Fictional Mad Men Character Roger Sterling To Be A Regular Guest On Spiegel/Goff Show

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We’re pleased to announce that fictional character on AMC’s “Mad Men” Roger Sterling will be a regular guest on the Spiegel and Goff Show. Sterling will appear every Tuesday at Noon during the baseball season to talk, make clever wisecracks, and enjoy a refreshing cocktail or two.

“Roger Sterling is one of the more interesting guys from the world of fictional advertising agencies,” said Jason Goff. “He’s got a renewed energy for Mad Men fans, who have been waiting for that pop, for that next big thing.”

Known for witty, zen-like sayings, skirt-chasing, and drinking on the job, Roger Sterling is as unique among fictional 1960s-era TV characters, and should bring great perspective to the show. Read the rest of this entry »


Speakeasy: ‘Mad Men’ Season Premiere, ‘Severance’: A Conversation

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Read it here, at SpeakeasyWSJ


Eric Thurm: Mad Men Is Back—And With it, the End of Great Navel-Gazing TV Dramas

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Eric Thurm writes: TV is an odd mishmash of a medium. It shares enough qualities with film that we can use the word “cinematic” as a blanket compliment, yet its traditional broadcast model more closely resembles radio. In fact, with the advent of original programming from online-only platforms, it’s increasingly difficult to tell what, exactly, TV is.

“At its core, that self-reflexivity is rooted in anxiety for the future—as well it should be. Because as it turns out, the end of Mad Men is not the end of TV, but rather the end of a particular era for the medium, one that has been repeatedly canonized in books like Brett Martin’s ‘Difficult Men’ and Alan Sepinwall’s ‘The Revolution was Televised’.”

Maybe that’s why, dating back to  The Mary Tyler Moore Show, TV is so often about itself. There’s a long history of scripted TV that’s about making TV. Yet, for all the literal Difficult-Menexamples of it—Sports Night, 30 Rock—Mad Men, which returns for its final seven episodes on Sunday, is the most self-reflexive series of them all.

[Order Brett Martin’s book “Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad from Amazon.com]

Mad Men‘s ad firm Sterling Cooper & Partners (né Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, né the Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency) is itself a representation of the process of making television. The writers’ room pitches, the long nights, the fights with executives over the creative integrity of material that, with varying degrees of explicitness, is ultimately about selling products. Many of the show’s most triumphant moments come not from interpersonal dynamics, but the act of intellectual conception—being struck by writerly inspiration, often in a room full of people trying to come up with their own perfect idea.

And the show’s behind-the-scenes dynamics become manifest in its characters. Critic Todd VanDerWerff has described episodes as “fan fiction Matt Weiner is writing about his own writers’ room,” something that’s especially apparent in the relationship between Don Draper and his protege-turned-peer, Peggy Olson.

“The writers’ room pitches, the long nights, the fights with executives over the creative integrity of material that, with varying degrees of explicitness, is ultimately about selling products.”

Their tempestuous creative partnership prompts fights over the ownership of everything from ad campaigns to each other’s careers, culminating in the infamous “That’s what the money is for!” scene from “The Suitcase”—an episode in which they argue over what you can and cannot do on TV.

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In later seasons of the show, even that layer of metaphor has fallen away; the show has become much more explicit in enacting its own struggle to surpass the limitations of TV storytelling. In particular, the merger between Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and onetime rival agency Cutler, Gleason, and Chaough is a self-conscious solution to the problem of keeping Peggy on the show once she had naturally grown past the point of needing Don as a mentor and professional champion.

“Many of the show’s most triumphant moments come not from interpersonal dynamics, but the act of intellectual conception—being struck by writerly inspiration, often in a room full of people trying to come up with their own perfect idea.”

Don and Betty may have gotten divorced, but their relationship is effectively unchanged from what it was in Season 1—because to send her offstage is to deny Don his true moral foil. Will any of these characters ever change?

[Read the full text here, at WIRED]

Maybe not, but they’ll certainly keep trying, and stay painfully aware of their failures. Matthew Weiner and his staff threaten change, but it’s never real; they’re just daring us to confront what would happen if the status quo ever seriously shifted. And it’s all so artfully done that Mad Men more than justifies the level of Talmudic recap coverage it has historically received.

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“Indeed, many of today’s prestige shows feel like the creative efforts of people who watched ‘Mad Men’, ‘The Sopranos’, and ‘Breaking Bad’ and then tried to replicate them without understanding what actually made them so good.”

But at its core, that self-reflexivity is rooted in anxiety for the future—as well it should be. Because as it turns out, the end of Mad Men is not the end of TV, but rather the end of a particular era for the medium, one that has been repeatedly canonized in books like Brett Martin’s Difficult Men and Alan Sepinwall’s The Revolution was Televised. The Difficult Men narrative of “visionary” showrunners provides a picture of what Good TV is supposed to look like, and how it’s supposed to be made: by exacting geniuses like Don Draper. Read the rest of this entry »


Review of ‘Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men’ at the Museum of the Moving Image

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Marc Myers writes: When “Mad Men” returns to AMC on Sunday with the first of its final seven episodes, viewers will be wondering how ad-agency executive Don Draper ends the series—emotionally awakened or drifting down from his office window, as hinted by a falling silhouette in the show’s opening credits. For fans of the series’ 1960s wardrobe and sets, the more pressing question is how the show’s fashion and furnishings will evolve as its timeline inches past the moon landing and enters the shaggy, burnt-orange decay of 1970.

“Through the lens of series creator, producer and writer Matthew Weiner, the adult world of the 1960s is much more jaded and complex than the rosy, adolescent one recalled by many baby boomers who grew up then.”

The runaway popularity of “Mad Men” owes much to its dark story lines of personal demons, office power struggles and noirish character interactions with historical events. But from the start, in 2007, the series’ appeal has also been rooted in its richly detailed look that transports viewers back to an age of sleek office furniture, space-age design, meticulous grooming and colorful clothes. All are represented in “Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men” at the Museum of the Moving Image, an exhibit that celebrates both the show’s vision and visuals.

“The show is not a history lesson or intellectual exploration. It is entertainment based on tension, irony and storytelling that is closely related to today’s life.”

— Matthew Weiner, summarizing the show’s guiding principle

Through the lens of series creator, producer and writer Matthew Weiner, the adult world of the 1960s is much more jaded and complex than the rosy, adolescent one recalled by many baby boomers who grew up then. As the decade unfolds beginning in 1960, the show’s characters find themselves caught in a cultural riptide, with rock, civil rights and feminism changing the balance of power faster than they can adapt. Many turn to alcohol, drugs and serial affairs to ease the stress and hold on to the world they once knew.

(AP Photo/AMC Frank Ockenfels)

Staged in a winding series of rooms, the new exhibit sheds light on how ”Mad Men” was developed by Mr. Weiner and his writers and designers. The exhibit begins with a glass case of books that most influenced Mr. Weiner’s approach, including Helen Gurley Brown’s “Sex and the Single Girl,” the “Journals of John Cheever” and David Ogilvy’s “Ogilvy on Advertising.” The book display is followed by a full-blown re-creation of the room used by the “Mad Men” writing team, complete with their 1960s Danish modern teak conference table, 10 black leather executive chairs, and character-development cards on a wall board. Read the rest of this entry »


STEALTH MODE: Kiernan Shipka Says Keeping ‘Mad Men’ Secrets Has ‘Become Habit’

 writes: When you have a starring role on one of the biggest television shows in the world, people are going to try all kinds of dirty tricks to get you to drop hints about the new season.

[Mad Men returns to finish up its final season on April 5 at 10/9c on AMC]

Unfortunately for Mad Men fans everywhere, Kiernan Shipka is very good at keeping secrets. After spending seven years working on the show, keeping plot details tightly under wraps has become second nature to the super-stylish actress.

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Still, when we got the chance to catch up with Shipka before the final few episodes of Mad Men’s run premiere on April 5, we couldn’t help but try our luck at getting a few secrets out of her.

“Everyone kind of knows we can’t give anything away,” Shipka said apologetically. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Mad Men': The Uncensored, Epic, Never-Told Story Behind AMC’s Critical Darling

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In 2001, Matthew Weiner writes his first Mad Men script, which goes nowhere until 2005, when AMC decides to shop for its first original scripted series.

Matthew Weiner (creator) I finished the script and sent it to my agents. They didn’t read it for three or four months. (They’re not my agents anymore.) I was advised not to send it anywhere because that was at a time when there were big overall deals for comedy writers. People would pay for the anticipation of what your project would be, and actually having one was going to hurt you. I kept trying to get into HBO, but I never got a meeting. And I met with FX, which Kevin Reilly was running at that time. He talked to me about making it into a half‑hour. Then people started talking to me about a feature. It was my manager’s assistant who gave AMC the script. That’s who they were pawned off on.

Rob Sorcher (former executive vp programming and production, AMC) I’d relocated to the East Coast, and I’m working at this network, AMC, that has a collection of shit-ass movies. It’s like the lesser TCM, and I’m supposed to turn it into something. [What the network needed was] a show for cable operator retention. You want something that can’t be replicated elsewhere — like a Sopranos — because if you have a signature show, then you won’t be dropped [by cable operators]. So your strategy becomes: Let’s go for quality. But we have no money. So I hire Christina Wayne, who’s never done a thing in her life in terms of an executive.

Christina Wayne (former senior vp scripted programming, AMC) Years earlier, I’d wanted to option Revolutionary Road [Richard Yates‘ novel about suburbia in the 1960s]. But I was a nobody screenwriter, and [Yates’ estate] held out for bigger fish, which they got with Sam Mendes. So when I read [the Mad Men script], it resonated with me. This was a way to do Revolutionary Road, week in, week out. When we had lunch with Matt for the first time, I gave him the book. He called me after and said, “Thank God I’d never read this because I never would have written Mad Men.”

Weiner [My agents] were like, “You’re going to be coming off The Sopranos. I know you love this project, but don’t go [to AMC]. It’s really low status, no money, and even if they do it, they’ve never made a show before, and you don’t want to be their first one.”

Sorcher Every possible reason on paper why this should not work was cited: It’s super slow, it’s [about] advertising, everybody smokes, everybody’s unlikable and it’s period. We couldn’t sell it.

Jeremy Elice (former vp original programming, AMC) We sent it out looking for potential partners and got some nice responses, but generally speaking it was, “Yeah, not for us,” and “Who the f— is AMC?”

Wayne So we self-financed the whole thing ourselves. The pilot cost $3.3 million, and we did it in New York in the downtime when Sopranos was [on hiatus]. We used all of their crew.

JANUARY JONES AS … PEGGY?
Casting for the pilot begins in 2006. Weiner and AMC agree on hiring unknown actors.

Weiner There were famous people who came in to read. The guys from That ’70s Show came in — not Ashton, but the other guys. I’m still impressed by Danny Masterson. But at a certain point, it was working against them. My theory was that The Sopranos casting was great because you didn’t know who any of those people were.

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Jon Hamm (Don Draper) Some people went in once and got cast; there was a little more reticence with me. I was on the bottom of everyone’s list. The one person who was an early champion of mine was Matthew.

Weiner Back in [2006], there were no handsome leading men. It was not the style. Not that Jim Gandolfini‘s not handsome, but he’s not Jon Hamm. There are moments in time when it’s Dustin Hoffman and moments in time when it’s Robert Redford. It was a Dustin Hoffman era. People like me or Seth Rogen got the girl, and people likeBradley Cooper were standing on the side of the street being like, “Come on!”

Wayne Matt sent us two actors: Jon Hamm and Mariska Hargitay‘s husband,Peter Hermann. The quality of the that we were using sucked, and you couldn’t see how good-looking Jon Hamm was. We were like, “Really, this is who you think?” And Matt said, “Absolutely.” He’d been in the room, and he felt something with Jon. We had him come in again. We had to be sold, so we flew Jon to New York and took him for a drink at the Gansevoort hotel. He was nervous, but I knew that he had star potential. I whispered in his ear before he left, “You got the job.”

Elisabeth Moss (Peggy Olson) I was the first person to audition for Peggy. Matt showed us all our audition tapes at a gathering, and it’s hilarious because I don’t look anything like Peggy [in the tape]. I’m 23, blond, tan. I look like I just walked off of the beach.

John Slattery (Roger Sterling) I went in to read for Don; they wanted me to play Roger. Matt Weiner claims I was in a bad mood the whole [pilot]. I had a couple of scenes, but I wasn’t as emotionally invested as some of the people because there wasn’t that much of Roger in evidence yet. Being a selfish actor, I didn’t necessarily see the full potential in the beginning.

Christina Hendricks (Joan Holloway) I was up for another pilot, and I chose Mad Men. The [agency I was with] was like, “It’s on AMC, it’s a period piece, it’s never going to go. Are you crazy? You’re not going to make money for us …” I thought it was a little impatient of them. So I moved on.

January Jones (Betty Draper) I came in for Peggy twice. Matt said, “Well, there’s another role, but I don’t really know what’s going to happen with her.” He didn’t have any scenes for me, so he quickly wrote a couple.

Weiner It had been years since I wrote anything in the pilot. And all of sudden, I need a scene by tomorrow for a character who only has three lines.

Vincent Kartheiser (Pete Campbell) I only auditioned for Pete. My agents aren’t delusional enough to think that I’m a Don Draper.

Alison Brie (Trudy Campbell) I looked up a picture of Vincent Kartheiser and was like, “Oh my God. We kind of look like brother and sister. I could totally be his 1960s wife.” Couples kind of looked alike then.

Weiner Alison Brie was a big lesson because we couldn’t afford to make her a series regular. And we gambled [Community] wouldn’t happen. We were wrong.

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HOW DICK BECAME DON
Weiner shoots the pilot on location in New York in 2006, but AMC struggles initially to line up financing.

Sorcher Matt had an extremely clear vision for the show. We had only one or two notes that were key.

Wayne We said to Matt, “OK, this is a great show about advertising, but what are people going to talk about week in, week out? What’s the bigger story for Don?” He went off, and a few months later he came back and pitched the entire Dick Whitman/Don Draper story. We were mesmerized. Read the rest of this entry »


Don Draper on Creativity

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Jon Hamm Breaks Silence on Rehab: ‘Life Throws a Lot at You Sometimes’

Originally posted on TIME:

The last 24 hours haven’t been easy for Jon Hamm.

As the cast of Mad Men promotes the final season of their hit show (set to premiere April 5), the star has been forced to take his private struggle with alcohol addiction public after news broke Tuesday he recently completed a 30-day treatment program.

“Life throws a lot at you sometimes, and you have to deal with it as much as you can,” Hamm told Australia’s TV Week on Wednesday. “I’ve been very fortunate that throughout the most recent 24-hour period, I’ve had a lot of family and friends support me.”

And though it’s easy to draw parallels between Hamm and his troubled character Don Draper, the actor, 44, demurred to make a concrete connection between his personal life and onscreen work.

“Obviously there can be a lot of discussion about how much of this is related to…

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[PHOTO] Mad Men: Don & Peggy

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“For me, Peggy and Don will always be my favorite relationship on the show. I used to hear for so long, ‘Are they going to get together romantically or is it a father–daughter thing? Is it mentor–protégée? Are they enemies? Are they friends?’ It’s all of those things.”

— Elisabeth Moss


TV Guide Cover: Mad Men

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Did Vladimir Putin Pull a Don Draper?

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Despite Peskov’s best efforts, the theories about what could be behind Putin’s mysterious absence have continued to swirl

Russian President Vladimir Putin hasn’t been seen in public since March 5, and depending on whom you ask, he’s either dead, has had a stroke, has cancer, is being overthrown in a palace coup, or, contrary to his spokesperson’s denials Friday, has been out of the public eye because he has fathered a lovechild.

“Information that a child has been born to Vladimir Putin is not true,” Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Forbes Russia. “I am planning to appeal to people who have money to organize a competition for the best journalistic hoax,” he added.

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Speculation on Putin’s whereabouts began when he canceled a high-level trip to Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, and then several other meetings this week, including the signing of a treaty with South Ossetia and an appearance at a meeting of top brass at the FSB, Russia’s domestic intelligence service. Putin’s absence has sent the Russian Twitterverse and media into overdrive, sparking the trending hashtag  #ПутинУмер (Putin Died), as well as a cottage industry of theories — some absurd and others more believable believable — to explain what is keeping the usually omnipresent Russian president from the public eye.

Peskov, meanwhile, has been on the offensive, steadfastly denying the Russian rumormill — often with colorful details. After shooting down rumors about Putin’s ill-health earlier this week on the radio station Ekho Moskvy, Peskov added that “his handshake is so strong he breaks hands with it.”

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Yet despite Peskov’s best efforts, the theories about what could be behind Putin’s mysterious absence have continued to swirl. The Kremlin’s website has been posting photos of the Russian president attending meetings during his physical absence, but the Russian news outlet RBC investigated Putin’s schedule and found discrepancies. According to RBC, the meeting with the governor of the northwestern region of Karelia, reported on the official site as having taken place on March 11, had actually occurred a week earlier, and a Karelian website had actually already written about it on March 4. On Thursday, the Kremlin claimed that Putin spoke on the phone with  Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan. Sargsyan’s website issued the call with an identical transcript.

On Friday, the Kremlin issued three images showing Putin in a meeting with the head of the Supreme Court in Moscow on Friday. The state television channel, Rossiya 24, also aired video footage of the meeting. However, the dates of those photos have not been confirmed, and the footage have not been authenticated. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Sesame Street: Mad Men

And now eMC, the emotional movie channel, presents Mad Men. Mr. Draper is looking for solid ideas on the Happy Honey Bear account, ideas that are going to make him happy about honey.

 YouTube.


Mad Men: Advice from Roger Sterling

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Today’s Roger Sterling Moment

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Mad Men: Sterling Wisdom

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Here’s why Roger Sterling is the best character on ‘Mad Men’

The Butcher:

John-SlatteryRoger Sterling, Zen Master of Sloth, King of Hip, Captain of Cool, Soothsayer of Sly One-Liners, most underrated character on Mad Men, finally gets his due.

Originally posted on Inside TV:

[ew_image url=”http://img2.timeinc.net/ew/i/2013/08/13/John-Slattery.jpg” credit=”Michael Yarish/AMC” align=”left”]Mad Men is a show built almost entirely on the solid concrete foundation of its stellar character work. Sure, the dialogue is as sharp as a man in a grey flannel suit, and the metaphorical portents thrum like elevator winches—but when it comes down to it, Matthew Weiner’s dense, literary series rises and falls on the strength of the people inhabiting its world, particularly those scuttling down the corridors of Sterling Cooper Draper Price.

So naturally, when you see a headline like the one above, you might think, “No, dummy, obviously Don/Peggy/Sally/Joan/California Pete/Ginsberg’s nipple is the best character of Mad Men!” You wouldn’t necessarily be wrong. But while Ms. Olsen will always be series MVP to me, this past season belonged to Roger Sterling, SCDP’s preening cock-of-the-walk.

Roger has always been one of the show’s brightest spots, sashaying in with his half-inebriated insouciance and a fistful of sardonic one-liners. Roger’s self-ascribed lot…

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Design: Mad Men’s Timeless Style


Happy Travelers: Detail from 1958 American Airlines Ad

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Source:  tumblr – Roger Wilkerson, The Suburban Legend!


Don Draper’s Inferno

(AP Photo/AMC Frank Ockenfels)

For National Review OnlineThomas S. Hibbs writes: With the conclusion of the first half of season seven on Sunday, May 25, Matthew Weiner’s acclaimed AMC series Mad Men has only seven episodes left (which we won’t get to see until next spring).

“…it is not difficult to see in the show’s unmasking of the illusions of the self-made man a critique of the world of capitalist advertising with its construction of images of happiness…”

Main character Don Draper began this season at the nadir of his career and personal life. The previous season began with Don on a beach with second wife Megan, now an actress. Reading the opening of Dante’s Inferno, he intones: “Midway in our life’s journey, I went astray from the straight road and woke to find myself alone in a dark wood.” The book is a gift from Sylvia, a married neighbor with whom he is having a torrid affair but whom he tells at one point, “I want to stop doing this.” The despair in his voice indicates how incapable he is of freeing himself from something he knows is wrong.showsaboutnothing

[Order Thomas S. Hibbs‘ book Shows about Nothing: Nihilism in Popular Culture from Amazon]

Season six proceeded to portray a descent for Don, perhaps reminiscent of Dante’s journey into the depths of hell: progressive alienation from his new wife, a heart-wrenching scene in which his daughter Sally catches him in sexual congress with Sylvia, and his self-destruction in the middle of a business meeting in which he breaks down and tells clients about his childhood in a brothel. The last move put him on an indefinite leave. Unlike Dante, however, Don has no clear path and no Virgil as his guide.

“…But Mad Men also manages to capture something of the attraction of the life of the entrepreneur.”

The question of season seven is whether, like that of Dante, Don’s descent will be followed by an ascent or at least a return to form as a Manhattan master of the universe. In the concluding episode of the first half, Don finds himself facing loss on multiple fronts: the end of his marriage, as he and Megan realize they have been leading separate lives; and the imminent loss of his job — especially with the death of Bert Cooper, who had reluctantly continued to support Don’s presence at the firm. But the episode ends on a high note, with Don’s job and his connections to the longest-standing members of the firm restored. In a final note of whimsy, Don has a vision of the now dead Bert doing a song-and-dance routine of “The Best Things in Life Are Free.” Is this a sign that Don is coming unhinged or that he has found his Virgil? Read the rest of this entry »


[SPOILER Trigger Warning] The Mad Men Season Finale’s Magic Moment

Unless you’ve seen this week’s mid-season finale of Mad Men, close your eyes, don’t look.

Last week, Vulture laid down ten theories on how this half-season of Mad Men might end. Suffice it to say that none of us saw this coming:

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Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Inside ‘Mad Men’ Season 7, Episode 7 ‘Waterloo’: Recap

For Speakeasy – WSJ, ‘Mad Men’ Recapper Gwen Orel writes:

Moon landing! Moon landing! For everyone who wondered whether we’d see the moon landing, it’s all over “Waterloo”—the lead-up to it, where people worried about the astronauts, and the landing itself. The title “Waterloo” is made explicit by Bert in a conversation with Roger about Don’s attempt at a comeback.peggy-madmen

The episode looks at defeats and comebacks.

Ted takes Sunkist clients in a plane and, for kicks, cuts the engine. Jim and Pete yell at him over the phone about how Ted expressed a death-wish. Turns out that what Ted really wants is for Jim to buy him out, so he can leave advertising.

The Don comeback comes to a head after Lou storms in Jim’s office, furious that they didn’t get Commander cigarettes. Jim snipes at him that “you’re only a hired hand,” but then writes a letter with all the partners’ names on it, firing Don for his breach of contract meeting with Commander. Don is furious and stomps into Jim’s office, then shouts for Roger, Joan and Bert. There’s an impromptu partners’ meeting in he hall—Joan sends Harry away, reminding him he’s not a partner yet. Don says they should raise their hands if they want to play parliamentary procedure. Jim says he has Ted’s vote by proxy (we know he may not), but only he and Joan vote Don out. Pete, Bert, Roger and Don vote he stays. And though Joan says she’s tired of Don losing them money, she also tells Jim, “You shouldn’t have done that.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Robert Morse Singing ‘I Believe In You’ from ‘How to Succeed in Business…’ 1967

In honor of Morse’s magical musical final moments as Bert Cooper on Sunday night’s mid-season finale of Mad Men, Here’s Robert Morse the Broadway star, from half a century ago, singing the song he’ll always be identified with in the 1967 film version of “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying

YouTube


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