.S. Congress passed a Joint Resolution that designated the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. 

1915 – H.P. Whitney’s Regret became the first filly to win the Kentucky Derby. 

1933 – Gandhi began a hunger strike to protest British oppression in India. 

1943 – The Germans suppressed a revolt by Polish Jews and destroyed the Warsaw Ghetto. 

1945President Harry Truman announced that World War II had ended in Europe. 

1958President Eisenhower ordered the National Guard out of Little Rock as Ernest Green became the first black to graduate from an Arkansas public school. 

1960 – Diplomatic relations between Cuba and the Soviet Union resumed. 

1970 – Construction workers broke up an anti-war protest on New York City’s Wall Street. 

1973 – Militant American Indians who had held the South Dakota hamlet of Wounded Knee for 10 weeks surrendered. 

1984 – The Soviet Union announced that they would not participate in the 1984 Summer Olympics Games in Los Angeles. 

1985 – “New Coke” was released to the public on the 99th anniversary of Coca-Cola. 

1986 – Reporters were told that 84,000 people had been evacuated from areas near the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Soviet Ukraine. 

1997 – Larry King received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

1999 – The first female cadet graduated from The Citadel military college. 


Sources: MadMagazine.com;on-this-day.com