Friday, May 2, 2014

GH's Throwback Thursday Mad Men Outtakes: "Time Zones"

Since I started doing Mad Men "Throwback Thursday" posts for the Good Housekeeping website a week ago, some of you have asked me, "Hey Laura, whatever happens to all those sweet, sweet Diptic match-ups that never make it into your recap?" So, for your viewing pleasure, I'll be posting those outtakes here, on my personal blog, each Friday. There are so many great discoveries in the GH archives that I'd be remiss not to share these with you.

Here are the ones from the first episode.

Episode 7.1: "Time Zones"

Itʼs Mad Menʼs final season, and in seven short years weʼve jumped nine years in TV time—from 1960 to 1969.

The first scene of nearly every season premiere of this much-loved series has centered on our anti-hero, ad man Don Draper, usually panning in on the back of his head, mimicking the animation in the showʼs opening credits. But this season was just a little bit different. The first minutes were filmed through the lens of Donʼs mentee, Peggy Olson (which was also the case in one of the final scenes last season, if you remember).

We the audience watched what she watched, as though we were viewing the 1960s ad world through the eyes of a woman for the first time.

When this series began, the idea of a woman working as an ad executive was laughable. And yet Don knew that his success in advertising relied largely on figuring out what women wanted. In Mad Men's premiere episode, when Don asks a waiter in a restaurant what cigarettes he smokes and why, the man adds that his wife hates it that he smokes because she read in Readerʼs Digest that it could kill him, which he quickly dismisses by saying, “Women sure love their magazines.”

“Yes, they do,” Don agrees.

But that waiter could easily have found the same info in Good Housekeeping, which stopped publishing cigarette ads in 1952. Compared to all other media in the ʼ60s, womenʼs magazines showed the best examples of changing womenʼs roles in society. A study published by The Journal of Psychology in 1992 found a “slow and steady increase in stories with feminist themes” in the years after Betty Friedanʼs 1960 article in GH, the precursor to her The Feminine Mystique.

From now until the end of the season, Iʼll set out to show you examples of those changing roles (and some fashion and beauty, too—promise), as seen through the eyes of characters like Peggy, Joan, Megan, Betty and even Sally, the womenʼs magazine readers of the series and—particularly in Joan and Peggyʼs case—the women whose ideas were changing history.

Before "Time Zones" even aired, we had weeks of promotions from series creator Matthew Weiner, several of which showed the newly L.A.-glamorous Megan Draper. We’ve seen her wear a fall before, but never quite like this. A quick peek into the January 1969 Good Housekeeping reveals a startlingly uncanny example of the trend. Can you tell which is which?

On the left is an illustration by Howard Terpning for an excerpt of a 1968 novel by Norah Lofts, called The Lost Queen. Terpning’s style was similar to that of his contemporary, Brian Sanders, the 75-year-old illustrator Weiner recruited to design the promotional ads for the sixth season of Mad Men, who was also once a regular GH contributor (his artwork appears in the March 1969 issue).

This particular illustration style was often called "bubble and streak," a method that involved mixing soap with gouache paint. Below is an example of Brian's GH work.

And here are some other Megan Draper-esque characters from the February 1969 GH (part of an Avon ad, no less, one of Sterling, Cooper & Partners’ newest clients), along with a close-up of Megan’s makeup at the airport as she greets Don.

In February 1969, GH interviewed six or so acclaimed makeup artists for explanations on how to achieve this look. My favorite part of this is where he calls lavender a "nothing color."

January 1969 would see Richard Nixon’s inauguration, the last public performance by the Beatles and a Southern California oil spill that would inspire a senator to organize the first Earth Day the next year.

After hearing former full-timer Freddie Rumsen’s amazing pitch (which unbeknownst to Peggy was actually conceived by Don, who seems to be using Freddie as a voice box during his paid leave), Peggy tries to adjust the catchphrase for Accutron watches to blend with her own vision, a signature Draper move. It’s not just the opening scenes of this first episode that center on a woman’s perspective—it’s nearly all of it. We don’t even see Don Draper until several minutes in, and even then he is traveling to visit his wife who’s finding success in her acting career in Los Angeles and essentially now lives alone. Other than his work with freelancer Freddie, Don seems to have a good amount of time on his hands (pun intended), though his wife believes he’s still going to work every day.

When Megan picks up Don at LAX, it’s in a new car. His first instinct is to open the passenger’s side door for her, but she whispers to him that she has to be the driver because she can’t figure out how to adjust the seats yet.

Here’s what GH readers thought women knew about cars in January and February 1969.

Around this time, the concept of “the single girl” was becoming prominent in women’s magazines. Whereas models had once been photographed posing in the home, a youthful woman, running around and jumping outside, had become the norm. A single career girl is something Megan has clearly begun to see herself as, despite the fact that she’s already married.

One of the funniest parts of this episode is when a stressed-out Ken Cosgrove scolds secretary-turned-partner Joan Holloway for using his phone to save the Butler Footwear account, one SC&P might have lost had Joan not shown so much ingenuity, despite her sexist treatment by its new head of marketing. Joan’s usually pretty good at conducting these business deals in secret, but this time she slips up and leaves an earring in Ken’s office. Ken throws it at her but misses because of his recent eye injury at the hands of Chevy. Mad Men costumer Janie Bryant was right on when she put those bulky earrings on Joan—they were very trendy that year.

As for Peggy’s wardrobe this season, is anyone else missing those glorious bell bottoms from the sixth season finale? Those pants made a real statement as she hung out in Don’s office like she owned the place. And they were well represented in the January 1969 GH.

She’s still wearing a ton of plaid in 1969, but not in a good way. And she insists on wearing that white knit tam every episode and is veering more towards schoolgirl than fashion-forward woman with those miniskirts and knee socks. Could this change be due to Ted’s absence? Or because of Lou’s oppressive treatment of her?

Either way, according to GH, she’s still in style.

I wish we could say that the despicable Lou Avery isn’t, but even in his cardigan, he has his bases covered.

(I'm making these photos extra small, 'cause frankly, Lou barely deserves to be here.)

What did everyone think of Megan’s very woodsy bungalow in the Hollywood Hills? It definitely doesn’t have Don’s touch, and she scoffs when he tries to add a modern TV to it without asking her permission first (that’s new!). I wonder where she got the idea to decorate with so much wood? Maybe from the January 1969 GH? (Surely not from Playboy.)

That's a bathroom, guys! A bathroom.

By the way, while that orange scarf look Megan's got going on here might seem like a bold and original move on her part (I'm sure Don had meant for her to wear it kerchief-style while driving), it's not. Here's how the ladies were wearing headscarves in 1969.

And, in an everything-that's-old-is-new-again twist, here's how Monica Potter wears one in the June 2014 GH, on newsstands now.

But back to Megan's creepy kitchen. OK, it's not creepy...unless you believe she will be murdered in it by season's end...

Megan’s cooking style is seeing a few changes this season. When Don comes home from visiting Pete and the L.A. offices, prominently displayed on the stove is a casserole dish (though Megan says she’s making Coq au Vin). This time period saw an upswing in casseroles, meant to save the modern woman time in the kitchen.

By the time Don boards his red-eye back to New York, he seems to be feeling fairly ubiquitous ("I wonder if I broke the vessel"—a biblical reference?), or “invisible,” as Pete would say in the next episode. He sits next to a gorgeous middle-aged widow (Neve Campbell in what I believe to be the first wrap dress we’ve seen yet on this series, though von Furstenberg wasn't making these yet then) who offers him sleeping pills, then jokes that he can “blame Madison Avenue” for his misconceptions about glamorous seatmates. When Don refuses, she decides that she’ll hold back, too.

And they’re not the only ones. Millions of readers were getting the same idea from GH that month.

Finally, if you saw the GH recap that showed off the crazy-amazing gingham match-up, you're going to love this. Here's Peggy Olson in her gingham dress, the original gingham-wearer, the O.G....oh, you get the picture.

Until next time, "'Accutron: It's time for a conversation.'"

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