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« Doctor Hasslebachers secret defense | Main | Another view from my office »


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I saw these commercials a little differently. But I am pretty old, and my parents, who informed my early sensibilities, were born in the early teens of the last century. I just instantly assumed the first guy was really at hunting camp, he is not only holding a gun (could not see well enough to see what sort) but he has a whole rack in the back. His pants are naturally tucked into his boots because those are *bird dogs*, sonny. It be wet out there! The gun had ought be a shotgun but I can't find my glasses.

Used to be many guys went to hunting camp, or deer camp. Ladies only allowed if they dance on the table I was always told. Not so much anymore, not since last 20 years anyway, there are no cheap bits of land in the countryside around here now and they tax 2nd homes differently - hunting camps are for the rich.

As for the woman, she is not in mourning, she is just nicely dressed for the street. My mother did say that "a good blue" might be nicer than black, but she was very prudish and thought black was too sexy unless your husband died and you needed the black. ?? He can smoke it in front of her because men can do whatever they damn well please - it's his office! She is clearly some kind of supplicant, she can just deal with it. Real business would have been carried on by her husband.

I did get a smile out of the commercial having to tell people to pull the strip to open it though. Remember way back when when you could open a cd that way?

The last one plain states cigars = sexy. Ernie's joke is that every eye *will* remain glued to the screen due to the extremely (!!) sexy nature of that changing screen and what might be behind it. A naked woman! Let's hope the screen tips over! Please don't let it be a giant cigar back there, let's hope it's a naked woman holding a cigar! Ah, it's Ernie, ho ho, tension released. Between the 2 ideas, this is commercial-hood personified. Dutch Masters gave him a raise that day.

Speaking of uniforms, didn't chinos start as guys on the GI bill wearing their old uniform pants to college because the nice uniforms were the best pants they had?

Thanks for the memories (kinda). I have never watched Mad Men, I can never decide if I don't because I am afraid it won't be realistic and will disappoint me, or whether it is just too realistic and that's kind of hard to take as well.


Jeez sorry, I was just yapping away and didn't realize how long that was. Didn't mean to leave my own blog post!

mac macgillicuddy

Ok, someone has to say it, so I'll be the first:

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.


My vote is with Muddy.

On the zoom, I see a man wearing a plaid hunting shirt. His pants are bloused, tucked into his boots, which looks military but was also common for hunting in 1957 and may still be.

He's at home in his "den", which most suburban houses had back then. It's just before hunting season and he's wearing his hunting clothes like a kid trying out his Halloween costume the day before. He's checking out his shotgun, a classy side-by-side double barrel pheasant gun. The dogs are setters, used to locate pheasants, which live in the brambles where you might want to blouse your pants.

What looks to you like fetishistically holding his shotgun looks to me like either a guy who is not used to holding shotguns doing his best, or a guy who happened to be a little awkward on that take.

He doesn't have to offer the woman a smoke because like most normal woman she's already got one going. It's balanced on the ashtray next to her chair, one of three ashtrays on his desk. She's smoking either one of her own cork-tipped Herbert Tarytons or an Old Gold from the glass cigarette tray he nudged toward her as she sat down.

What you see as ten years of extra age I see as a normal dollop of Brylcreem.

I only ever saw a brief glimpse of the Kovaks show, visiting a friend of my dad when I was about 10. It was the start of the show, and the camera fixed on an orchestra. It moved to a closeup of the kettle-drummer's hands over the drum. When the drum part came, the drumsticks went down through the drum-skin, which turned out to be the surface of a drum full of oatmeal mush. The drummer reached down into the mush and pulled up a couple of handfuls, letting it dribble through his fingers.

That might help explain the second clip-- a trademark Ernie Kovaks non-sequitur. Dutch Masters lets me do my own ads. You're expecting to see a lady in her corset, but it's Ernie in his BVD's. As a twist within the twist, he may have been undressing a box of cigars.

In the Mad Men episodes I saw, from the first two seasons, it seemed to me that one of the themes was that Draper was extra sensitive to his children's feelings in reaction to the way he had been treated as a child.

Most WW II vets never saw combat, and most of them were proud to have participated in a great military campaign. Like all boys they had reinvented themselves somewhere around draft age, and a lot of them did it without the GI Bill. Of course doing it in uniform of GI dungarees far away from home intensified it.

It's reasonable to suspect that whoever wrote Don Draper had him assume the dead man's identity as a metaphor for his generation's transformation. If you've been in the 60's and can see all that Mad Men got laughably wrong, over-reaching a little on the metaphor doesn't seem surprising.

Hey, I can see how that riffing on a theme thing might be fun.


mac, I'm glad you said it because I forgot to and it had to be said.

Muddy, don't worry. I'm glad you took the time to leave the comment. Good points and both you and B'hommad answered some of my questions. And B'hommad, thanks for the riff.

One other point that should have occurred to me. Another reason I can't see the ad the way people at the time would have seen it is that my TV watching eyes were trained by color television. Even after a thousand black and white movies and millions of hours of Dick Van Dyke re-runs, I probably still see black and white as just shades of gray. As muddy points out, the woman's dress might have been dark blue and for all I know the active man's shirt might have been red or yellow or some other very unmilitary color. I wonder if audiences' imaginations back then were fine-tuned so that they "saw" colors that I don't see. But maybe it's also the case that because I saw the shirt as a uniform I "saw" it as being brown or olive drab, and if I'd seen it as a plaid hunting shirt I'd have "seen" it as red.


Now that there's less risk of pulling the thread off topic with this, let me point out that the first of the two voices heard during the first DM commercial spot [also heard again at the end of the same spot] is legendary voice actor Paul Frees:

You remember Boris Badenov, but how about John Beresford Tipton?

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