Jul. 19, 2007
60 min.
AMC TV Network

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Mad Men

It's New York in the 1960s, and the men and women who work at the Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency are some of the top names in the industry. Master manipulator and leading ad man Don Draper is at the top of his game, but there are those who want to see him topple down. Can he maintain his formidable status?

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Trivia Facts | Top Quotes | Goofs/Mistakes
  • Talia Balsam, John Slattery's wife, portrays his character's former wife in the series.
  • In 2008, this series and Damages became the first basic-cable shows nominated in the best drama series category at the Emmys.
  • Glen, the neighbor's young son who forms a connection with Betty, is portrayed by Marten Holden Weiner, the son of series creator Matthew Weiner.
  • Both actors portraying the principal partners at the Sterling and Cooper advertising agency - John Slattery (Roger Sterling) and Robert Morse (Bertram Cooper) - hail from Newton, Massachusetts.
  • The monolithic facade of Sterling Cooper's building is the same used for the UBS tower in Network
  • SPOILER: In 2008, show creator Matt Weiner told the Chicago Tribune that Peggy and Pete's son was given up for adoption (as she told Pete) and is not being raised by Peggy's sister or mother. Weiner also said that the misdirection to make the audience think that the son is being raised by Peggy's sister was deliberate. In 2013, Weiner expanded on this at a Q&A session at the Paley Center for Media. Weiner said that Pete and Peggy's child is "gone into the Catholic church's adoption system... it's untraceable, you can't find your birth parents. I guess you could now, but it's pretty hard." This storyline was not absolutely confirmed onscreen until season 7, in "Time & Life," the third-to-last episode of the whole series, when Peggy admits to Stan that she had a baby and gave him up in an anonymous, closed adoption: "I'm here and he's with a family somewhere. I don't know, but it's not because I don't care. I don't know because you're not supposed to know, or you can't go on with your life."
  • Sally's teacher is first introduced on the show dancing around a maypole with her students. The teacher character is named Suzanne Farrell, after one of the most famous American ballerinas of the 1960s, '70s, and '80s.
  • John Slattery auditioned for the role of Don Draper before being asked to play Roger Sterling.
  • SPOILER: Clips from and references to the movie and the song Bye Bye Birdie pervade much of the third season. It had already been established in previous seasons that Don's affectionate pet name for Betty is "Birdy;" since the third season ends with Betty flying to Reno to divorce Don, the prominence of the song is the showrunner's nod to the fact that the third season is the one in which Don must literally say "bye bye" to his wife, "Birdy."
  • At of the start of the fifth season, the role of Robert "Bobby" Draper has been played by four different child actors. Bobby was originally played by Maxwell Huckabee; Huckabee was replaced with Aaron Hart toward the end of the first season; Hart was replaced with Jared Gilmore by the start of the third season; and Gilmore was replaced with Mason Vale Cotton starting with season five. It is particularly notable that Hart was replaced since he is the youngest actor ever to win a SAG Award (which he won for playing Bobby Draper). By contrast, the oldest Draper child, Sally, has been played by the same actress, Kiernan Shipka, since the start of the show. Shipka was seven years old when her first "Mad Men" episode aired.
  • SPOILER: During the show's first season, an elaborate, multi-stage makeup and costuming process was developed by costume designer Janie Bryant and makeup department head Debbie Zoller for actress Elisabeth Moss to simulate Peggy's weight gain. Bryant created several body suits with different levels of padding for Moss to wear under her costumes. Zoller made four stages of facial prosthetics, starting with a fairly subtle piece to augment Moss's chin and neck, and then added increasing cheek pieces to create the illusion that she was slowly becoming significantly heavier. During the filming of the fifth season, the makeup artists repeated the process--this time for January Jones, the actress who plays Betty (Draper) Francis. Although the storyline in which Betty gained a great deal of weight was initially contrived in anticipation of having to explain Jones's pregnancy, Jones didn't gain anything close to the amount of weight that the showrunners intended for Betty to gain, so the makeup artists dressed Jones in a fat suit and covered her face and neck in prosthetic makeup appliances to simulate Betty's weight gain. They also employed a larger body double to film a scene in which heavier Betty gets out of the bath.
  • Christina Hendricks originally auditioned to play Midge Daniels.
  • In 2012, costume designer Janie Bryant told Slate magazine that she always repeats one of Peggy's costumes from the previous season during the next season's premiere. Bryant said that she "loves" that tradition for Peggy because "I think that this all is really based in reality. That's what we would do in real life: We repeat our clothes."
  • According to January Jones, she had some doubts about taking the role because she hadn't had much to do on the first episodes, but she decided to trust her instincts that Betty would have rich plots coming up.
  • The actors do not smoke real cigarettes. They smoke Ecstacy herbal cigarettes, which are tobacco and nicotine free. Show creator Matthew Weiner said in a New York Times article, "You don't want actors smoking real cigarettes. They get agitated and nervous. I've been on sets where people throw up, they've smoked so much." When asked what it's like to smoke herbal cigarettes, Jon Hamm (who plays Don Draper) told Vulture, "Terrible. They taste like a mixture between pot and soap."
  • Mad Men counts Barack Obama among its fans. Obama sent a fan letter to Matthew Weiner following Season 3, telling him how much he enjoys the show. A stunned and flattered Weiner keeps the letter from Obama in a frame on the wall outside of his office.
  • Matthew Weiner wrote the pilot of Mad Men in 1999 while working on the Ted Danson sitcom Becker. In 2002, Weiner sent the pilot as a writing sample to David Chase, who created The Sopranos.
  • January Jones and Christina Hendricks both made their acting debut in the same work, the television film Sorority (1999) (TV), eight years before being reunited on the show.
  • January Jones auditioned twice for the role of Peggy Olson before Matthew Weiner asked her to read for the part of Betty Draper instead, despite the fact that at that point the character was barely in the pilot and he had no plans of fleshing her out.
  • Nearly a year elapsed between the filming of the pilot, "Mad Men" (2007) {Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (#1.1)} and the second episode, "Mad Men" (2007) {Ladies Room (#1.2)}.
  • Rob Huebel auditioned for the role of Don Draper.
  • According to Jon Hamm, the production's pursuit of historical accuracy is such that series researchers will insist on knowing weather conditions, news items, and popular culture for a particular period related to the script's time frame.
  • Character Ken Cosgrove was likely based in part on the novelist/poet James Dickey, who worked in advertising in the 1960s while publishing poems in The New Yorker and other prominent magazines.
  • During a 2013 interview in the New York Times Magazine, the interviewer, Andrew Goldman, asked Elisabeth Moss (who plays Peggy) if she thought the Don-Peggy relationship would "ever be consummated, given the obvious sexual tension between them." Moss's reply was, "I hope not. Anyone who sleeps with Don does not have a long road ahead of them. It's like the kiss of death to sleep with Don. I really think it would be jumping the shark to do that."
  • At a 2013 Q&A session at the Paley Center for Media, Matthew Weiner said that he had already told his wife and a few writers about how he plans to end the whole series. He also said that "he's been told it's a disaster, but he's going with it [anyway]."
  • Julia Ormond, who plays Megan Draper's French mother, is actually British. She was born in Surrey and went to a private school.
  • SPOILER: Vincent Kartheiser and Alexis Bledel, whose characters have an affair on the show's fifth season, actually started dating after meeting on the set and were married in 2014.
  • The titles pay homage to graphic designer Saul Bass's skyscraper-filled opening titles for Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959) and falling man movie poster for Vertigo (1958); Weiner has listed Hitchcock as a major influence on the visual style of the series.
  • Jessica Pare auditioned for the roles of Rachel Menken and Jane Siegel before being cast as Megan Calvet.
  • Jon Hamm confirmed that the beverages consumed on the show are non-alcoholic, pointing out that the shooting schedule is actually very hectic and that he would never drink during the day on camera or off.

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