Dick DeBartolo (born: October 19) is a longtime writer for Mad. He is occasionally referred to as "Mad's Maddest Writer," this being a twist on Don Martin's former status as "Mad's Maddest Artist." DeBartolo served as the magazine's "Creative Consultant" from 1984 to 2009.
Mad has long spaced out DeBartolo's articles to ensure that at least one appears in every issue. As of his byline in issue #541 in 2016, new DeBartolo material has appeared in 439 consecutive issues, dating back to 1966. This is the longest such streak, surpassing runner-up Sergio Aragonés by nine issues. (Aragonés would be 25 issues ahead of DeBartolo's run if not for a single missed issue, #111. Al Jaffee would also be 16 issues ahead of DeBartolo, had he appeared in issue #360. Other than these three, only Dave Berg (whose streak was halted by his death) appeared in as many as 300 consecutive issues.)
DeBartolo recounted his first-ever experience submitting material to Mad in 1961:
- "I wrote a sample script ("A TV Ad We Would Like to See") and sent it on to them. I had read in an article that writers should always send a self-addressed stamped envelope along with a script they were submitting. That way, if the script was rejected you would get it back. Otherwise, it is just tossed out. Weeks later, I got back my own envelope. I was so disappointed. Then I figured I would open it in case it was a "nice try" kind of reject. But inside my envelope was cardboard. And scribbled on the cardboard was a note from associate editor Nick Meglin. It said: "Ha ha, thought we rejected your script, but we bought it! Stapled to this cardboard is your check! Please call us about writing more stuff for us!"
DeBartolo was also a successful writer for TV game shows, beginning with Barry-Enright before moving on to Goodson-Todman. Writing for Match Game, DeBartolo is credited with coming up with the bawdy and suggestive style of questions that the show is remembered for. During the early 1960s, while writing for Match Game, DeBartolo cast several of the show's panelists and guests in his own 8mm film comedies, which he shot on the studio's rooftop. A rare public showing of those films was held in a Manhattan hotel ballroom in 1964.
DeBartolo told GSN in 2006 that when The Match Game moved its production west in the 1970s, he stayed in New York and mailed in his questions to the Match Game staff in Los Angeles. The West Coast version ran for nine more years on CBS and in syndication. Besides his experience on the Match Game, DeBartolo served as creative consultant on other Goodson-Todman game shows, such as Tattletales and Super Password. In 1971, he was able to induce Mad publisher William M. Gaines to appear on To Tell the Truth as himself; all four panelists failed to pick out the real Gaines. After stumping the panel, Gaines jokingly denied knowing DeBartolo.