Home Television Mad Men May Skip Ahead Through 1964

This isn’t too much of a spoiler for “Mad Men.”

But it does seem like the folks from Sterling Cooper are going to flash forward a bit through most of 1964.

When we last saw Don, Betty, Roger, Joan, Pete, and Peggy it just at the end of 1963, right after the Kennedy assassination.

But episode 2 of the new season–which begins on July 25th–is called “Christmas Comes But Once a Year.” When I checked with an AMC source, the response was affirmative. This means that episode 1, “Public Relations,” may be set just a little earlier, around November 1964.

The other episodes filmed so far include some I’ve mentioned before and a few new ones. They are “The Rejected,” “The Good News,” “The Chrysanthemum and the Sword,” and my favorite so far, the tantalizing “Waldorf Stories.”

Episode 4, “The Rejected,” is directed by John Slattery, who plays Roger Sterling.

My AMC source is cagey, knowing what a fan I am. “It’s like Matt Weiner has invented a whole new show,” she says.

Interestingly, so far there’s no cast listing for Henry Francis, the character who would supposedly marry Betty after her divorce trip to Reno. Actor Christopher Stanley’s IMDB page hasn’t been updated to reflect that he’s even in this season. Ah, mystery! We’ll have to wait a bit and see if Betty went through with her divorce.

But what a shame if “Mad Men” has missed 1964, the Beatles arriving in America, and LBJ’s run against Barry Goldwater. It’s a year fraught with possibilities for backdrop. On the other hand, Weiner may just want to get on with it, so that a seven year run will take the show to the end of the 1960s–its natural stopping point.

Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. He wrote the Intelligencer column for NY Magazine in the mid 90s, reporting on the OJ Simpson trial, as well as for the real Parade magazine (when it was owned by Conde Nast), and has written for the New York Observer, Details, Vogue, Spin, the New York Times, NY Post, Washington Post, and NY Daily News among many publications. He is the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
2 replies to this post
  1. Well I for one am glad they are moving forward into late ’64. Wasnt the original idea that each season would be 1-2 yrs later from the last one? I think it will be fascinating to see how they are adjusting to all the changes. I was worried we would pick up right where they left off and then we would have a bunch of filler eps about picking a new office and such.

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