Mad Men prides itself on historical accuracy, seamlessly integrating the past into a currently airing television show. In anticipation of the show’s series finale this month, The New York Academy of Medicine helps us take a look back at series with a gallery of Mad Men-era archival ads. Anne Garner, curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts at the NYAM provided us with more details to help put the ads into context:
Nobody conjures the ’60s better than Matthew Weiner and the writers, designers, and stylists of AMC’s Mad Men. We’ll miss the quotidian details: the trash left behind at the Draper family picnic, that unbelievable maternity dress of Trudy’s, the choking smoke of Mohawk’s planes, Metro-North’s trains, and Don’s automobiles. When Sally Draper puts a plastic dry-cleaning bag over her head and her mother scolds her — not out of fear for her safety and only for dumping her dry-cleaning on the floor — we’re gob-smacked. These moments crystallize the seismic shifts that have occurred in cultural expectations over the last fifty years.
As the series prepares to take its final bow later this month, we mined our own collections at The New York Academy of Medicine for advertisements and food ephemera referenced in or relevant to the show. Some of these may produce nostalgia — for Howard Johnson’s, or for Hershey’s — and others, a deep sigh of relief. “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times” plays in “Far-Away Places,” when Roger takes LSD for the first time. We hear that!
Butisol — The New England Journal of Medicine 279, no. 14 (1968): xvii
Anne Garner: Betty Draper opted for talk therapy as her mother’s little helper instead of the “daytime sedative” pictured, but fans might imagine this alternate scenario, if she had been buoyed by McNeil’s magic pill. Who could have imagined that a round of cowboys and Indians with Gene and Bobby could go this swimmingly?