Mad Men: “Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency”

This episode begins with Don walking in to Sally’s room. He goes to turn the light off, but Sally begs him not to. Don says that it’s 10:30 and asks why she’s still awake. She says that she’s afraid of what will happen when he turns off the light. Don says that nothing will hurt her… except for the mess in her room. He then picks up her desk lamp, turns it on, and puts it on the floor. He tells her that if she cleans up her room, he’ll buy her a night light. He kisses her goodnight and walks out of the room, turning off the overhead light on his way out.

The next morning the guys at Sterling Cooper fret over a memo that has been circulating throughout the agency:

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Pete, Paul and Harry wonder what the meeting is all about. Pete laments that Ken hasn’t arrived yet. John, Lane, Roger, and Bert emerge and stand on the steps. Lane announces that the director and chairman of the board of Putnam, Powell and Lowe will be visiting Sterling Cooper, both as a friendly visit, and to also “evaluate our performance”. John says that the men are due to arrive tomorrow (Tuesday, July 2) at 10:00 am, and that they will stay through Wednesday, July 3. He then apologizes to the employees, because July 3rd was originally meant to be a holiday, but neither he nor the PPL employees were aware of the holiday. Lane then urges everyone to work “at the height of their productivity” and that everything  be in perfect order.

When Lane finishes his speech, Bert calls Don over to have a word. In Bert’s office, he, Roger and Don talk about his future. Bert says that he thinks the PPL visit has something to do with Don’s future. He then says that the PPL folks have shown a great interest in Don (Roger quips, “ever since you swung around your privates in the board room with Duck last year”). Bert says that he thinks Don will be offered a dual position in London and New York. Don, taken aback, smiles. Bert then orders Don and Roger to bury any hatchets they might have had; to that end, he asks Mrs, Blankenship (his secretary) to book appointments for Roger and Don at Angelo’s, Bert’s barber. Both Roger and Don decline the invitation, but Bert insists that they go together and use it to get over their differences.

Pete is in his office trying to work when he’s interrupted by the sound of… a lawnmower:

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Sure enough, Ken is riding a John Deere lawnmower through the office! He has just landed the John Deere account and is over the moon at his success. In triumph, he walks over to Pete, Smitty and Sal, where Sal informs him that PPL is coming and Pete tells him that they’ll have to work on Wednesday. Ken momentarily looks nervous… but quickly find his smile again.

Back at the Draper house, Bobby walks in to Don and Betty’s bedroom and squeals “she’s in here!” to Sally. Betty shushes him, saying that the baby is trying to sleep. Sally walks in the room, but keep her distance as Bobby walks up to the bed. Bobby says that he’s bored, and Betty tells him to “go band your head against the wall”. She then says that “only boring people are bored”. Bobby then asks if he can “pet” Eugene; Betty aloow shim to, bt only if he does it gently and doesn’t wake Eugene up. Betty looks over at Sally, and tells her to come up too, but she refuses. Betty then tells the kids to go play, the turns to Eugene and tells him that he can “sleep all you want, you little pig in a blanket”. She smiles.

At Angelo’s, Don gets a shave while Roger gets a manicure. Don questions the act of a man getting a manicure, and Roger tells him a story about his father, who also got manicures. Roger then says that his dad had his fourth heart attack while driving and hit a tree. The windshield glass cut off his arm and caused him to die from loss of blood. Roger says that his nails looked perfect in the casket. Don says that he doesn’t believe that story. Roger says that his dad hit another car and not a tree. Roger then says that “it’s my company, why should I be nervous?” Don says that he sold it. Roger asks if that’s the problem, that he got Don a half-million dollars from the deal. Don says that no one said that he did anything. Roger laughs and compares Don to Burl Ives. Roger says that part of the problem with Mona is that she started judging people, that that he (Roger) hates being judged. Don says that they don’t need to talk about it any more. Roger says that he was holding out for gratitude, but he’ll accept Don’s “apology”. Don thanks him. Roger says that perhaps now Don will have the money and the glory.

Back at the office, Joan rearranges all the deliveries for tomorrow from between 9:30 and 11:00, so that the PPL folks will see a busy office. Hildy asks if Joan is being so short with her to ease the pain of leaving Sterling Cooper. John walks up and complains to Joan that the “ladies” in the office are “rather plain”. Joan offers to hire some prostitutes, and then says that she knows that “John’s prime minster” enjoys their company; he corrects her that it was the Secretary of War. John then apologizes for the visit taking away from “Joan’s big day”, and offers to reschedule her surprise party for after the visit. Hildy, angry, asks John why he told Joan about her surprise party. John  says that Joan knows everything and that she has to have been expecting that. Joan says that she’s going to go home and make a “celebratory dinner” for her husband, and then turns to John and says “when you wake up the middle of the night and wonder what you forgot, don’t call me”.

We next see Don walking in to his home. He kisses Betty, who comments on his close shave. She asks about it, and Don says that they’re going to be an “inspection” the next day. She then asks if he wants “hot or cold” dinner: Swedish meatballs or chicken salad. Don asks for the chicken salad, then asks if Betty got Sally the nightlight he’d promised her. Betty says that she did, and that she read her to sleep and that she was still “clingy”. She says that she doesn’t remember Sally being that resentful when Bobby was born. Don doesn’t think she’s resentful, but Betty says that she  won’t go in his room, or even go near him by herself. Betty then asks why the British are visiting the office. Don says that he doesn’t know. Betty says that Eugene was prefect today. Don asks Betty if she would ever want to live in London. Betty thinks he’s kidding, but he says that he’s being serious. Betty says yes, that they could “get a pram and a real nanny”.  Betty, smiling, then asks what he knows. Don says “nothing”.

At Joan and Greg’s, we see a record spinning on a turntable. It has reached the “end groove” and is endlessly playing the scratchy sound of silence. Joan is asleep on the sofa when Greg walks in. He knocks over something, which causes a ruckus, which wakes Joan up. She asks where he was, and he says that he was out for drinks with his fellow doctors. She asks why he didn’t call her; he says that he called her at the office; Joan says that he’s lying. Greg says that he went out drinking because he was passed over for the promotion to Chief Resident. Joan says that he’ll get it next year. Greg says that he ran in to Doctor Ettinger shortly before the letter came and that he wouldn’t look Greg in the eye. He took Greg into his office, poured him a drink, then told him that he “had no brains in his fingers”. Joan says that Ettinger wrote “such great things” about him, and Greg angrily says that doctors don’t write bad things about each other. Joan says that Greg can simply go to another hospital. Greg says not one in New York. Joan asks what happens next. Greg says that he’s still a doctor but not a surgeon. Joan asks if they fired him; Greg says he doesn’t want to talk about it. He says that he has another year of residency, and that she’ll have to stay at her job. She says that it’s impossible for her to back out of it now. Greg tells her to find another job. He then says that he’s been sitting in a bar since 2am. Joan, seeing that he’s hurt and exhausted, tells him to go to bed and that she’ll clean up and put him to bed.

We then see a brief shot of Don, lying in bed awake and starting at the ceiling, and Sally, in her bed, also awake and staring at the wall.

The next morning, we see John introducing Joan to Guy MacKendrick and Harold Ford (she knows Saint John Powell from previous business). She says that she has a dinner reservation for them at six at La Grenouille and two tickets for Oliver! on Broadway. Saint John Powell laughs and says “ahhhh, a tragedy with a happy ending… my favorite kind!” John then leads the men away on a tour of the agency. Joan tells the receptionist to tell everyone that their “guests” have arrived. As they walk thorugh the office, John given them the schedule he has created. Paul plays guitar in his office as the men walk by, and Pete and Peggy both come out of their offices to introduce themselves. When they arrive at Don’s desk, his secretary says that Don is waiting for them in Bert’s office.

The men arrive at Bert’s office, where Harold and Guy are introduced to Bert, Roger and Don. After being introduced to Don, Saint John says that Guy has studied Don’s work. He also says that Guy has degrees from Cambridge, the London School of Economics. The Brits say that they are going to “debrief” Lane and meet with the Sterling Cooper folks for lunch at 1pm in the conference room. The men then leave, with Guy saying that he wants to “catch up” with Don later. “Well.. that was strange”, Bert says.

We next see Lane standing at his window, looking out at Manhattan. John knocks on the door and enters, saying that Messers Powell and Ford are waiting for him. Lane puts his pipe down, takes his glasses off, then invites the men into his office. Both Powell and Ford give him compliments for cutting waste, increasing business, and keeping morale up and complaints down. They then offer him something they consider both a reward and a challenge. Lane asks if it’s inside the cardboard box that was brought in. Mr. Powell says “yes, in a manner of speaking”. Lane opens it:

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It’s a stuffed cobra, “for our snake charmer”, Powell says. They then drop the bomb – they want to transfer Lane to the Bombay office. Visibly upset, Lane complains that his wife has only just gotten their house set up and their son into a good school. But Powell and Ford have decided – Lane is going. Powell and Ford browbeat Lane into accepting the offer, then grin at each other like Cheshire cats, mightily pleased with themselves.

In the conference room a short time later, Ford introduced Guy to everyone and gives him the floor for the meeting. Guy begins by thanking Lane for his hard work. The attendees applaud. Guy then says that there will be no more layoffs. Harry (and only Harry) applauds. Guy takes it in stride, smiling and saying that this is indeed good news. He then unveils his “slight reorganization” on an overhead projector. According to his chart, Guy will leading a “triumvirate” of himself, Don and Bert. Big things are revealed at this meeting: Don is not going to London, Guy calls Ken “the head of accounts… with Mr Campbell… for the present”, Harry appears to be getting a promotion… and Roger doesn’t appear on the chart at all. When Bert asks about Rogers’ absence, Guy dismisses it as an oversight. Guy then goes on to say that he’s just there to “facilitate communication” and “share genius”. The motion is then made to end the meeting. Powell says that this reorganization should go into effect immediately so that it can be up and running by the end of the holiday. Ford agrees, and asks Guy if he wants him to type up a memo. Guy says no, that news like this should be communicated verbally. Ken and all the PPL folks leave the conference room, leaving Don, Bert, Pete, Roger and Harry in the room. Harry asks what the hell happened, and Pete says that they reorganized everyone and he (Harry) is the only one who got a promotion. Bert, feeling genuinely sorry for Don, says “I apologize for my wild imagination”.

Back at the Draper home, Betty and Sally walk into her room. Sally shows her mother that she did, in fact, clean her room. Betty sits on Sally’s bed and says that that’s not what she wanted to talk about. Betty reaches under Sally’s pillow and pulls out a box gift wrapped in color comic strips from the Sunday newspaper. Betty opens the card and reads it aloud to Sally… it’s apparently a gift from baby Eugene to Sally, in hopes that they might be friends. Sally doesn’t seem to buy it, but she opens the present anyway… and it’s a Barbie doll. Betty, who considers the problem solved, kisses Sally on the forehead and leaves the room. Sally takes the doll out of the box and places it on her bed… and looks at it as if she’s scared of it.

Back at Sterling Cooper, Guy has announced the reorganization to all employees, and we now see him offering toasts to Lane and Joan. He wishes Joan “caviar, children, and all that is good in your new life”. This causes her to burst into tears. Guy, thinking he has said something wrong, apologizes just as John wheels out a huge “Bon Voyage” cake to Joan. Joan straightens up, wipes her eyes and walks up to the cake. Guy says that they will discuss the reorganization in more detail later, but for now they should enjoy the liquor and food.

We see the guys complaining about how PPL is adding people above them but not promoting any of them. Ken suggests that they mingle with the PPL staff, and all the guys quietly follow him. Don and Peggy then have an awkward moment where Peggy says the champagne is good, but Don disagrees. A phone rings, and Don’s secretary says that Conrad Hilton’s office is on the line for him. Don, not knowing why Conrad Hilton would be calling him, nevertheless walks into his office to accept the call.

In his office, Don picks up the phone and talks to a “Ms. Wakeman” from Hilton’s office. She doesn’t know why Hilton wants to see him, but he has asked her to put Don on his schedule. When asked when he would be available, Don asks “how about right now?” Ms. Wakefield puts him on hold for a second, then asks when he can be there. When Don says 15 minutes, she instructs him to the presidential suite at the Waldof Astoria. A nervous Don says the he is on his way.

Meanwhile, Roger walks in to Bert’s office to complain about being left off the org chart. He thinks he’s “being punished for making my job look easy”. Bert, who is eating chocolate pudding, says that “we took their money, we have to do what they say”.

While Roger frets, the rest of the office parties. We see everyone drinking and having a fine old time. And then Peggy approaches Joan and asks her for a word. Peggy says that she wanted to give Joan a gift with the firm understanding that Peggy didn’t want anything in return. She then goes on to say that she wants Joan to know that she did listen to her, but that “we can’t all be you”. Joan smiles and says that she does take some credit for Peggy being a success.

Their talk is interrupted by the sound of the lawnmower starting up again, and we see Smitty driving a secretary around. Someone then thinks it’s a good idea for Lois to drive the mower, and we then see a (probably drunk) Lois trying to drive the lawnmower through the office. She’s really bad at it, though and runs over Guy’s foot and then crashes into an office, shattering the glass and taking a door off its hinges. Observers are sprayed in Guy’s blood:

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Joan leaps into action, checking out Guy’s mangled foot and yelling for a tourniquet from the first aid kit. Peggy passes out into Pete’s arms while Lois screams. Joan deftly applies the tourniquet while Guy screams in pain.

At the Waldorf, Don meets Conrad Hilton… who turns out to be “Connie” from Roger and Jane’s party. Connie offers Don a drink or some food, both of which he turns down. Connie then shows Don a mock-up of a Time magazine cover featuring himself, after Don had said that he couldn’t believe that he was Conrad Hilton. Don asks how Connie was able to track him down; he says that he told people that he “had a long talk with a handsome fella from Sterling Cooper, and your name never came up”. Don says that he’s here now, and then asks Conrad what he can do for him. Connie points to some ad mock-ups on the coffee table. The ads look fine, but there is a cartoon mouse in the lower left corner of the ads, and Don says that people don’t want to think about mice when they think of a hotel. Connie looks at the ads, kind of sighs\snorts, then motions for Don to take a seat on the sofa.

“That was my idea”, Connie says. “You got anything better?” Don says that he might. Connie asks him what he wants. Don says that he wants a share of his business. Connie says “OK… but the next time somebody like me asks you a question like that, you need to think bigger”. Don then tells Connie a tale about snakes that go months without eating, but then get so hungry that they suffocate while they’re eating. “One opportunity at at time”. Connie, obviously disappointed with Don, is about to say something when his secretary walks in, telling Don that there’s an emergency. “Home or office?”, Don asks.

Back at the office, Harry is both angry and scared about the future. He accuses Smitty of taking the mower out in the first place. Smitty says that Lois is an idiot, and he had no idea that she couldn’t drive. Harry says that they “had the world handed to us on a plate”, and Smitty ruined it. Roger walks in, quipping that it “looks like Iwo Jima out there” and that they’ll “have to put a rubber mat out there so Cooper can get around” (Pete says that they’re changing the carpet). Roger then asks if there’s any news. Paul says he might lose his foot… “and just when he got it in the door”, Roger jokes. One of the cleaning crew starts squeegeeing the blood off the glass, and Harry looks as if he’s going to be sick. Rogers calls him a sissy but tells him to sit down. Ken says that he’ll take full responsibility for the incident. “Believe me, somewhere in this business, this has happened before”, Roger says as he walks out of the room.

We next see Joan at the hospital getting a Dr Pepper out of a vending machine. Don walks up and sees Joan covered in Guy’s blood. “My God”, he says (thinking about Guy). “I know… it’s ruined!”, she says (thinking about the dress). Joan says that she didn’t think Don would come, she just wanted him to know what happened. She says that Guy has, in fact, lost a foot. She also says that the PPL people are on their way to the hospital; Don says that he’ll wait for them with Joan.

The two of them then have a conversation. Don tells her that she will be “terribly missed” at the office. Joan says that that’s “nice to hear”, especially from Don. Joan says that Guy probably felt great when he woke up, but then “that’s life. One minute you’re on top of the world, the next minute some secretary’s running you over with a lawnmower”. Don and Joan have a laugh, just as the PPL folks walk up. Powell says that he’s heartbroken, Ford then thanks Joan for her quick action. Lane agrees, saying that Joan might have saved his life. Powell then says “such as it is”; he then starts talking about Guy as if he were dead already. Don disagrees that Guy’s career is over. Ford asks how Guy’s suppose to work without a foot. He then says that they’ll have to reevaluate their reorganization plan. Powell says that Lane will remain in New York indefinitely. Lane then demands that Joan let Sterling Cooper reimburse her for the dress. Ford says that he and Powell should see Guy, and walk off. Don turns to Joan and says that she should get home to her lucky husband. Joan agrees. The two of them have a long stare at each other and she kisses Don on the cheek. She then shakes Lane’s hand and walks away.

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Lane then walks over to the Dr Pepper machine and asks if Don wants one. “Sure”, he says. Lane says that he’s been reading a lot of American literature lately, and mentions Tom Sawyer specifically. He says that he felt like he went to his own funeral, and he didn’t like the eulogy.

Later that night, we see Don walking up to the front door of his home. He spies Sally’s Barbie doll sitting in a bush, so he picks it up, brings it inside, and puts it back in Sally’s room. He barely has time to begin undressing when Sally starts screaming at the top of her lungs at the Barbie doll. Don runs into her room and starts hugging her. Just as she begins to calm down, Betty walks up with Eugene, who is now crying too. Sally starts screaming again. Betty, clueless, just says “I don’t know what to say” and walks away. Don asks Sally to explain what’s wrong. “Grandpa Gene… he’s not supposed to be here any more!”, she says. Don says that he’s not. Sally says that the baby is named Gene, he sleeps in Gene’s room, he looks like Gene, and that when he starts talking he’ll sound like him, too. Don says that Eugene is a baby, and that there no such thing as ghosts.

Back in the bedroom, Don tells Betty that this “has to stop”. Betty asks what she can do, as Sally is jealous of her baby brother. Don says that she’s not jealous, she’s scared, and it’s all because he has “that name”. This, of course, sets Betty off. She says that Don never liked it, and that he’ now bringing Sally into it. Don says she’s being ridiculous. Betty says that he’s going to have to deal with it, because naming babies after relatives is “what people do” to keep memories alive. Don says that his “memory” is that Gene hated him and he hated Gene. Betty says “that’s his name” in a way that says “end of discussion”.

Sally comes in an apologizes for waking up Eugene. Don walks back out of the room with Sally and takes her to Eugene’s room. He picks up Eugene, sits in a rocking chair and calls Sally over.  He gently looks at Sally and says “this is your little brother. He’s only a baby. We don’t know who he is yet or who he’s going to be. And that is a wonderful thing”.

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NOTES

– The memo held up at the beginning of the episode is dated July 1, 1963. Also, there are several references to the upcoming July 4th holiday. This episode was easy to date!

– The full text of the memo reads: “TO ALL EMPLOYEES: THERE WILL BE A MEETING. MANDATORY ATTENDANCE. ALL STERLING COOPER EMPLOYEES, 9:15AM, MAIN FLOOR”. It’s signed by “managing partner” Lane Pryce.

– Does anyone buy that John, Lane and the PPL people “didn’t know” about the July 4th holiday? I’m incredulous that trans-Atlantic businessmen would be ignorant of this holiday, given that a) they’re British and were kind of involved in the creation of the holiday itself; and b) it’s a fixed date holiday. It’s on July 4th every year (unlike, say, Thanksgiving where the date shifts every year). I’ve read articles on the BBC’s website about our Independence Day celebrations, and only the barest of explanations are given for it, although our world is much smaller than the world of 1963. Still, I’m not buying it.

– “Shipshape and Bristol fashion” is a British term meaning “in good order”. Although the phrase is named after Bristol, England no one is exactly sure why. Some think it might be due to Bristol’s success as a shipping city. Others think that it has to do with the high tides in the area (if care wasn’t taken on a ship anchored in the area, it would run aground at low tide).

– Bert’s “Martin and Lewis” comment refers to the American comedy duo of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Both began their careers as stand-up comedians. In 1945, Martin met Lewis at the Glass Hat Club in New York City. They hit it off well, and first performed as a duo on July 24, 1946 at the 500 Club in Atlantic City. Their first show was not a success, and they were told that they would be fired if their second showing that night went as poorly as their first. Both men tossed out their scripts and mostly improvised their performance, and audiences loved it. The two toured nightclubs up and down the east coast, eventually ending up at New York’s famous Copacabana nightclub. There they caught the eyes of NBC Radio executives, and so a radio show began in 1949. In that same year there were given their first movie part, in My Friend Irma. Although there had been comedy duos before, Martin and Lewis were unique in that they were good friends both on and off the screen, and the their obvious happiness shone through, making them one of America’s most famous comedy acts of the 1950s. It’s interesting that Bert would use Martin and Lewis as an example of good friends, as Martin and Lewis’s constant touring and working together led to their breakup in 1956.

– The John Deere Model 110 was first manufactured in June, 1963 at the John Deere Works in Horicon, Wisconsin. The first Model 110 had the serial number 2551. They shipped with 7HP or 8HP Kohler engines. Learn all you could ever want to know about the John Deere Model 110 at this page.

Pigs in a blanket are typically an American breakfast food consisting of a breakfast sausage wrapped in puffy pastry and baked. They are similar to a British “sausage roll”. They are also served as hors d’oeuvres at parties. Amusingly, they’re one of those dishes that seem passe, tacky or dated… yet they always seem to be the first to disappear at a party. The dish was probably invented in Germany, where it is called Würstchen im Schlafrock (“little sausages in a nightgown”).

– I’m not sure I believe Roger’s story about his Dad’s death either. Early automobiles had windshields made of regular glass, but a series of lawsuits against the Ford motor company led to the introduction of stronger glass in 1917. In 1919, Henry Ford started installing laminated glass (glass that would not shatter, but stay in one large piece) in his cars, and by 1929 it was standard on all Ford models. I’m not sure exactly when Roger’s father died (he was apparently fairly young when it happened, based on comments in earlier episodes), but it still seems unlikely that Roger’s dad could have died this way. Also, for what it’s worth, seat belts were first introduced in American cars by Preston Tucker in 1948, although Nash was the first production vehicle to offer them in 1949. Ford started offering them in 1955, and Saab was the first to offer them as standard equipment in 1958.

Burl Ives (1909–1995) was an American actor, writer, and singer. Ives was best known for his “mostly harmless” singing work. He was certainly talented, but lived in an age when singers sang songs that other people wrote – mostly standards and other “non-offensive” tunes. Burl Ives sang the kind of music your grandparents enjoyed (or great-grandparents, depending on your age), while your grandmother or mother swooned to the veritable rebel that was Frank Sinatra. In short, if Ives were alive today, he’d be the kind of entertainer that had a large following with the Branson, Missouri crowd.

– The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom at the time of this episode was Harold Macmillian. However, John corrects Joan that it was the Secretary of State for War, John “Jack” Profumo, who actually resigned over a sex scandal. The scandal, called the “Profumo Affair”, involved the married Profumo having a relationship with a showgirl named Christine Keeler, who was also alleged to be the mistress of a Russian spy also based in London. Although no actual espionage took place, the sexual nature of the incident and the fact that it happened at the height of the Cold War led to Profumo’s resignation, and might have led to the fall of Macmillian’s government. Malcolm X used the incident in his autobiography as an example of the low morals of even the most respected and trusted white people.

– I fucking love Swedish meatballs. That’s all I wanted to say there.

– That was some obvious product placement for Ritz crackers, no?

– The beer can was officially created on January 24, 1935 when the first cans of Krueger’s Finest Beer and Krueger’s Cream Ale were sold in Richmond, Virginia. However, the actual can was invented some 14 months earlier, just before the repeal of Prohibition, by the American Can Company. Beer cans would remain in the “flat top” style (requiring an opener called a church key) until March 1963, when Iron City Beer became the first beer to be sold in “pull tab” style (where one pulled the and entire tab off the top of the beer). Pull tab cans quickly became ubiquitous, and by 1965, some 75% all all canned beer was sold in pull tab cans, which were eventually replaced by the “stay tab” cans still in use today (and which were introduced in 1975 but not in widespread use for several years). I couldn’t find an exact date for when Budweiser adopted pull-top cans, but Schlitz was the first large brewer to use them, and they only introduced them in March 1963. It’s possible that AB rolled out their pull top cans sometime after Schlitz did. Want to learn about the history of beer cans? Click here.

– “Pram” (short for “perambulator”) is the British term for a baby stroller.

The Dublin House is a ancient bar in New York City located on the Upper West Side at 225 W 79th Street.

– We first met Saint John Powell in last year’s episode “The Jet Set”. He actually appeared at Sterling Cooper in last season’s finale, “Meditations In An Emergency”.

– As mentioned before, “Sinjin” is an upper-crust British pronunciation of “Saint John”. It’s believed to be a holdover from the days of Norman French occupation. The surname “Sinclair” has a similar origin, as the pronunciation of “Saint Clair”.

– Like so many things in Mad Men, La Grenouille is a real French restaurant in New York City. Unlike many of the other restaurants and nightclubs featured in the series, La Grenouille is still open for business after opening their doors in the midst of a snowstorm in December 19th, 1962.

– How curious that Joan would get Londoners tickets to see Oliver!. The musical, which is based on the classic Dickens novel Oliver Twist, opened in London’s West End in 1960 and had a run on Broadway in 1963. I would imagine that after three years, MacKendrick and Ford would have seen it on their own if they’d wanted to, right? It’s almost like someone from Myrtle Beach going to visit friends in Seattle, and those friends want him to watch Shag: The Movie while he’s there, ya know?

– The original London production of Oliver! launched the careers of several child performers, including Davy Jones (The Monkees), Phil Collins (Genesis), Alan Paul (The Manhattan Transfer), Steve Marriott (of the bands Small Faces, Humble Pie), and also Tony Robinson (from the TV shows Blackadder and Time Team).

– I meant to discuss this last week with Lane’s “pennies make pounds” comment, but I guess that now’s an even better time. Prior to 1973, Britain did not use a decimal currency system (where 100 pence would equal £1). They used a system wherein there were twelve pennies in a shilling, and twenty shillings to a pound (in other words, 240 pennies to the pound). Unlike decimal currency (where there are two columns on invoices and price tags – one for dollars and one for cents), this currency required three columns – one for pounds, one for shillings, and one for pence. Pennies were also available in fractional units like farthings (a quarter of a penny) and halfpence (a half a penny), as well as multiple pennies such as threepence and sixpence. When John says that he’ll take the men on the “threepenny tour”, he’s using the British equivalent of the American “fifty cent tour”. Read more here.

– Guy has degrees from Cambridge and the London School of Economics, both highly regarded institutions. He has also worked for the Bank of England (“the Bank”), McCann (a large agency) and Mercedes Benz, the famous German car maker.

Curriculum vitae (Latin for “the course of life”) is the British, Irish, New Zealand and European term for “résumé” (the terms are used interchangeably in Australia and India). However, many academic and research posts in the United States use “CVs” instead of résumés, as CVs are generally far more detailed than résumés.

Pax Romana (Latin for “Roman peace”) was the long period of peace and prosperity for the Roman Empire. It lasted just over 200 years, from 28BC to AD 180. It is sometimes called Pax Augustus since it was ushered in by Caesar Augustus. There have been other periods of relative peace (usually caused when one country has military superiority over all opponents), such as Pax Britannica (1815-1870) and Pax Americana (1945-present).

– Bombay, renamed Mumbai in 1996, is the second most populous city in the world, with 14 million inhabitants. Personally, I think it’s a shame that it was renamed, as the British are the ones who turned it from a sleepy bunch of island with a population of 10,000 people in 1665 to a boomtown of over 60,000 ten years later.

– A triumvirate (from the Latin, meaning “of three men”) is a political, social or business regime dominated by three powerful individuals. The term dates from Roman government: the “First Triumvirate” included Julius Caesar, Pompey the Great and Marcus Licinius Crassus. The “Second Triumvirate” formalized the rule of Octavian (later Augustus), Mark Antony, and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus.

– Here’s a 720p screencap of the reorg chart:

(click to enlarge)
(click to enlarge)

Conrad Nicholson Hilton (1887-1979) was the founder of the famous Hilton Hotel chain. Personally, I can’t believe that I missed all the hints in the “My Old Kentucky Home” episode. “Connie” Hilton was indeed born in San Antonio, New Mexico. Educated at the New Mexico Military Institute and the New Mexico School of Mines, Hilton was a Republican representative in the first state legislature of the state of New Mexico. When Word War I broke out, Hilton enlisted in the Army and was sent to Officer’s Training Command at the Presidio in San Francisco. After seeing limited combat, Hilton was discharged at Fort Dix, New Jersey on February 11, 1919. He then went back to New Mexico, where he helped build up a small hotel and general store started by his father (who was killed in a car crash while Conrad was away in the army). He then moved to Texas, where he bought the Mobley Hotel in Cisco, Texas. He kept buying hotels throughout the state. Although he almost went bankrupt during the Great Depression, he was able to stay in charge of the company and lead it through a massive expansion in the 1950s and 1960s. Hilton was the first international hotel chain, and his hotels set a worldwide standard for hotel accommodations.

– Most Hilton Hotels leave a complimentary paperback copy of Be My Guest, Hilton’s autobiography, in every room. I should have been able to figure out that “Connie” was Conrad Hilton because I actually read part of that book on a hotel stay once. I knew, for example, that he was born in San Antonio, New Mexico, because I read that while staying in a Hilton in San Antonio, Texas and thought it was an odd coincidence.

– Conrad tells Don that they met at the “Yellow Rock Country Club”, where Roger and Jane had their party. However, a Google search of that name returns only one hit, and that’s to another Mad Men blog. So either the club doesn’t exist, or it doesn’t have a website (or, most likely, it’s based on an actual club with a different name).

– Nitpick: The Waldorf Salad was invented at the Waldorf Hotel (the forerunner of the Waldorf Astoria) in 1893 and was already well-known throughout the US when the new “Waldorf Astoria Hotel” opened in 1931.

– Conrad Hilton did appear on the cover of Time magazine on July 19, 1963:

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Iwo Jima is an island some 650 nautical miles south of Tokyo. It is most famous for the World War II Battle of Iwo Jima between the Japanese and the United States, as well as the iconic “Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima” picture was taken. The battle was one of the bloodiest of the Pacific theatre, with the US having 6,821 dead and 19,217 wounded, while the Japanese force of 22,786 was almost completely annihilated (21,703 dead, 1,083 captured). The United States returned control of Iwo Jima back to Japan in 1968.

– As long as people have roamed the earth, there have been people with missing limbs. The pegleg pirate is a old meme, but there’s a considerable amount of history behind it. Are Ford and Powell really off their rockers about Guy never working again? It’s not like the man digs ditches; he could easily do his job without a foot. But they’re already acting like he’s dead. What gives with that?

– As a former coin collector (and a guy who emptied the change from a Coke machine twice a week for six years), I liked that either the prop department or the sound editors used actual silver coins when Lane was getting Dr Peppers out of the machine. Silver coins make distinct sounds, and once you’ve heard a 1963 quarter hit a table or desk, it will forever sound different to your ears than a post-1964 quarter. It’s a subtle thing, but appreciated by those of us that know.

– Lane says that he read Tom Sawyer, then says that “he went to his own funeral, and he didn’t like the eulogy”. This is, of course, a reference to Tom Sawyer itself. In chapter 17, the town holds a funeral for Tom and Huck, now that they are missing and presumed dead. Tom and Huck sneak into town and eavesdrop on their own funeral, enjoying the glowing sermon about themselves.

– The song at the end of the episode is “Song To Woody” by Bob Dylan. Partial lyrics are as follows:

I’m out here a thousand miles from my home,
Walkin’ a road other men have gone down.
I’m seein’ your world of people and things,
Your paupers and peasants and princes and kings.

Hey, hey Woody Guthrie, I wrote you a song
‘Bout a funny ol’ world that’s a-comin’ along.
Seems sick an’ it’s hungry, it’s tired an’ it’s torn,
It looks like it’s a-dyin’ an’ it’s hardly been born.

MY THOUGHTS

I don’t say this very often, but Mad Men really is the most beautiful show on television. The camera work, the sets and the costumes all fit together so perfectly and organically, it almost really is like a time machine. There were several instances in this episode where I almost gasped aloud at some of the long shorts of the entire Sterling Cooper crew:

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I also don’t mention this often enough, but Betty really is a horrible mother. I can’t believe that she thought that a) Sally would buy the whole “gift from Eugene” and “babies have fairies that write for them” hogwash. I don’t know exactly how old Sally is supposed to be, but it’s obvious that she’s way too old for that; and b) she thought she could buy off Sally with a $2.98 Barbie doll.

The idea of duality is often brought up on Mad Men, and one of the oft-referenced ideas is that of who the better parent is, Betty or Don. Betty is a housewife that’s with the kids all the time. She cooks and cleans for them and kisses their boo-boos. But she’s often snippy and downright cruel to them. Don, on the other hand, is rarely at home (and not just because he works; he was so busy having affairs in seasons 1 & 2 that he was hardly home at all). But when Don is home, he’s often the caring and understanding parent. Whereas Betty just wants Sally to shut up and stop crying, Don will take the time out to talk to her, find out what the problem is, and hopefully offer a solution to, you know, actually fix the problem. Don’s not perfect by any means, but I’d much rather have him for a father than Betty as my mother.

Having said all that, this was absolutely Christina Hendricks’ time to shine. She chewed up every scene that she was in, from her disappointment with Greg to the tears at her going away party, to the subtle look she shared with Don at the end. I wonder how they’ll keep her in the story now that she’s leaving Sterling Cooper. And speaking of duality, how about Joan’s duality in this episode? Succeeding in first aid where her husband had failed. Of the two, Joan is by far the most competent one, but society expects her to stay at home and by the Good Wife… while her husband tries to salvage his career.

As amusing as the “lawnmower incident” was, I really didn’t like it. I hated it at first viewing, and grumbled at it during the second viewing. It was… silly, and silly is not something that Mad Men should ever do. But still, many complain about the slow pace of this show, and I think that this episode fixed that.

As always… I can’t wait until next week!

6 Replies to “Mad Men: “Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency””

  1. Nicely done again Jim.

    As far as the PPL people “not knowing” about the 4th of July-I saw that as a show of power over “The Colonists”-forcing them to work on that particular holiday.

    Surely Joan will still be on the show-she’s one of the major draws for guys like me to watch! ha

    Very odd about the sound of silver coins that you noticed-wow-that is DETAILED.

  2. Thanks for the compliments!

    Yeah, Mad Men’s sound people are really good. Remember when they got the Xerox machine? That was a real copying machine embedded in a prop that looked exactly that that model Xerox. But Xerox provided them with a sound recording of the exact model, so the sound you hear is the actual model Xerox machine! 🙂

  3. Listen closely, Jim, and you can almost hear Horace’s shade groaning over the use of the “deus ex John Deere” plot device. And like you, I couldn’t figure out why Ford and Powell would automatically write off poor Guy MacKendrick’s future with PPL. We already understand these two are down-the-nose and callous, but their reaction to Guy’s untimely injury makes one wonder where they spent World War II. Switzerland?

    Even a dim bulb like Saint John Powell would have been familiar in 1963 with Group Captain Douglas Bader, the RAF’s double amputee Battle of Britain hero who was credited with 22 1/2 German aircraft destroyed in WW2. Bader lost both legs — one above the knee, the other just below the knee — in a flying accident nearly 10 years before the start of the war. Politically conservative, Bader was a pure Tory’s Tory, and his logbook description of the 1931 accident that nearly killed him — “Crashed slow-rolling near ground. Bad show.” — would surely have resonated with someone like Saint John. After learning to walk on artificial legs without a xtick, Bader was soon dancing and taking up golf and tennis. With war on the horizon, he left a position in the oil industry to re-join the RAF in a desk capacity and quickly began lobbying for a seat in the cockpit. Old Boy connections took up his case, and he joined a Hurricane squadron in time for the “Phoney War” of 1939-40. When he was shot down (possibly by friendly fire) in a fighter sweep over France in late 1941, he was the RAF’s #2 ace. Luftwaffe pilots found him fascinating and arranged a “truce” so the RAF could replace his damaged prothesis but, after three escape attempts, the German command made Bader its star boarder in “inescapable” Colditz Castle. After liberation, Bader led the RAF’s victory flight over London to celebrate the end of the war in Europe.

    If PPL had any post-war business dealings with oil companies, Powell might have run into Bader as Shell’s dashing aviation division exec. He was also quite notably the subject of a 1954 book, “Reach For the Sky,” which became a motion picture four years later. And even though his good influence appears to have been lost on Messers Ford and Powell, Queen Elizabeth II would later knight Bader for his service to amputees. I’d expect more from Powell’s portrayer, Charles Shaughnessy. Several years ago the Mad Men actor provided Douglas Bader’s speaking voice in the “M.I.A.” episode of the animated TV series, “Gargoyles.”

    Bader’s advice to Guy? “Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t do this or that. That’s nonsense. Make up your mind, you’ll never use crutches or a stick, then have a go at everything. Go to school, join in all the games you can. Go anywhere you want to. But never, never let them persuade you that things are too difficult or impossible.”

    Budweiser ring pulls — My first experience was on Dauphin Island during a fraternity convention in Mobile in the summer of ’64. Fortunately we had a church key — the rings broke off half of them!

  4. Are Ford and Powell really off their rockers about Guy never working again? It’s not like the man digs ditches; he could easily do his job without a foot.
    I think that they’re just superficial enough, as are many of their clients, to believe that Guy’s apparent physical perfection plays as big a role in his success with clients as do his degrees and experience. At this point in the show you/we didn’t have the experience of seeing the fourth-season premiere, where this idea emerges again when Roger complains after Don’s initial journalistic interview that the writer’s employers didn’t bother to send a whole person to interview him. When you see movies from the ’40s, it’s clear that even in the case of veterans, appreciated for the service that cost them a limb, the missing parts put them at a social disadvantage; in fields where appearances were a big deal, they were at economic disadvantage as well. (This is, of course, all of us looking for consistent in-character motivations — in real life, the writers obviously were looking for the combo of “watercooler scene”/”Deere ex machina” to play off the others’ pun.)

    I also don’t mention this often enough, but Betty really is a horrible mother. I can’t believe that she thought that a) Sally would buy the whole “gift from Eugene” and “babies have fairies that write for them” hogwash. I don’t know exactly how old Sally is supposed to be, but it’s obvious that she’s way too old for that; and b) she thought she could buy off Sally with a $2.98 Barbie doll.

    I disagree here. I think she thought that she could find a clever way to have Sally bond with the baby, instead of — as she thought — resenting him. Sally also doesn’t seem to be that far off an age where she might really believe these things, and bear in mind that if Sally does believe the baby is inhabited by Gene’s ghost, as she does appear to think on some level, then in a sense she DID believe the story. One reason she’s so creeped out by the doll and by its reappearance in her room is precisely because she “buys” the story that the gift and note are from Gene/baby Gene, and that is how the doll mysteriously returned to her room. Betty inadvertently contributed to the problem by making it seem the baby had some supernatural ability or connections.

    Last point, about the Brits not knowing “about the holiday,” I basically agree with the person who says it’s likely a way of sticking it to the Yanks, but another possibility that occurred to me on second or third viewing is that Lane may mean they didn’t know about “the holiday” in the British sense of being “on holiday,” or in American terms, “on vacation.” In other words, they knew July 4th was a holiday, but didn’t realize Americans also expected July 3rd off even if it was smack in the middle of the work week.

  5. Guy’s foot getting chewed up in the lawnmower was foreshadowed a few episodes back when Ken, Pete, Harry, Paul, et. al., mercilessly joked about Lois’ scarf getting caught in a copier/shredder(?) . . . . although this event was not shown on screen.

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