Gene and Sally continue getting closer and closer. We see Gene and the Draper kids walk out the front door, and Gene has a stack of phone books in his hand: he’s taken it upon himself to teach Sally how to drive.
In Brooklyn, Peggy’s mother complains about the lack of coverage of the death of the pope. The TV seems to be on the fritz, so she repeatedly hits it. Peggy complains to Anita that the shower in her apartment is broken. Anita offers to have “Jerry” come over and take a look at it; Peggy thinks her landlord purposely breaks things in her apartment. Anita says that she’d offer Peggy a room, but doesn’t have teh space now that their mother moved in. Peggy says that she wants to move to Manhattan. “It’s so far away”, Anita says.
At Sterling Cooper, Pete is holding a meeting with his friend “Ho-Ho” and the rest of the Sterling Cooper team. Ho-Ho (real name: Horace Cook) is a trust fund baby who thinks he’s found the next big thing: the Basque sport of jai alai. Ho-Ho says that he’ll leave them a notebook with more information about the sport, and that in seven years it will eclipse baseball as America’s most popular sport. He then asks the Sterling Cooper boys how he’d sell the sport to America. Harry says that most of the money would end up on television. Ho-Ho agrees, and says that he wants a jai alai show. Lane assures him that Harry has excellent relations with all the networks, but Harry says that any show would probably have to be on ABC. Ho-Ho says that he wants the show on all networks at once, like a presidential address. The Sterling Cooper crew sit at the table, stunned. Harry says that it’s never been done before… but can’t think of a good reason why it can’t be done. Paul suggests a big musical show with Desi Arnaz, with a jai alai match as the centerpiece. Ho-Ho asks what other ideas that might have. Paul suggests advertising in woman’s magazines, selling the idea as a glamorous night in (the still exotic) Miami.
Don then walks in the room, and asks what’s going on. Pete says that CBS will have an adventure show featuring Paxti, a musical spectacular on all the networks… “and in color”, Ho-Ho insists. Harry says that CBS doesn’t broadcast in color. Ho-Ho says OK, but that he wants all the ads in women’s magazines to be in color, as well as a color page in Sunday newspapers. He then asks about radio, and Don says that they’ll have to “take it the way it is”. Lane then says that the starting budget for the campaign is $1 million. As the meeting ends, Ho-Ho tells Don that he’d like to buy him dinner; Pete says that Sterling Cooper buys them dinner now.
Outside the conference room, Don watches as everyone files out, excitedly talking about the “whale” or “sucker” they just singed. Lane asks if Don will have trouble sleeping tonight… and then Pete walks up and says “as the Bible says… enjoy your fatted calf”. Don then asks Pete if he’s told Lane who Ho-Ho’s father is. Lane says that he’s been told that he’s a shipping magnate who is not currently a Sterling Cooper client. Don says that Horace Cook Sr. is “connected to Bert Cooper a million ways”, and that he might not appreciate what just happened in the conference room. Pete objects, saying that Ho-Ho was born into a lot of money and that “he’s my age” (i.e. able to spend his money in any way he sees fit) and is angry that Don thinks the agency should “ask his daddy” before starting work on the campaign. “Well, there you have it”, Don says the walks away.
At the Draper home, Gene tells Betty to stop washing dishes and get off her (pregnant) feet: “you’re cleaning up for the maid, just like your mother”, he says. What he really wants is to show her is his final arrangements, which he has just finished. Every the pragmatist, he says that the funeral business is a scam, and they “hit you when you aren’t thinking”. When then goes over the will. He says that Betty is the executrix of the estate, and then describes various clothing that he wants Betty and Judy to have. Betty, uncomfortable with the whole discussion, tries to get up and leave, but Gene grabs her arm and calls her Scarlett O’Hara. Betty says she has the papers and she will look over them.
Back at Sterling Cooper, the Creative Team is all in a tizzy because the director of the Patio commercial has dropped out to make a film in Los Angeles. They go to Don’s office for advice, but all Don says is “replace him”. Ken says that there’s no time and no talent. Don asks what they would have done if they would have had to fire the director. Ken looks lost, but before he can say anything, Don suggests that Sal do the directing. Harry asks if he’s being serious. Ken isn’t opposed to the idea, but is nervous all the same. Don says that it’s a single shot remake of the Bye Bye Birdie intro and that Sal already did the storyboards for the ad. “Tag, you’re it”, Harry says as everyone walks away.
In the breakroom, Peggy posts an annoyingly sincere ad for a roommate.
Later that night at the Draper home, Gene goes through a box of World War I memorabilia with Bobby. He shows Don his “victory medal” from the war, and says that he should “have another one for beating the clap”. He laughs, but Don is not impressed. Gene then pulls out a German WWI helmet, then points out the dried blood on the inside. Bobby is fascinated, and lets Gene put it on his head. Don tells Bobby to take it off, that there “was a person inside that helmet”. Gene gets angry, but Don won’t rise to the occasion. He simply gets up, walks over to Bobby, grabs the spike of the helmet and lifts it off his head, then walks away. Gene stares at him as he walks off, then reaches into the box and pulls out a folding fan. “There was this girl”, he starts to say.
At Sal’s house, Kitty walks in the bedroom wearing some sexy lingerie. Sal tries to be interested, but claims to have too much work to do. She asks if something’s wrong, and Sal says that he’s “not himself”. She says that she’s felt “something wrong” with Sal over the past few months. Sal says that for the past six months, he’s watched his job disappear. No one wants illustrations these days, it’s all about TV or photography. He says that he now has a chance to direct a commercial, something with a future, and he’s nervous about it. Kitty says that they’re filming it, and that he can simply start over if necessary, Sal says that it’s a single shot, and goes on to explain how it will actually work:
Not surprisingly, Sal acts amazingly, flamboyant gay while explaining the choreography, and Kitty looks at him, horrified. She knows that he’s gay, she has to know, but she just doesn’t want to admit it.
The next morning, Don walks in to Bert Cooper’s office, where Bert, Lane and Horace Cook Sr. are waiting for him. Bert says that Lane has told him that Horace Jr. has approached the agency, offering them substantial business. Lane says the it was actually Don’s idea. Don says that they are “family” and Horace Jr. is thinking about spending a lot of money. Horace Sr. asks just what happened in the meeting, and Don says that Horace Jr. “has a dream”. Horace Sr. understands that they’re talking about jai alai, and says that Horace Jr. is convinced of its financial future. Lane says that there’s no reason to doubt that… to which Horace Sr. says “are you drunk? It’s like Polish handball. You can’t even play it if you’re left handed!” Bert offers to turn down the account, but Horace Sr. says that his son will spend the money at some other agency, so it might as well be Sterling Cooper.
Paul, Harry, and Ken have found Peggy’s “roommate wanted” ad, and they convince Lois to prank-call Peggy. As “Elaine”, Lois’ description of herself gets more and more outrageous (she works in a tannery, her face is disfigured by burns). Peggy eventually figures out that it’s a prank and hangs up.
Meanwhile, Sally and John McCain Gene sneak some pre-dinner ice cream. Sally says that Betty doesn’t let them eat ice cream before dinner; Gene wonders if she’s afraid that Sally will “get fat like [her] mother”. Gene says that Ruth (Betty’s mom) used to take Betty on errand runs… and then leave her in town and make her walk home to lose weight! Gene then says that Sally is smart, and that she reminds him more of Ruth than of Betty. He then says that Ruth “did some drafting” for an engineer back in the 1920s. He then says that she can “really do something”, and to not let anyone tell her otherwise.
Back at Keens Steakhouse, Ho-Ho confidently says that they’ll be “nothing but run and Mexican beer” in the steakhouse within a year. He further states that you have to drink beer when in Mexico thanks to dysentery, and that Paxti caught a “bug” down there and lost 8 pounds. Pete tells Don that Ho-Ho was saying earlier that a photograph of JFK enjoying jai alai would be a great help to endorse the sport. Ho-Ho then says that his father hates JFK, because he knew Joseph Kennedy “back when they were both criminals” (plus, Horace Sr. is “against integration”). Don, ever the good solider says that “JFK has a much better job than his father”. Ho-Ho then talks about the evil way his dad made his money, and how he’ll use his for good. He then talks about a dream of giving his father a jai alai team for his 75th birthday. Don advises him to take his decision more seriously. Ho-Ho thinks that Don is using some “reverse psychology” sales pitch with him. He then says that if jai alai fails, it will be Sterling Cooper’s fault. Pete says that everyone thinks that, but no one (normally) says it.
Back at the office, Peggy sees her roommate ad “vandalized” in the break room (her real name, Margaret, has been crossed out and “Hi Peggy!” written next to it in red ink). Joan walks up and offers her advice for spicing up the ad: instead of using a boring and frank (but honest) ad, why not use something creative, like “two wild young girls taking on Manhattan” kind of thing. She also advises Peggy to not put the ad on the Sterling Cooper bulletin board, as everyone there knows her.
Later than night, Don can’t sleep. He gets out of bed and goes to his office, where he pulls out and studies an old photograph labeled “Archie and Abigail 1928” on the back:
The next day, Pete shows off the signed contract from Ho-Ho. He then goes to Bert Peterson’s old office, where the gang is playing with some jai alai equipment that Ho-Ho’s people have sent over.
“He has no idea how confused America’s going to be about that J.” – Don, to the gang, about the name jai alai.
Lane walks in and congratulates them all on their camaraderie. Don tries passing the pilota to Ken with the xistera, but only succeeds in smashing a giant hole in the ant farm. “Bill it to the kid”, Don quips.
We then see Gene driving the kids to school. Bobby eats an English muffin in the back seat (which Gene asks about). Sally, always trying to curry favor with her grandpa, says that she’s already eaten breakfast. Gene half-smiles, then tells her to be ready for ballet practice at 3pm sharp. He then says that they’re out of fruit at home and asks Sally what she’d like. “Peaches, please”, she says. Bobby says that they give him a rash. Gene grumpily says that his sister likes them.
Back at Sterling Cooper, a possible new roommate for Peggy shows up in the form of one Karen Ericson. She works at the advertising agency on the ground floor, and says that everyone on the first floor loved her “hilarious” ad. Peggy tries playing up the “fun” aspect of herself (not very convincingly). Peggy and Karen agree on a “no sailors” rule, and then Karen asks if she’s Swedish. Peggy says that she’s Norwegian, and Karen says that they’ll just have to lie to her mother about that. Karen then tries to schedule a time for them to look for apartments, but she’s taken aback when Peggy says that she works until six most nights and several Saturdays.
Sally and Bobby sit outside the school waiting for grandpa to show up, but he never does. Eventually Betty shows up, who says that he must have forgotten about her ballet lesson. Betty’s sure that he’ll be waiting for them at home.
We next see Joan holding her nose and spraying ant killer all over the remains of the ant farm. We then see Patio commercial that Sal directed. Although the ad is exactly what the Pepsi folks asked for, and is a perfect frame-by-frame remake of the Bye Bye Birdie song, the Pepsi executives think that something’s just “not right” about the ad. Neither of the Pepsi people can put their finger on it, despite Don and Roger pointing out that it’s exactly what they wanted. The clients leave, and Harry complains to Don and Roger that it was everything that Pepsi had asked for. Roger just says “it’s not Ann-Margret”.
Sally sits on the front porch, waiting for Gene to come home. A police car stops in front of the house. Sally runs in to get Betty. The office asks Betty if she’s relayed to Eugene Hofstadt. After she affirms this, he tells her that Gene has died in line at the A&P.
Back at the office, Sal goes to Don’s office to apologize for the Patio commercial, but just as he walks in Betty calls Don with the news about Gene. Don says that he has to go, but he tells Sal that he is now a commercial director. Sal asks if he’s just saying that to make him feel better; Don says he’ll know when he uses him again.
That night Peggy visits Anita’s place and she gives her mother a new Admiral television set. Peggy then breaks the news to her mother that she’s moving to Manhattan. Needless to say, her mother doesn’t take it very well. Katherine angrily tells Peggy to take the TV back, then warns her that she’ll be raped if she moves to Manhattan. Peggy tries to calm her fears by mentioning her “Norwegian” roommate, but Katherine thinks that there’s a man behind it. Peggy gets up to leave, but she shares a smile with Anita as they hear the new TV click on.
At the Draper house, Sally listens on as William, Judy, Betty and Don sit around the kitchen table and talk about Gene. William mentions that he was “Gene Hofstadt #2” as his bank, because there already was a customer with that name when he opened an account there. Judy says that he’s “with Ruth” now, which makes Betty mentions that Gene once said he wouldn’t know what to do when he got to heaven and found two wives waiting for him there. William goes about how they won’t have to worry about that with Gloria. This makes everyone at the table chuckle, and Sally runs in, upset that people are laughing when Gene is gone forever. Betty orders Sally to go in the other room and watch TV, where she watches a news report about a Buddhist monk setting himself on fire.
We then see Don and Betty asleep in bed, and Don, still fully dressed, gets up and checks on Sally, who is asleep in her bed, her arms around Gene’s copy of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Don goes to Gene’s room and folds the roll-away bed back up, and we hear the popular Word War I song “Over There” as the screen fades to black.
– In her first scene, Anita laments the lack of news coverage about the death of the pope. She’s talking about Pope John XXIII, who died on June 3, 1963. Peggy says that “he’s still dead”, implying that he might have died a day or two before, thus I’ll date the start of this episode to June 5, 1963. For what it’s worth, Pope John XXIII was the 261st pope, and is mostly known for calling the controversial Second Vatican Council (Vatican II).
– The “Basque Country” is an area of southwest France and northeast Spain. Neither French nor Spanish, the overall culture lies somewhere in between. Basques speak their own language (called “Basque”), and have their own cuisine, music and sports (of which, pilota was exported to the US as jai alai). Many Basques long for their own country, and several “freedom fighting” (or “terrorist”) organizations have sprung up over the years, of which the bomb-planting ETA is most known (and feared).
– Jai Alai was a somewhat popular sport in the United States in the 1960s. Similar to racquetball or handball, the game takes place in an arena called a fronton. A ball (called a pilota) is caught in a basket called an xistera, then hurled back against a wall. Points are scored when an opponent drops the ball or misses a catch. Although the name jai alai means “merry festival” in the Basque language, the game is actually quite dangerous: the pilota is as hard a billiard ball, and often reaches speeds of 180mph while in play. Broken bones are common. Although such celebrities as Buddy Hackett and Johnny Unitas endorsed the sport, it failed to catch on in most American states. This is due to the sport’s close association with parimutuel betting. Most states in the 1960s did not allow such betting, so the sport quickly faded away. In many northern states that allowed betting, jai alai remained popular into the 1990s, when it was superseded by casino gambling. The sport remains popular in Florida, however.
– Paxti (pronounced “patchy”) was a real-life jai alai player. His real name was Francisco Churruca, and he was the Babe Ruth or Pele of his sport. At the height of the jai alai craze, he was getting paid $20,000/year, which is around $140,000 in 2008 dollars. Not bad for a marginal sport such as jai alai, no?
– Sal compares Paxti to Mel Ferrer.
– Ho-Ho promises that jai alai will eclipse baseball as America’s most popular sport. As we all know, that didn’t happen. But by 1963, football was well on its way to accomplishing the same task. Back in 1985, The Harris Poll started asking people every few years what their one favorite sport was. In 1985, football led baseball 24% to 23%. By 2005, football had grown to 33% while baseball had shrunk to 14%. Read more about the poll here.
– Loved, loved, loved Pete’s subtle smirk when Ho-Ho says that he’s “terrified of Paxti catching balls to the face”!
– Although CBS developed the first viable color broadcasting system in 1953, they lost out to RCA (parent company of NBC) because CBS’s version wasn’t backwards-compatible with black and white TV sets. RCA offered its technology to CBS, who turned it down (not wanting to give money to RCA, who owned NBC). In the early 1960s, CBS only broadcast only the occasional special and the Red Skelton program in color, and that was only if the sponsors were willing to pay for it. The other two networks quickly switched over to color broadcasts, and by the 1965 television season CBS was forced by market pressure to broadcast almost its entire line-up in color.
– Ho-Ho’s $1 million ad campaign could cost $6,960,016 in 2008 dollars – not especially impressive by today’s standards, but still far more than the budgets of most marginal sports these days.
– The Bible quote Pete refers to is Luke 15:23: “…and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry” (RSV). It’s from the story of the Prodigal Son.
– An “executor” is a male person appointed to execute a will. The female form of the word is “executrix”. More than one male would be “executors”, while more than one female would be “executrixes”.
– Hudson seal is “muskrat fur that is dyed, plucked, and sheared to resemble seal”. Cite
– Scarlett O’Hara is, of course, the heroine from Gone With The Wind.
– I can find no listing for a director named “George Caan” at IMDB or via a Google search. There’s no “George Kaan” or “George Kahn”, either. I guess this person is just fictional.
– Keens Steakhouse (a.k.a. “Keens Chophouse”) is a real restaurant in New York City. Located at 72 West 36th Street, Keens was originally part of the Lambs Club, “a famous theatre and literary group founded in London” whose manager was Albert Keen. The restaurant continued a centuries-old tradition of storing tobacco pipes for customers (the fragile clay pipes didn’t travel well, so one would leave a pipe with his favorite innkeeper). The restaurant today owns 90,000 such pipes, many of which were owned by stellar names as Teddy Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, Will Rogers, Albert Einstein, George M. Cohan, J.P. Morgan, Adlai Stevenson, General Douglas MacArthur and “Buffalo Bill” Cody. The restaurant is also famous because back in 1905, actress Lillie Langtry (mistress of Britain’s King Edward) sued the restaurant for refusing to permit her to their male-only establishment. She won the case, and famously “swept into Keens in her feathered boa” and ordered one of their famous mutton chops. (Grammar note: Although it should be “Keen’s Steakhouse”, the website keeps the “Keens” style throughout.)
– Based on Peggy’s first ad, we learn that Sterling Cooper’s offices are on the 23rd floor of the building.
– Anyone else think that Gene showed Don his Victory Medal just to get under his skin? In past episodes we’ve seen how the WWII generation looked down their noses at Korean War vets who “didn’t get the job done”.
– Those WWI German helmets are properly called pickelhaube.
– Possible goof: At the start of WWI, pickelhaube helmets were made of leather. Since this offered zero protection against shells and shrapnel (and since the spike at the top made them an easy target for snipers), the German high command ordered a new helmet design, the stahlhelm, in September 1915. The new helmets were slowly rolled out in early 1916. Since the U.S. entered World War I in April, 1917 it was highly unlikely that Gene would have come across any soldiers wearing a pickelhaube. Although still worn by officers at the time, the pickelhaube was only worn on ceremonial occasions far way from enemy lines. It’s possible that some solider refused to wear the new helmet and stuck to the old one… but it’s very unlikely.
– Kitty says she got the lingerie at “A&S”. I googled this, and there are several “A&S” companies having to do with clothes in New York. Do we know if Sal lives in Flushing (Queens)?
– Ruth used to take Betty into town and then LEAVE HER THERE? No wonder the woman has so many problems!
– When eating the ice cream, Gene says that it “tastes like chocolate, but smells like oranges”. He then asks Sally about it, and she doesn’t notice anything. This is probably an olfactory hallucination, which is typically caused by damage to the nervous tissue of the olfactory system, most commonly caused by “viral infection, brain tumor, trauma, surgery, and possibly exposure to toxins or drugs”. It is yet another sign of Gene’s impending fate.
– The set of “Keens Chophouse” looks nothing like the real restaurant, which looks a bit like an old English pub inside.
– Dysentery is “is an inflammatory disorder of the intestine, especially of the colon, that results in severe diarrhea containing mucus and/or blood in the feces. If left untreated, dysentery can be fatal”. It was previously known to Europeans as “the flux” or the “bloody flux”, and is usually a bacterial or protozoan infection or infestation of parasitic worms. Perhaps amusingly, the Bedouin people have recommended eating camel feces as a cure for centuries, something German troops in Africa confirmed during WWII. This is probably sue to the antibiotic Bacillus subtilis contained the the feces. Sheep also contain the same antibiotic.
– Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. – father of President John F. Kennedy – was born in Boston on September 6, 1888. He went to Boston Latin school and then Harvard before embarking on a career in finance. He made a huge profits trading stocks and commodities and in real estate. For decades, there have been allegations that Kennedy also made a fortune by bootlegging during Prohibition (which is what Ho-Ho is hinting at), although such claims have never been proven.
– Contrary to popular belief, the issue of racial integration was just as incendiary in northern American cities as it was in southern ones. A 1974 plan to transport minority children to previously white schools in Boston was met with riots.
– At lunch, Pete says that jai alai was “his dad’s kind of investment”. This is amusing, because Pete’s father died broke.
– Ho-Ho says that he has read the galleys of “this book by Ogilvy”. He is referring to David Ogilvy, one of the giants of the advertising world. As Wikipedia notes, he was often “called ‘The Father of Advertising’…. In 1962, Time called him ‘the most sought-after wizard in today’s advertising industry’.” If you are a Mad Men fan, but have never heard his name before now, I strongly suggest that you read the Wikipedia article on him ASAP.
– A “galley” is a copy of a book that is sent to reviewers before it’s officially published. It may (or may not) be bound like a book, and it is has usually been typeset but not proofread.
– The book in question is almost certainly David Ogilvy’s Confessions of an Advertising Man, which was first published in 1963. This book was (and may still be) “required reading” for anyone interested in advertising.
– By “Ibsen play”, Joan means Henrik Ibsen (1828 – 1906), a Norwegian playwright considered by many to be the “father of modern drama”. Since Ibsen would later be influenced by Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, it’s obvious that Joan is telling Peggy to lighten up.
– How amusing is it that ad girl Peggy writes the lamest copy in history for her own roommate ad?
– “Karen Ericson” is played by Carla Gallo. I’m glad to see her in such a great show. I initially became a fan because of the short-lived Fox series Undeclared, and enjoyed her playing a porn star on David Duchovny’s Californication last season.
– I fucking loved the smirk on Peggy’s face when she looked at Don as everyone filed out of the office after the Patio failure. I guess she was right, huh?
– Younger Mad Men fans outside the mid-Atlantic region might never have heard of the A&P grocery store chain. Standing for “The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company”, A&P was once the largest grocery store chain (by far) in the US, having 16,000 locations in 1930. This number is down to only around 460 today, a far cry from my own childhood when the chain had 3,500 stores and a few in the South (a market the chain exited completely in the 1990s). Founded in 1859, the chain pioneered the use of “house brands”, and several of those brands (like Eight O’Clock Coffee) are as familiar with shoppers as the name brands they tried to replace.
– Admiral was once a leading electronics brand in the United States. Founded as “Continental Radio and Television Corp.” in Chicago in 1934, the company would supply the US military with electronic equipment during World War II and during the Cold War. They were one of the first TV manufacturers, the success of which allowed the company to expand t other appliances, like refrigerators and washing machines. By the mid 1970s, the company was in bad shape due to a glut of cheap Japanese imports, and Rockwell International bought the company in 1973, then sold the appliance division to Magic Chef, which was sold to Maytag which itself was bought by Whirlpool. In 1991, Maytag signed an agreement with Montgomery Ward to become the exclusive retailer of the Admiral brand; when Montgomery Ward went out of business, the Maytag sold the exclusivity rights to The Home Depot. Also, the American Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals were originally known as the Milwaukee Wings. The team was sold to a group of investors, one of whom owned an appliance store, and the team was renamed after the brand.
– When Peggy leaves Anita’s house after breaking the news to her mother about moving to Manhattan, you can her JFK giving a speech in the background. The speech, about civil rights, was delivered on June 11, 1963. The full text of it is here.
– Goof: Betty sits at the kitchen table, eating a peach that Don says was in Gene’s car all day. However, Gene said that they were out of fruit and the cop said that Gene died while waiting in line at the A&P… so how did the peach end up in Gene’s car?
– The Buddhist monk that set himself on fire (as shown at the end of this episode) was named Thích Qu?ng ??c, and he set himself on fire on June 11, 1963 to bring attention to the South Vietnamese government’s treatment of Buddhists.
– Anyone have any idea of who the “Stan Baker” mentioned on TV at the end of the episode is? There was a Welsh actor named Stanley Baker (although a wonderful actor in his own right, he’s infamous for turning down the role of James Bond because he didn’t want to commit to a three movie deal). As far as I can tell from Wikipedia, that Stanley Baker never left the UK, and seems an unlikely spokesman for Winston.
No major comments here… I just want to say that this was a solid episode all around. It was a bit darker than last week’s episode, which is a good thing in my book.