The late Ron Letchford had a history with British MAD since 1969, working with various concerns who handled MAD in the UK. His capabilities lay in the business, production and distribution areas.
When Warner dropped the books and magazines arm of its business in favour of video in the late 1970s, Ron pitched for the British MAD licence, as one half of the now-defunct Suron International Publications, which also had links with other international MAD publishers.
Ron elected to ‘double up’, taking on the editorial role himself, in addition to publishing. One of Ron’s plus-points was his success in developing Harry North as a British MAD contributor. (North provided original work for both British and American Mad issues, with the result that results on both sides of the Atlantic would be comparable in terms of professionalism.)
Ron also ‘discovered’ Dave Stoten, whose sometimes loosely-drawn (but otherwise on-the-money) caricatures led him to be a senior designer on TV’s ‘Spitting Image’; and, later, Maurice Mechan (see Maurice’s own page).
Suron wound up when British MAD was passed to a non-publishing concern, then to London Editions who merged with Fleetway; Ron remained as editor throughout (although Fleetway surrendered the licence back to the US).
I personally miss working on MAD with Ron, who was more-than-generous with MAD freebies and would often wine and dine his contributors.
(An interesting side-anecdote is that the Italian Panini Brothers knew Ro n and once asked him to oversee their ‘stickers’ operation in Britain. To Ron's eternal regret, he turned this down, before the idea went into orbit.)
written by David Robinson