The season 4 finale begins with Don in bed. He hears a noise, which wakes him up. He calls out, and a fully dressed Faye walks in the room. Don asks her to “put him out of his misery” before she goes. Faye tells him that the American Cancer Society loved his ad, and they will love him. She then tells him that he will have a blast with his kids in California. Don insists that he has a “sick feeling” in his stomach, and Faye says that it might not be about work, that it could be about his past. Don says that it’s not that simple, and Faye agrees. But she also says that if he resolves some of his issues, he might feel better about everything. She kisses him, and says that she’ll call him on Tuesday when he gets back. Don says that he will miss her.
Joan pushes the mail cart around a mostly empty office. She arrives at Lane’s office, where he promotes her to “Director of Agency Operations”. Unfortunately, the job comes with no increase in salary, as the agency hasn’t signed any new clients in ten weeks. Joan says that it’s “almost an honor”.
We then see Don and Pete meeting with the American Cancer Society. One of the board members asks what made him write his now-famous open letter, and a nervous Don says that it was just an impulse, and was something he needed to do to “move forward”. The same board member compliments him on the gesture and says that they feel that lung cancer is avoidable, especially with the right ad campaign. She wonders what the campaign might be like. Another member says that they feel that scary medical facts are “useless”, and he reveals that half the board smokes. Don says that he also smokes, and mentions how futile it was to run ads to get people to change brands, much less quit.
Don then says that the heart of tobacco advertising is to get new smokers. A member says that teenagers are a tough sell, but Don disagrees, at least for tobacco companies. Don says that tobacco companies appeal to teenage rebellion and their need for adulthood. But Don also says that teenagers are sentimental, and suggests a series of commercials that would run during teen shows. They would feature parents walking on the beach, baking cookies or playing catch with their kids, and would show that their parents are “not long for this world”. One of the board members says that kids hate their parents, but Don counters that teens are selfish, and won’t be thinking about their parents, but themselves.
“They’re mourning for their childhood more than they’re anticipating their future, because they don’t know it yet but they don’t want to die.”
Don then guarantees the board members that Lucky Strike will hate the commercials, and the board members laugh.
We then see Don and Pete returning to the office. Roger asks how it went, and Don says that they asked for another meeting. Pete, obviously more excited, says that Don had them “eating out of his hand”. Inside his office, Pete says that Don seemed to have a good relationship with the CEO of Dow Chemical. Ken walks into his office, and the partners ask Ken to arrange a golf game between himself, his future father-in law (who works for Corning) and his friend Everett Marlowe of Dow. Ken is reluctant, and Don says that he pitched himself as an idealistic businessmen who wouldn’t call Dow looking for new business. Ken says he’s not (a good salesman like) Pete, and that it’s just not worth the risk to his future wife’s happiness. Roger says that he’ll call Dow, but he’ll drop Ken’s name whilst doing so. Ken tells him to do what he wants, then tells the partners that he’s going to go “service the 30% of this firm that are my clients”.
Glen shows up at the Francis house. He saw all the moving men talking things out of the house and noticed that Betty’s car was gone. So he decided to stop in to say goodbye to Sally. Carla reluctantly gives him permission to go to her room to do so. He knocks on her door, and Sally lets him in. She says that they’re moving to Rye, and the actual move will happen while Don takes the kids on a trip to California this weekend. Glen tells her that he’ll be able to drive soon and come see her. Sally excitedly asks if he’s being serious, then sadly says that she can send him postcards. They hug. Glen asks if she’s going to Disneyland. She says that she is, and he asks her to bring him back something.
We then see Glen walking towards the back door door just as Betty walks in. In an rage, Betty asks what he’s doing there. She throws him out of the house, but not before Glen asks why she hates him so much (“just because you’re sad doesn’t mean that everyone has to be”, he says). Betty, furious that Carla gave him permission to see Sally, fires her under the pretense of needing someone closer to their new house.
Don is meeting with his account, Frank Keller, and the two talk about the sale of the house in Ossining and Anna’s house in Los Angeles. Don’s made a nice profit off the sale of Anna’s house, and looks to make a killing off the house in Ossining, which he will list once he gets back from California. Don asks Frank about the net loss from his investment in the firm, but Frank tells him to relax and maybe buy a place to settle down in. Megan buzzes him just then and says that Betty’s on the phone. Betty apologizes to Don for disrupting his travel plans but says that she fired Carla. Don asks why, then asks if he can hire her back for the trip, as he has business meetings to attend. Betty refuses, saying that Carla will “poison the well”. He asks what he’s supposed to do, and Betty tells him not to take them at all, as they’re used to it. Don says that they’re going on the trip, then slams the phone down.
While all this is going on, Peggy’s friend Joyce stops by and introduces her to Carolyn Jones, a model friend who was just fired from a shoot for Topaz pantyhose… along with the ad agency behind it. Harry stops by Peggy’s office, where he takes an obvious interest in Carolyn. When he finds out that she’s unemployed, he “sympathetically” takes an interest, and asks if she’s looking to get in to acting or modeling. Peggy takes a mental note of the situation with Topaz.
Don walks out of his office and approaches Megan, who has set up a complex arrangement of babysitters to look after the children in California. Don is not happy with the situation, and offers to double Megan’s weekly salary if she’d take the job. She’s reluctant at first, saying that she has no experience with kids. But Don says that Sally likes her and Bobby likes anyone with a pretty face. She agrees to go. We then see the Drapers (and Megan) arriving at the hotel. Sally and Bobby excitedly put their hands in the swimming pool:
Back in New York, Ken walks in to Peggy’s office. She told him about the situation with Topaz, and he called Art Garten, the head of Topaz, to pitch SCDP to him. Ken says that Art was impressed that SCDP found out of their situation so quickly, and wants to give the agency a shot at landing their account. The company has already bought space for the campaign, so the agency needs to move quickly. Peggy says that Monday is a holiday, but Ken says that it needs to happen then. Harry asks if she needs help, but Peggy says that Carolyn won’t be there, so he leaves.
In Los Angeles, Don returns to his hotel room after a day of meetings. But he looks on happily as Sally and Bobby sing a French song Megan has taught them. They make plans for the next morning, and Megan wishes the kids goodnight in French. Don smiles at her. He says that she said she had no experience with kids, but she’s “like Maria von Trapp”.
The next day Stephanie greets the Drapers at the door of Anna’s house. She greets the kids and asks them how they like California. They don’t answer, so Don says that they love it. She then says that Patty had all the paperwork in order, so as soon as the tardy notary comes, all Don has to do is sign. Bobby then notices the painting on the wall, as asks about it. Don says that Anna painted it. Sally sees the “Dick + Anna ’64″ signature and asks who “Dick” is. There’s a pause, and Don says that it’s his nickname sometimes. He then tells the kids to go in the backyard and pick some lemons.
After the kids leave the room, Don glances at all of Anna’s remaining possessions: a piano and four boxes. Stephanie says that a friend is going to help her move the piano back to her mother’s house, and the rest of Anna’s things will be given to charity. Stephanie then says that she has something for Don that Anna wanted him to have: the engagement ring that the real Don gave her. Don asks if she’s sure, and Stephanie says that Anna was insistent, and that she doesn’t believe in marriage. Don looks at the ring and puts it in his pocket. He then lights a cigarette and asks Stephanie if she’s going back to school. She says not yet, that she’s not sure what she wants to do with her life. There’s a knock at the door, and Stephanie goes to let the notary in. Don stares at the painting on the wall:
Back the hotel, we see Don and the kids walking up to Megan, who is in the water, playing with Gene who is sitting on the edge on the pool. She asks Don how it was, and he says it was “mostly fun”. The kids beg Don to get in the water with them, and they’re already taking off their clothes, revealing the bathing suits underneath. Megan mentions that he swims all the time in New York, but Don says that he’s really tired.
We then see him, alone, in the hotel room, deep in thought.
We see him a few minutes later, changed out of his suit and at the pool. He jumps in and starts playing with the kids. Later, we see Don and the kids with a map of Disneyland, planning out their adventure for the following day. There’s a knock at the door and Megan walks in with her friend Camille. The two are going to the Whisky a Go Go, and she just wanted to see if the family needed anything before she left. Don, smiling, says that they’re okay. He stares at her as she leaves. Bobby then asks about Tomorrowland, saying that “I don’t want to ride an elephant…. I want to fly a jet!”
Back in Ossining, Betty comes home from working at the new house. Henry is there, and he mentions that Carla called for her. Betty, acting like nothing’s wrong, asks what she wanted. Henry knows that Betty fired her, and asks her why. Betty says that she doesn’t trust Carla’s judgment, then asks Henry what Carla said. Henry says that she said that Betty wouldn’t give her a letter of recommendation. He rhetorically asks how long Carla worked for them, and says that he knows Carla wasn’t stealing… so he asks her again why she fired her… and that it’d better not be about Glen. Betty says that Sally was not allowed to see him, and Henry says that Carla said that Glen was her friend. Betty responds with an angry “CARLA SAID??” Henry says that he doesn’t understand her, that she didn’t want to move out of Don’s house so the children would be stable, but she goes and fires the nanny they’ve had since they were children. Betty says that she wanted a fresh start, but Henry says that there’s no such thing and that lives go on. Betty asks if he could, just once, take her side. Henry says that no one is ever on her side. He slams a book down and walks away.
At the hotel, Don is drinking a Miller beer and reading a John le Carré novel on the bed when Megan returns to her room next door. He knocks on her door and says that he wanted to go over the Disneyland plans for the next day. She invites him in, and the two enjoy the view from the balcony. Don asks if she had fun with her friend, but Megan says that she’s not really a friend. She went to college with her, and the friend developed too much of an attraction to her father, a professor at the school. She says that her “friend” has acted in a couple of episodes of Hogan’s Heroes, and said that Megan could never do the same because of her teeth. Don says that he loves her teeth and puts his arm around her. Megan says that she took elocution lessons in New York. Don pulls her close and kisses her. She asks if they should be doing this, and Don says that he’s been thinking about her so much.
At the Draper home, Betty lies down on Sally’s bed.
The next morning, Don and Megan stare at each other in bed. Don asks if she thought about this when he asked her to come on the trip, and she says that it was the first thing she thought about. She says that she’d miss Don anyway. He says that she doesn’t know anything about him; she says that she does, that he has a good heart and is always trying to be better. Don says that he should go back to his room before the children wake up, but he wants to know if the two of them are going to be more than assorted one-night stands. She says that he has nothing to fear. They make plans to meet back in her room at 11 the next evening.
Back in New York, Ken and Peggy pitch various ideas to Art and another Topaz executive. They especially like Peggy’s “one pair is all you’ll ever need” idea.
In Los Angeles, Don approaches a table at a diner. He takes a long look at Megan sitting with Sally, Bobby and Gene. Sally and Bobby get in to an argument over whether snakes used to have legs, and Sally accidentally spills her milkshake all over the table. Don says “GREAT!” and wakes over a waitress, but then notices that Megan has calmly started wiping up the milkshake with paper napkins. He suddenly seems to realize that the spilled milkshake is no big deal, and he smiles and helps Megan clean it up.
The shot fades into another of Don sitting on his bed in New York, lost in thought. Megan, asleep in the bed, apologizes, thinking she’s overslept. Don tells her that he wanted her to sleep in. He says that he’s been up for a few hours himself, and that he just couldn’t sleep as he was thinking of her. He says that he doesn’t know what it is, but he feels like himself when he’s around her, that is, the way he always wanted to feel. He says that he’s in love with her, and thinks he has been for a while. He reaches in his pocket and pulls out Anna’s ring.
“When I saw you sleeping there, I thought… I couldn’t imagine not seeing you there every morning. Will you marry me?”
Megan says yes, and Don puts the ring on her finger.
At the office, Don calls the partners into his office to announce the engagement. Actually, he says that he and “Miss Calvet” are getting married, and Roger asks who the hell that is! Lane congratulates him first, and Roger is on-board as soon as he figures out that it’s Don’s secretary. He also insists that she come in, so Joan invites her in… to a round of applause.
Ken walks up to Peggy and tells her that Art just called him, and that SCDP has landed the account. They head to Don’s office to tell him the good news, but Peggy seems taken aback that Don is marrying Megan. Don’s phone rings, and Megan awkwardly says that she’ll get it. Peggy tells Don about the $250,000 account, which puts a big smile on Don’s face. He shakes their hands and compliments them on a job well done.
Ken leaves, and Peggy shuts the door behind him. She expresses surprise at the engagement, but a smiling Don tells her that it’s been going on for a while. Peggy says that she’s happy for him, and says that Megan is very beautiful. Don says that she reminds him of her, that Megan and Peggy both have the same spark. He also says that Megan admires her a lot. The two hug, and Peggy leaves.
Megan says that the phone call was from Faye (again), and that putting off telling her won’t make it any easier.
We then see Peggy knocking on the door of Joan’s office. With a grin on her face, Joan asks “Whatever could be on your mind?”. Peggy asks if Joan can believe it, and Joan tells her that it happens all the time, that they’re all just between marriages. Joan says that Don will probably make her a copywriter, as he won’t want to be married to a secretary. Peggy thinks that’s what Don meant by his “same spark” comment, and she complains that she’s “saved” the company by getting the first new business since Lucky Strike dumped SCDP… but her glory isn’t as important as Don getting engaged. Joan then tells her about her new title but no raise. Peggy says that a “pretty face comes along” and everything goes out the window. Joan says that she learned long ago that not to get satisfaction from her job. Peggy calls bullshit on the whole thing.
Back in his office, Don calls Faye. She says that she was worried about him, and planned to come by at lunch. Don tells her not to come, that something has happened that he wants to talk to her about in person. Faye agrees to meet him for coffee, but then changes her mind and demands that he tell her now. Don tells her that he is now engaged. Faye asks if he’s kidding, and Don says that it was a surprise for him, too. She asks how the woman is, but Don refuses to say, commenting only that he didn’t plan it, and that Faye was very important to him. Faye asks if he’s going to place an ad in the New York Times saying that he never liked her. She hopes that he’s happy, and that his future wife knows that he “only likes the beginnings of things”. Don apologizes, but Faye slams the phone down and cries.
Megan, who was watching the light on her phone, walks into the office. Don says that everything is fine and that it’s done. She walks over to him as he sits in his chair and puts her hand on his face and tells him she loves him. They kiss,
Later that night, Joan talks to Greg in Vietnam. She tells him that Don is “smiling like a fool”, as if he’s the first person to ever think of marrying his secretary. Greg asks when Joan’s gonna tell SCDP about her own news: she’s pregnant! He asks if she’s showing, and if her boobs are still getting bigger. He tells her not to worry about her figure, that she needs to eat for the baby. He then says that he’ll whip them into shape when he gets back home. The two then make plans for a future phone call and tell the other that they love them.
In Ossining, Betty checks her makeup in the almost empty house. She hears someone come in, and calls out a hello. Don answers back with a “Mrs. Truxton”, thinking Betty was the real estate agent. She asks why he’s here, and he explains about the agent. She says that she forgot some items in guest bath, and Don asks if she wasn’t that thorough. Betty guesses that she wasn’t, so Don walks over and finds a liquor bottle in the pantry. Betty smiles and pulls a cup out of her box of stuff.
She asks if he likes her new house; he says that he does, that it’s got a lot of character. She frets that she’ll probably have to tear out the kitchen. She glances around and asks if he remembers their house. He says that he does. She says it’s very different from when they started, and Don asks if that wasn’t what she wanted. She says that she doesn’t know, that things aren’t perfect for her. Betty says that so much change has made things difficult for her. Don tells her that he’s met someone and that he’s engaged. We can’t tell exactly what Betty’s thinking, but she asks if it’s Bethany Van Nuys. He says that it isn’t, that it’s someone from work. She unconvincingly says that she’s happy for him, and asks if it’s his secretary, that she knows Megan looked after the kids in California. Don says that it is.
Just then the doorbell rings. Don, back to business, asks if he will see her again the weekend after next. Betty picks up her box and confirms the date. She tells him to wait, pulls the house key off her ring, and hands it to him. The two stare at each other for a moment, and she congratulates him again, this time with more feeling. He thanks her. The two walk off in different directions, he towards the front door, she towards the back, leaving an empty kitchen between them:
We then see Don and Megan in bed in Don’s apartment. She is sleeping soundly, snuggled up next to him. He is awake, and stares out the window.
- This episode was written by Jonathan Igla and Matthew Weiner and was directed by Matthew Weiner.
- Dating this episode wasn’t entirely easy. Early on, just before Joan gets her promotion from Lane, we can clearly see him reading a copy of the New York Post with the headline “President Doing Well”. This almost surely refers to President Johnson’s gall bladder surgery, which happened on Friday, October 8, 1965. (A few online sources say that the surgery happened on Labor Day, 1965; this is incorrect. LBJ fell ill and went to the hospital on Labor Day, but the surgery didn’t happen until a month later). What makes the headline slightly confusing is that the surgery had to have already happened for the newspaper to know that LBJ was doing well, right? It’s most likely that Lane is reading a later edition of that day’s Post. Because, otherwise, that would make it Saturday, and that wouldn’t make any sense. Why would Don meet with the American Cancer Society on a Saturday? Why would the office appear to be “full” on a Saturday? Why would Don take the kids to California on a Saturday instead of a Friday? Note also that later on, when Ken talks about meeting with the Topaz folks, Peggy says that Monday is a holiday. She’s talking about Columbus Day, not Labor Day.
- Although Columbus Day barely qualifies as holiday these days, it used to be a much bigger deal before “multiculturalism” took over, and is still a big deal in cities with a large Italian population, which New York most certainly is.
- For decades, the American press turned a blind eye to the failings of presidents. Most Washington reporters knew the extent of Woodrow Wilson’s incapacitation from a stroke in 1919. Most knew that FDR had polio and was confined to a wheelchair. Many knew about JFK’s flings with various women… but in all cases, few reporters, if any, ever reported the stories. Many think that Richard Nixon and Watergate destroyed the goodwill the press had given presidents over the years. But, in truth, LBJ had a lot to do with it, too. After his gall bladder surgery, he called a press conference to discuss his health situation. But rather than explain it in words, LBJ simply lifted his shirt and pointed to the scar:
Believe it or not, this was scandalous at the time. Well, perhaps not “scandalous”, but certainly tacky, and way over the line. Ever since this incident, the press has demanded to know the exact details of any medical procedure the president undergoes, and many politicians willingly give the information in advance rather than have it found out later. This would have been simply unthinkable before LBJ’s surgery. So now, thanks to LBJ, we know when John Kerry is getting his colon inspected. Nice.
- The American Cancer Society was founded in 1913 in New York City by “15 physicians and businessmen”. It’s currently headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. Although many know the Society for their aggressive anti-smoking campaigns of the 1970s and 1980s, the Society works towards curing all forms of cancer.
- Older readers will need no introduction, but American Bandstand was a popular music television show which aired in the US from 1952 to 1989. The show featured songs from the Top 40 of that week, hosts asking the dancing audience what they thought of certain tunes, and every episode featured at least one popular act lip-synching a song. Originally a local show developed by WFIL in Philadelphia, Bandstand had a few different hosts until Dick Clark took over for good in 1956. Shortly thereafter, ABC contacted their affiliates looking for suggestions for new shows; Clark pitched Bandstand to them, and the show went national, making Clark a mint. Although the show aired over 3,000 total episodes, only 883 survive. Bandstand was a huge influence on American pop culture, and inspired a couple of long-running knock-offs like Soul Train (in the US, for soul and R&B music) and Top of the Pops (in the UK).
- The CEO of Dow Chemical is Everett Marlowe.
- As this Google Map notes, Ossining and Rye are about 20 miles apart.
- We last saw Frank Keller in this season’s “Hands & Knees”.
- The sale of Anna’s house netted Don $10,000 in profit, or $67,288 in 2009 dollars. If, however, Don is right about the capital gains tax, the sale will only net him the 2009 equivalent of $34,989.76 after Uncle Sam gets his cut.
- Topaz appears to be a fictitious company. Everything I could find on a Google search leads back to Mad Men reviews and blogs.
UPDATE: Thanks to the detective work of longtime jimcofer.com reader Steve M, I can report that Topaz was a real company. Here’s an ad from the October 11, 1963 issue of Life magazine:
You can’t quite make it out from my re-sized picture, but the company was headquartered at 19 W. 36th Street in Manhattan (Google Map here). The location is now apparently an office building, as Google lists several companies as tenants. I have no idea how large Topaz was or when they went out of business, so I don’t know if the building currently standing at the address was exclusively Topaz, part Topaz, or if the original building housing Topaz was torn down and replaced with something new. What I do know is that Topaz hosiery was apparently available at Macy’s (NY & CA), Albrecht’s (NY & PA), Woodward & Lothrop (DC, VA & MD), and… (how’s this for the Wayback Machine?) Davison stores in Atlanta.
- Joyce’s nickname for Peggy is Pumpernickel, a type of bread popular in western Germany. Although it’s up for debate, most linguists think that the name comes from the German phrase “devil’s fart”, although the august Oxford English Dictionary takes no position on the word’s origin. There is also evidence that the term was in use before the bread was invented, perhaps as a slur against uncouth people (“farting demon”).
- Although she was seen as a versatile, up-and-coming actress in the 1950s, Carolyn Jones is mostly remembered today for portraying Morticia Addams in the 1964 TV series The Addams Family. Although the show is remembered fondly today, it wasn’t a big hit in its day; it only lasted for two seasons and aired 64 total episodes. Sadly, Jones was typecast as Addams, and only found sporadic work after the show went off the air. She had a part in the groundbreaking miniseries Roots, and seemed poised for a comeback with a starring role in the CBS soap opera Capitol. But shortly after joining the show she was diagnosed with colon cancer and died on August 3, 1983 at the age of 53.
- Howard Johnson’s was once a ubiquitous chain of restaurants, seemingly more common than McDonald’s in certain parts of the United States. Typically located near highways to attract travelers, the restaurants served typical American diner food. It was like a Denny’s, although “Ho-Jo’s” were also famous for their ice cream. In 1954, the company decided to attach motor lodges to their restaurants, and by 1961 the company boasted 605 restaurants and 88 motor lodges in the United States. The company’s fortunes declined in the 1970s, as the 1973 Oil Crisis kept many people from traveling, and customer preferences changed from diners to faster, less expensive fast food restaurants. Howard Johnson’s sold all of their motels in 1986, and as of today there are only three Howard Johnson’s restaurants still in operation: two in upstate New York and one in Bangor, Maine.
- Megan makes $70 a week, or $471.02 in 2009 dollars. According to this page, the average yearly salary for a secretary in 1965 was $5,678. If Megan works 50 weeks a year, she’s getting $3,500 a year, or over a third less than the national average at the time. Don’s offer of $140 (around $942) seems like good money, especially since Don will footing the bill for her transportation and meals.
- Don’s “swimming pools, movie stars” line is a reference to the opening credits of The Beverly Hillbillies, a very popular show at the time:
- Look closely in the background of the pool scene (when Don threatens to lock the kids in the car for the rest of the vacation) and you can see a man sitting at a table. He’s wearing shorts and black socks!
You can see him much more clearly a few seconds later, as the Drapers walk away… but I saw it almost immediately.
- The song Megan teaches the kids is “Il était un petit navire”. Like a lot of childrens’ songs, the song has a gruesome story behind it: it’s about a sailor who has become shipwrecked, and other sailors talk about eating him, and discuss how to cook him and what sauces to use. The song might be based on the real-life shipwreck of the French ship Medusa. If you can stomach it, here’s a Raffi-like version of the song:
- Maria von Trapp was the stepmother of the Trapp Family Singers. A highly romanticized version of their “escape” from the Nazi regime formed the basis for the 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music, which was turned into a hugely successful film in 1965. In fact, adjusted for inflation, Music ranks third in all-time box office gross, trailing only Gone With The Wind and Star Wars. When most Americans think of von Trapp, they actually think of Julie Andrews’ saccharine portrayal of her in the film. While von Trapp might have been a sweet mother in real life, she was almost certainly not as sweet and twee as Andrews was in the film. And, in reality, the family simply took a train from Austria to Italy, and then a ship to the London and eventually United States, rather than walking over the Alps, as seen in the film.
- Marineland was a popular tourist attraction in Los Angeles. It was an “oceanarium”, similar to Sea World. The park opened in 1954, but was purchased by textbook and World Book encyclopedia publisher Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich in 1987 (they owned the Sea World franchise at the time). Despite promising to keep Marineland open, HBJ moved “Orky” and “Corky”, the park’s two beloved killer whales, to Sea World San Diego and shut the park down less than six weeks after the sale had been completed. The property sat mostly abandoned for twenty years, although a restaurant on site stayed open until 2004, and the property was used in a lot of films and TV shows. In 2007 the property was redeveloped as the Terranea Resort.
- St. Vincent De Paul (1581-1660) was a French priest who was concerned with the plight of the poor. He is venerated by both the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion, and his name was given to the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, a social organization that fights poverty. They are famous for running a large number of thrift stores throughout the world, much like Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Anna’s belongings are awaiting pickup by the organization.
- It’s kind of hard to tell how much it would have cost to take a family to Disneyland back in the 60s. That’s because back then the park charged a small admission fee, but visitors had to buy tickets to ride the individual rides. Disneyland (and Disney World) had various “classes” of tickets, with “A” being the cheapest and “E” being the most expensive. I found that in 1967 an adult admission cost $2 ($13.46 in 2009 dollars) and a child’s admission cost 60¢ ($4.04 in 2009 dollars). So, not too expensive there. But in 1965 individual ride tickets were priced as follows (prices in parenthesis are adjusted for inflation):
A-Ticket: 10¢ (67¢)
B-Ticket: 25¢ ($1.68)
C-Ticket: 35¢ ($2.36)
D-Ticket: 45¢ ($3.03)
E-Ticket: 60¢ Adults, 50¢ Children ($4.04/$3.36)
So, depending on how many rides you could ride, how many kids you had, and what type of rides they wanted to ride, the price could vary considerably. And, of course, Disneyland offered various packages and discounts. For example, this page has a bunch of pictures of tickets from 1965 (incidentally, the ten-year anniversary of the park). Members of the “Magic Kingdom Club” could get a package that included park admission and ten “general tickets” that could be used on any ride in the park for $4 ($26.92), which is up to a 50% discount over buying at the gate for adults ($13.46 + 10 E-tickets at $4.04 each = $53.86).
- It’s not especially common, but I’ve occasionally heard people of a certain age use the term “E ticket” to refer to something expensive, as in “you want to go to The Palm? OK, Mr. E-Ticket, let’s go”! This usage has faded away, as Disney discontinued the ticket scheme some time in the late 70s or early 80s, and “e-tickets” have become the de facto type of airline ticket.
- The Disneyland map Don and the kids look at is accurate:
- The Whisky a Go Go is a nightclub at 8901 Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood. It opened on January 16, 1964 and has become an icon in the California rock and roll scene. The Doors were the house band there for a time, and Buffalo Springfield, Love, The Byrds and Alice Cooper all played there regularly. British acts such as The Who, Slade, Cream, The Kinks, Led Zepplin and Roxy Music all had their west coast premiere shows there. And unlike a lot of clubs, the Whisky a Go Go changed with the times. When “hippie music” faded away, the club became the epicenter of LA’s New Wave movement, hosting shows by The Runaways, X, The Police, The Ramones, The Dictators, Blondie, Talking Heads, Patti Smith, Elvis Costello, The Misfits, XTC and The Jam. As New Wave faded away, the club fell on hard times and closed in 1982. But it reopened in 1986 and became home to LA’s “glam metal” scene, with shows by Quiet Riot, Mötley Crüe and Van Halen.
- The book Don reads in his hotel room is John le Carré’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, which was published in 1963. The plot is entirely too complex to get in to here, but it involves a British agent in West Berlin who is recalled to London after his last East German double agent is killed. There, he’s allegedly sacked by the Intelligence Service, but it’s all a ruse: they give him a pittance of a pension and a low-paying job at a London library to give the appearance of disgrace, but the man has actually been placed there to turn a young, female employee (and member of Britain’s Communist Party) named Liz. Despite the “came in from the cold” imagery, there’s little in the book that relates to Don.
- When Megan calls her mother she says “Maman, c’est moi. J’ai Des nouvelles. Va chercher papa, Vite!”, which translates as “Mom, it’s me. I have news. Go get Daddy, quickly!”
- The Topaz account is worth $250,000, or around $1,682,206 when adjusted for inflation. It’s not a lot, but it’s not nothing, either.
- The closing credits song this week (err, season) is “I Got You Babe”, originally recorded by Sonny and Cher. It was a #1 song for the couple in August 1965. An interesting tidbit: although Sonny and Cher were famous for not getting along after their divorce, Cher refused to perform the song live without Sonny until Valentine’s Day 2002, when she sang the song with R.E.M. at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles. This was for years after Bono’s death. Anyway, the lyrics are as follows:
HER: They say we’re young and we don’t know
We won’t find out until we grow
HIM: Well I don’t know if all that’s true
‘Cause you got me, and baby I got you
BOTH: I got you babe
I got you babe
HER: They say our love won’t pay the rent
Before it’s earned, our money’s all been spent
HIM: I guess that’s so, we don’t have a pot
But at least I’m sure of all the things we got
BOTH: I got you babe
I got you babe
HIM: I got flowers in the spring
I got you to wear my ring
HER: And when I’m sad, you’re a clown
And if I get scared, you’re always around
HER: Don’t let them say your hair’s too long
‘Cause I don’t care, with you I can’t go wrong
HIM: Then put your little hand in mine
There ain’t no hill or mountain we can’t climb
BOTH: I got you babe
I got you babe
HIM: I got you to hold my hand
HER: I got you to understand
HIM: I got you to walk with me
HER: I got you to talk with me
I got you to kiss goodnight
I got you to hold me tight
I got you, I won’t let go
I got you to love me so
Part of the reason this recap is so late is because I was busy with a client for a good chunk of the day yesterday. But the bigger reason is that I just wasn’t looking forward to it because, quite frankly, I just didn’t care for this finale.
I found the whole thing telegraphed and contrived. Honestly, did anyone not think that Don was going to ask a woman to marry him by the end of the episode once Stephanie pulled the ring out of her purse? And did anyone not know it would be Megan as soon as Sally spilled the milkshake and Megan didn’t blow her top like Betty would, or look hopelessly uncomfortable, like Faye would? I’ll admit to some revisionism here… after all, I was on Team Faye for a long time. But when I saw Don look at Megan in the diner I knew the contest was over.
Speaking of Faye… how much does it suck to be her? She basically quit her job for Don, and where did it get her? Nowhere, is where. I mean sure… Don didn’t tell her to quit her job. She did it all on her own. But still… that’s gotta suck. One wonders how many doctorate-level research positions there were back then, especially for women (my guess: not many), and I wonder how Geoffrey will talk about her to his colleagues. I’m sure that world was really small. Let’s hope Faye can get back on her feet, and let’s pray she doesn’t call any of her dad’s wiseguy friends to “have a talk with” Don.
I did enjoy the scene with Joan and Peggy towards the end of the episode. It’s about time Old School and New School finally got together. I would have liked it more if they’d went out to a bar and knocked back a few shots in a no holds barred bitch session, but hey… you can’t have everything. But Joan and Peggy were so close at the beginning of the series, and it’s nice to see them together again.
But I have to ask.. how, exactly, is Joan going to pull off the pregnancy thing? Greg might be a doofus, but anyone who graduated from med school has to be smart enough to do basic math! Is she hoping that he’ll get stuck in Vietnam, and she’ll be able to pull some “the baby came two weeks early” thing and hope that he doesn’t notice the difference when he comes back? Or is she thinking he might die over there, and she’s making him happy in the meantime? I don’t know, and that’s mostly because I don’t know jack about the army. Could an officer like Greg – and since he’s a doctor, he’s automatically a lieutenant, right? – get a pass to come home for a childbirth in late ’65 or early ’66? Does anyone know? And yes, I’m really asking.
I felt sorry for Peggy that her big news was overshadowed by Don’s news. Yes, she’s right in a way – her pulling in a new account and ending a ten-week streak of no new business is a big deal. But it’s only a $250,000 account, hardly the killer SCDP had been hoping for. I’ve gotta say though… I’ve really taken a shine to Peggy. I’ve always liked her “spark” as much as Don, and the fact that she’s a conservative and a Catholic who’s nevertheless not afraid to try new things… well, it’s kind of sexy. And she’s gotten so much prettier this season. Look at her in this episode, then watch the pilot again if you don’t believe me.
I guess one of my biggest questions marks revolves around Betty. She finally admits that her life with Henry is just a life, not a fairy tale. And I had a hard time reading her when Don told her about the engagement. Part of that is because, in spite of what blogger blog, January Jones is a good actress, at least as far as the role of Betty Francis goes. But there’s also the human element at work. People who are happily remarried often feel a pang of… not jealousy, per se, but something along those lines when their former mates find a new partner. So was Betty just hurt that Don has moved on, or did her secret (to us) plan of getting Don back just explode in her face? Discuss. Also, it was nice to see that Henry Francis might have finally figured out that he’s married a child. Also discuss.
Since the finale aired, there’s been talk on the Internet that Jessica Paré might be offered a full role in the show next season. I can’t see them keeping both Betty and Megan, so this might be the final episode of Mad Men with January Jones as a full cast member. So, in honor of the Beautiful Bitch, here’s one last screen shot:
So… I asked last episode and will ask again… is Bert really gone?
As I said, I found the finale to be entirely too predictable. I also found Don’s rush to marry Megan both predictable and mystifying. Season 1′s finale kept me on the edge of my seat wanting more. Season 2′s finale made me throw stuff at the TV because Mad Men was going away for a long time. Season 3′s finale was like a post-sex cigarette. But season 4′s finale? Meh. It was better than 99% of the other stuff on TV, but I think Mad Men could have done so much more.
It’s true, though, that this season has been a journey, and an enjoyable one at that. Looking back on it, season 4 might be the most solid of all seasons of the show when taken as a whole. We’ve seen Don fall from a skirt-chasing drunk with an oversized ego to a much more sober, humbler man. He’s gone from the old “I don’t think about the future because there isn’t one”, to one who is thoughtful and… well, almost normal, actually. Anna’s death really knocked him for a loop, and while I appreciate that this season is about him finding a “new Anna” to confide in, I just wish the finale engaged me more. Don so blatantly turned into a pile of goo whenever Megan was around his kids that Mad Men almost almost became predicable TV.
[pours a shot of Bushmill's] TO NEXT SEASON! [tosses it back]
Also, as always, thanks to EVERYONE who reads these silly recaps! Lord knows I put a ton of effort into them, and it does my soul good to seem them being mentioned on Twitter, accessed in my server logs, and from reading all the comments you good folks leave for me on the site. I’m happy to write them for you, and glad that you get some enjoyment out of them. Please be sure to come back for season five! :)