Season Seven was the final season of Mad Men. I was kind of sad to have reached the end of the story, but I liked how it ended. I can always re-watch it if I want to. My husband and I watched the entire series of Mad Men on Netflix. I took notes on the things in Mad Men that are different from today.
Before you read this post, you might want to read what I wrote about previous Seasons:
Warning: There are spoilers.
Don flies to California where his wife, Megan, is living. She has a tiny black and white television.
He buys her a huge console television. The thing is so heavy that it requires two big men to carry it inside. It looks like a cabinet with the television embedded in it, and I think it had built in speakers on either side of the TV. This was a top-of-the-line, expensive, color television…. that Megan didn’t want.
* Don wakes up to a buzzing noise. It is coming from his alarm clock, which can be described as an analog electric alarm clock. The numbers flip over.
* Don and his daughter, Sally, are at a diner. She wants to call her friends. Don put two quarters on the table. Sally takes the quarters, gets up, walks across the diner, and puts the quarters into the payphone that is on the wall.
Today, Sally would have picked up her smartphone and made the call (or would have borrowed her dad’s smartphone to make the call).
* Harry finally tells one of the other partners that he’s been lying – for a long time – about there being a computer that he uses to figure out the best ad placement for television ads. He’s been lying to the customers about it, too. There is no computer. This revelation sparks a conversation about the company needing to invest in a computer.
Today, its hard to imagine an entire office without computers.
* Betty goes on a field trip with her son, Bobby. She is a chaperone. Betty and Bobby ride on the school bus with his classmates, teacher, and a few other moms. Betty smokes a cigarette on the way, and ashes out the window.
* The creative’s lounge is taken away from them because the office is going to put a computer there. It takes up that entire space. The only thing this computer could do was “crunch numbers” – literally computing.
* The computer is an IBM 360. It is a mainframe computer that was accessed by remote terminals. It had 8,000,000 characters in bulk core storage. Monthly rentals ranged from $27,000 for a basic configuration to $115,000 for a typical large multi system configuration.
* The “System/360″ became available for delivery in 1965. The office in Mad Men is getting it installed in 1969. Today, most offices do not invest in computers that are four years old.
* Harry asks the IBM guy who is overseeing the computer installation to tell him where to find a keypunch service. The IBM 360 ran on punch cards. A keypunch service had people (often women) whose job it was to put a deck of blank cards into a hopper. The worker would type an operator command, and the hopper machine would feed one card at a time into a punch station. A series of dies punched holes into an individual card. Harry needed a service to make those cards for the office’s computer.
* In order to operate the mainframe, a person needed to – by hand – put the stack of punchcards, in a specific order, into the mainframe one by one.
* I have personally done that a few times when I was a little kid (because my dad sometimes took me to work with him.). Dropping the punch cards on the floor was a complete disaster. It meant you had to stop entering the cards, stop the computer, take the time to put the cards back in order, and start putting them into the computer again. If you accidentally put one card into the computer in the wrong order – the computer wouldn’t work. Once all the punchcards were correctly entered, you had to wait around for the mainframe to process them before you could start working from a terminal.
* Don uses a typewriter at his desk to get some work done. He has a piece of white paper, then a sheet of carbon, then another piece of white paper sandwiched together. The purpose of this was so Don could make two copies of what he was typing at the same time.
* There is now a secretary who sits at the terminal inside the room the giant computer is in. She appears to be typing something into the terminal. Behind her is a computer with a magnetic reel tape drive.
* The giant mainframe computer makes a constant humming noise. The computer room always has the doors closed because it needs to be in an air conditioned room.
* Peggy is working on an ad campaign for Burger Chef. She and Don decide to come up with a new idea rather than what they originally planned. Peggy mentions something about the ad including a mother who is picking up Burger Chef for her family on the way home from work. Don says “Mothers who work is too sad for an ad.”
Peggy points out that he is surrounded by mothers who work. This doesn’t change Don’s mind. They end up going with a completely different idea.
* This episode focuses on the Moon Landing. Everyone watches the rocket lifting off on television. Then, they watched the first space walk on television.
* Peggy is in Indiana with Don, Pete, and Harry because they are pitching to Burger Chef the next day. Peggy went out to get alcohol, but Indiana was dry on Sundays – meaning stores could not sell alcohol. She ends up having to buy two cans of beer from the hotel clerk.
Indiana was dry on Sundays until July 1, 2016. The laws changed on that date to allow distilleries, breweries, and wineries to sell alcohol on Sundays. The laws still did not allow people to buy alcohol and bring it home with them on a Sunday.
* Don has an answering service. He calls and a female worker answers and tells him who called him and when. The service is not work related – it is taking calls from women in Don’s social life.
* Joan and Peggy are talking to their client, Topaz pantyhose, about a problem. L’Eggs pantyhose – a competitor – is a lower price and is selling more than Topaz. L’Eggs pantyhose came in a plastic egg shaped container.
* I didn’t see anything new in this episode, that you don’t see today (that hadn’t already been mentioned in this post or in posts about previous seasons.)
* Sally’s friend Glenn comes to visit. He is now 18 years old. Glenn, and a female friend he brought with, ask Sally to go to Playland with them. Glenn reveals that he has joined the military and will be going to Vietnam. Sally gets very upset about this and rushes to her room.
Later, Glenn returns, knowing that Sally is not there. (She was on a class trip.). Glenn came to see Betty. Betty gives Glenn a beer. The legal drinking age in New York was 18 until 1982 – when it went up to 19. On December 1, 1985, the legal drinking age in New York moved up to age 21.
* Don was running late for work, so he shaves at his desk in his office while his secretary fills him in about what is scheduled for the day. He uses a battery powered electric razor. Those types of razors increased in popularity in the 1960s.
* The office has a darkroom which Stan (one of the creatives) uses to develop film – usually for ad campaigns. People have to knock on the door before coming in because opening the door lets light into the room. Doing that at the wrong time can completely destroy film.
* Peggy and Stan are working with children for an ad campaign. There is a table of toys in front of the kids. One of the toys is a metal slinky.
* The office gets absorbed by McCann. They lose the computer that took over the creative’s lounge. Harry says that McCann has a team of people who do statistics – so they don’t need the computer.
* McCann has an informal “ladies club”. The women who work there get together to complain about work (and drink).
* Peggy’s last remaining creative guy chooses not to go to McCann. He is still at the old office. He says he is still being paid, so he thought he’d “make some long distance calls”. Long distance calls were very expensive at the time.
* Don has gone on an impromptu road trip. He doesn’t carry luggage. Instead, he has a large paper bag with a change of clothes in it. The bag says Sears. Today, a lot of Sears stores are closing.
* Don’s road trip continues. This time he is carrying a bag from Penney’s. The bag probably came from JC Penney’s (which, today, is also closing a lot of stores.)
Things from Mad Men that are Different from Today – Season Seven is a post written by Jen Thorpe on Book of Jen and is not allowed to be copied to other sites.
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