Did you know that on Jan. 11, 1964, the U.S. Surgeon General said — for the first time — that smoking may be hazardous to one’s health. And later, on Jun 24, the Federal Trade Commission said that, starting in ‘65, cigarette companies have to put warning labels on their packaging. Given that Lucky Strike is 71% of the firm’s business, isn’t that huge? Is that going to be addressed?
Those two historical events happened during the “lost year” of Mad Men. As Elise pointed out, the timeline of Mad Men jumped from Christmas, 1963 to to Thanksgiving, 1964 with the start of Season 4. What else happened then, not just historically but to the characters, and how/will the show revisit any of the time covered in the lost year?
Quick tangent — I’ve always loved lost years in storytelling. The first writing assignment I ever remember, from 5th grade, was to write about the lost year of Maniac Magee — which was one of the first narratives-can-be-different books I ever read. Without knowing whether or not Mad Men will have flashbacks to the lost year (doubtful) or simply allusions to events that occurred (my suspicion), I wanted to try and keep up with some of the details from the lost year. Having said that, I thought of this after I watched the episode, so it’s highly likely I’ll forget some stuff. This also may turn out to be a really dumb idea after a single episode. I also don’t know if we should do one of these every episode (a “Lost Year” capsule), or just keep adding comments to this thread. I’m open to ideas/suggestions/threatening me to stop writing or else you’ll get a hooker to slap me.
Here’s what I can deduce from the lost year of Mad Men, first w/ the plot and then some choice historical things I looked up via the Google:
- Don moves into an apartment by himself and stops dating and starts hiring hookers that slap him around. He also hires a woman to come take care of his pad.
- Betty marries Henry Francis and reaches an agreement that she’ll be moved out of the house by October 1, 1964. That hasn’t happened as of Thanksgiving, which even Henry seemed annoyed about.
- Again, as Elise wrote - we’re not in Sterling Cooper anymore. The episode closes w/ Don talking to the WSJ about the move into the Time/Life building.
- Joan has her own office space; not sure what her new role is with the company, eager to learn more there.
- Bert Cooper looks like he had 3 extra strokes, and Harry Crane bought purple pants and had a terrible tan.
- Historical notes (in real-world 1964): So, I spent 15 minutes working on this, then found a blog that already had a great list together. So here’s the link: Sixteen Significant 1964 Moments Mad Men Might Tackle in Season Four. (Or not — we’ll have to wait and see.) Highlights: LBJ’s war on poverty, Civil Rights Act passed, Jeopardy started, Beatlemania arrived, military involvement in Vietnam, Freedom Summer, and first Ford Mustang.
That’s it! Add anything else you caught that occurred during the “lost year” and we’ll see if this idea goes anywhere or not in the next couple episodes.