[Video Link] Dan Colman of Open Culture has a post about The Beatles' “Tomorrow Never Knows,” which was featured on the most recent episode of Mad Men.
On Sunday night, The Beatles made history again when Don Draper slipped a copy of Revolver onto his turntable and started listening to “Tomorrow Never Knows.” According to Matthew Weiner, the creator of Mad Men, this marked the first time a Beatles song appeared on a television show (excluding the band’s live TV performances during the 1960s). And the privilege of playing a Beatles tune came at a cost — a reported $250,000.
If you’re not familiar with “Tomorrow Never Knows” (listen below), we’ll tell you a few simple things about it. According to Steve Turner, author of A Hard Day’s Write, this was John Lennon’s “attempt to create in words and sounds a suitable track for the LSD experience” (John discusses his first encounter with the drug here), and it was also the “weirdest and most experimental piece of music to appear under the Beatles’ name at the time.” Without a doubt, this psychedelic tune would have fit hand-in-glove with Mad Men’s fifth episode of the season, when Roger and Jane drop acid at a psychiatrist’s dinner party. But it sits comfortably too in Episode 8. Just as the song marked a tuning point in the band’s sound, so too does it presage a turning point in Mad Men‘s narrative. We begin to see individual characters moving in new personal directions and the show itself entering the later radical 60s.
Mad Men's Ken Cosgrove and Harry Crane stumble upon a MacBook Pro about 40 years before its time. What did the web look like in 1965? From a terrific Rolling Stone gallery of behind-the-scenes Mad Men photos by James Minchin III.
The latest creation from Joe Sabia is this video of people smoking cigarettes in Mad Men. They write:
This video will have one of two results. This repetitious, perfunctory and seemingly pointless act of inhaling smoke may turn you off to smoking cigarettes. Or, the fact that this repetitious, perfunctory, and seemingly pointless act is carried out by such debonair, dashing human beings will make you run to your corner store and chimney down a carton before dinner. Either way, advertising works.
Cigarettes or not, I just love the aesthetics of this show. And the music in the background.
They don't call The New York Times "The Gray Lady" for nothing, and it isn't like the Gray Lady to shill for a television show. That said, the paper's "Mad Men City" series is a swell look back at the New York City of the early-to-mid '60s, timed to coincide with this weekend's Season 4 premiere of AMC's "Mad Men." (Okay, so technically it's under the umbrella of the paper's "City Room" blog.) Today's installment has it all, nostalgically speaking: A black-and-white print ad from the venerable Benton & Bowles shop for the now-defunct Eastern Airlines, with copy referring to a woman as a "pretty chick." Other entries have focused on the East Side eatery Jimmy's La Grange -- a place so fantastically specific that you had to eat what Jimmy ordered for you, and it was usually Chicken Kiev -- and the ultra-swanky Time & Life Building. For you kids, Life was a magazine. Time still is. But it's hard not to read the name as a commentary on how swiftly time passes in a place like New York, and how thoroughly it effaces what's gone before.
The Wall Street Journal has an article about Janie Bryant, the "costume czarina" of Mad Men. She also designed the costumes for Deadwood. What a talent!
[Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner:] "Because Janie grew up in Tennessee, she is very attuned to formality and the way that things stay pretty much the same the further you get from Los Angeles or New York. People don’t always change with the times. Part of the story that we are trying to tell is about the loosening of all this stuff–the crudening of manners and style as the period changes. Janie and I talk about that all the time and try to signal it in little ways, like with a character taking off his hat in the elevator. It’s unusual for a costume designer to stay on this long, and that means so much since here continuity really matters."
"Like, I don't have a toilet at the moment. My house is just a wooden box. I mean I am planning to get a toilet at some point. But for now I have to go to the neighbors. I threw it all out."
(As he says this, I'm wondering whether this is just another of the parts Kartheiser might be trying on for size, but to prove the point he later takes me back to his house, which really is an empty wooden box, a small one-room bungalow on a nondescript Hollywood street and indeed it has no lavatory.) Is that a Buddhist thing, I wonder, or an early midlife crisis thing?
"It started a couple of years ago," he says. "It was in response to going to these Golden Globe type events and they just give you stuff. You don't want it. You don't use it. And then Mad Men started to become a success on a popular level and people started sending me stuff, just boxes of shit. Gifts for every holiday, clothes. One day, I looked around and thought 'I don't want this stuff, I didn't ask for it'. So I started giving it to friends or charity stores, or if it is still in its box I might sell it for a hundred bucks. I liked it so I didn't stop."
Aman Ali, a BoingBoing guest blogger, is the co-author of 30 Mosques, a Ramadan adventure taking him to a different mosque in New York City every day for a month.
I'll spare you guys the annoyance of raving about how good the TV show Mad Men is. But now apparently Sesame Street has gotten Mad Men fever. My friend's 3-year-old son saw the clip and said he wants to grow up and be like Don Draper. I said "You and me both kid, you and me both."
The most recent episode of Mad Men showed a bit of an old television sign-off, called "High Flight." I have dim memories of watching it as a kid, and I wanted to see the whole thing, so I started looking for it. It turns out there are a bunch of versions using different aircraft and different narrators reciting John Gillespie Magee, Jr.'s poem "High Flight." The one above is in color. I'm not sure if it's the original, which appeared in black and white. Maybe it was in color -- our family had a black and white set.
Here's another version, recorded from a 1982 sign-off on KABC 7 in Los Angeles:
And here's another from KCRA 3 Sacramento, with Moog music: