Mad Men is an American period drama television series created by Matthew Weiner and produced by Lionsgate Television. The series premiered on July 19, 2007, on the cable network AMC. After seven seasons and 92 episodes, Mad Men’s final episode aired on May 17, 2015.
1. According to Jon Hamm, the production’s pursuit of historical accuracy is such that series researchers will insist on knowing weather conditions, news items, and popular culture for a particular period related to the script’s time frame.
2. The actors do not smoke real cigarettes. They smoke Ecstacy herbal cigarettes, which are tobacco and nicotine free. Show creator Matthew Weiner said in a New York Times article, “You don’t want actors smoking real cigarettes. They get agitated and nervous. I’ve been on sets where people throw up, they’ve smoked so much.” When asked what it’s like to smoke herbal cigarettes, Jon Hamm (who plays Don Draper) told Vulture, “Terrible. They taste like a mixture between pot and soap.”
3. Jon Hamm is the only actor to appear in every episode.
4. At a 2013 Q&A session at the Paley Center for Media, Matthew Weiner said that he had already told his wife and a few writers about how he plans to end the whole series. He also said that “he’s been told it’s a disaster, but he’s going with it [anyway].”
5. Nearly a year elapsed between the filming of the pilot, Mad Men: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (2007) and the second episode, Mad Men: Ladies Room (2007).
6. Talia Balsam, John Slattery’s wife, portrays his character’s former wife in the series.
7. There is no improvisation on set. The scripts are followed verbatim, and any possible change is discussed with Matthew Weiner first.
8. John Slattery auditioned for the role of Don Draper before being asked to play Roger Sterling.
9. Jon Hamm confirmed that the beverages consumed on the show are non-alcoholic, pointing out that the shooting schedule is actually very hectic and that he would never drink during the day on camera or off.
10. In 2012, costume designer Janie Bryant told Slate magazine that she always repeats one of Peggy’s costumes from the previous season during the next season’s premiere. Bryant said that she “loves” that tradition for Peggy because “I think that this all is really based in reality. That’s what we would do in real life: We repeat our clothes.”
11. When Jon Hamm was in the auditioning stages for Don Draper, creator Matt Weiner guessed that Hamm, like Don, was not raised by his own parents. In real life, Hamm’s mother died of colon cancer when he was 10, after which he largely lived with his grandmother. In addition, when Hamm was 20 his father also passed away.
12. Matthew Weiner shot the pilot on the hiatus between the two parts of season 6 of The Sopranos, and he used a lot of the crew from the HBO show to do it. David Chase agreed to help him in
13. January Jones and Christina Hendricks both made their acting debut in the same work, the television film Sorority (1999), eight years before being reunited on the show.
14. The titles pay homage to graphic designer Saul Bass’s skyscraper-filled opening titles for Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest (1959) and falling man movie poster for Vertigo (1958); Weiner has listed Hitchcock as a major influence on the visual style of the series.
15. Glen, the neighbor’s young son who forms a connection with Betty, is portrayed by Marten Holden Weiner, the son of series creator Matthew Weiner.
16. The series spans ten years; the pilot takes place around March of 1960. The series finale occurs in October 1970.
17. Mad Men counts Barack Obama among its fans. Obama sent a fan letter to Matthew Weiner following Season 3, telling him how much he enjoys the show. A stunned and flattered Weiner keeps the letter from Obama in a frame on the wall outside of his office.
18. At of the start of the fifth season, the role of Robert “Bobby” Draper has been played by four different child actors. Bobby was originally played by Maxwell Huckabee; Huckabee was replaced with Aaron Hart toward the end of the first season; Hart was replaced with Jared Gilmore by the start of the third season; and Gilmore was replaced with Mason Vale Cotton starting with season five. It is particularly notable that Hart was replaced since he is the youngest actor ever to win a SAG Award (which he won for playing Bobby Draper). By contrast, the oldest Draper child, Sally, has been played by the same actress, Kiernan Shipka, since the start of the show. Shipka was seven years old when her first “Mad Men” episode aired.
19. It was entirely AMC’s decision to split the final season in two blocks, a strategy that also proved extremely successful with the final season of Breaking Bad.
20. Very unusual on a TV-show, almost no information is provided for the press during the shooting. This includes casting or storylines. The main cast is not allowed to talk about it and any guest actor signs a contract not to tell anybody he/she is working on the show. Matthew Weiner and his team oversee and decide how the information is given and how it is released.
21. During a 2013 interview in the New York Times Magazine, the interviewer, Andrew Goldman, asked Elisabeth Moss (who plays Peggy) if she thought the Don-Peggy relationship would “ever be consummated, given the obvious sexual tension between them.” Moss’s reply was, “I hope not. Anyone who sleeps with Don does not have a long road ahead of them. It’s like the kiss of death to sleep with Don. I really think it would be jumping the shark to do that.”
22. On March 23rd, 2015 Jon Hamm released a statement admitting that he, like his character of Don Draper, had developed an alcohol addiction, and he had just completed a 30 day rehabilitation.
23. According to January Jones, she had some doubts about taking the role because she hadn’t had much to do on the first episodes, but she decided to trust her instincts that Betty would have rich plots coming up.
24. Character Ken Cosgrove was likely based in part on the novelist/poet James Dickey, who worked in advertising in the 1960s while publishing poems in The New Yorker and other prominent magazines.
25. Matthew Weiner wrote the pilot of Mad Men in 1999 while working on the Ted Danson sitcom Becker (1998). In 2002, Weiner sent the pilot as a writing sample to David Chase, who created Sopranos (1999).
26. The term “Mad Men” comes from Madison Ave, the street in New York where the American advertising industry is centered.
27. When Don Draper appeared wearing sunglasses in season 3, the frames became one of the most sought-after items of the holiday season, sparking an intense debate as to whether they were made by Randolph Engineering or American Optical, as both companies manufactured a nearly identical frame. Many mens’ fashion magazines, such as GQ, cited Randolph Engineering as the manufacturer, due to the company’s positive reputation in the fashion industry, and criticized viewers who purchased American Optical frames (which are relatively inexpensive and manufactured for the US Military) as “cheapskates.” However, Randolph Engineering did not begin manufacturing their square aviator until the 1970s; given the show’s period authenticity and Matthew Weiner’s devotion to historical accuracy, this means that Don’s frames are, in fact, the American Optical Aviator, which was in manufacture during the 1960s.
28. January Jones auditioned twice for the role of Peggy Olson before Matthew Weiner asked her to read for the part of Betty Draper instead, despite the fact that at that point the character was barely in the pilot and he had no plans of fleshing her out.
29. Jessica Pare auditioned for the roles of Rachel Menken and Jane Siegel before being cast as Megan Calvet.
30. McCann Erickson, an agency that is mentioned by name over the course of the series and then plays a large role in the ongoing plot during the final two seasons is an actual advertising agency. The company as it still exists (as of 2015) was formed in 1930 from the merger of the Erickson Company and the H. K. McCann Company. The agency’s website states that they operate “180 offices in more than 120 countries.”
31. Shortly before the show premiered, Matthew Weiner got worried when he heard the news that an adaptation of Richard Yates’s Revolutionary Road was going to be shot. The novel and the show share some important thematic, plot, and setting elements, and Weiner feared that everyone would complain about him copying Yates’s traits. The irony was that when Revolutionary Road premiered in 2008, Mad Men had already aired two seasons, so people actually accused Sam Mendes’s movie of looking too much like Mad Men.
32. Danny Masterson and Topher Grace were considered for the role of Pete Campbell.
33. Julia Ormond, who guest-stars as Marie Calvet, was such an ardent fan of the show that she once ended a long-term relationship with someone when he watched a new episode of Mad Men without her.
34. Creator Matthew Weiner thought Jon Hamm was right for the role of Don Draper early on in the audition process, however, executives were not so sure and the actor was forced to audition numerous times to get the role.
35. In 2008, this series and Damages (2007) became the first basic-cable shows nominated in the best drama series category at the Emmys.
36. According to Matthew Weiner, HBO would have greenlighted Mad Men if David Chase had come on board as co-showrunner with Weiner.
37. Creator Matthew Weiner directed every season’s finale, all the way up to the series finale.
38. Sally’s teacher is first introduced on the show dancing around a maypole with her students. The teacher character is named Suzanne Farrell, after one of the most famous American ballerinas of the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s.
39. With the exception of Talia Balsam, who Matthew Weiner knew from his time on The Sopranos and who is married to John Slattery, every single actor that appeared on the show auditioned for his or her part.
40. Christina Hendricks originally auditioned to play Midge Daniels.
41. A number of Mad Men’s regular actors are former child actors who once played the children of popular main characters in beloved 1990s TV shows. For example, from 1990-1994, Jay R. Ferguson (Stan Rizzo) played the child of Burt Reynolds’s character on Evening Shade; starting when he was 8 years old, Trevor Einhorn (John Mathis) played the son of Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) throughout the run of the sitcom Frasier; on Angel, Vincent Kartheiser (Pete) played the son of the eponymous vampire (David Boreanaz); and Elisabeth Moss played the youngest daughter of President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) on The West Wing.
42. Seasons 5, 6 and 7 were greenlighted simultaneously, as part of the deal Matthew Weiner made with AMC during their famous fallout on 2010/2011, which delayed the production for more than a year.
43. During a March 2015 interview with Matt Zoller Seitz, Matthew Weiner got a question from the audience about why Weiner chose the name “Whitman” as Don’s birth name (specifically, whether it was a reference to the poet Walt Whitman). Weiner said that the choice of Whitman had nothing to do with Walt Whitman; rather, it was meant to be a contraction of “white man.”
44. In June 2016, after he was already the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump’s campaign filed its monthly Federal Election Commission financial disclosure report for May. The report showed that the campaign had made four payments (adding up to $35,000.00) to a New Hampshire company for “web advertising”; the name provided on the FEC report for this company was “Draper Sterling.” An investigation by Judd Legum at the website Think Progress found a money trail leading to strong evidence that this entity was a front run by Trump field operatives. Think Progress also clarified, “Draper and Sterling, of course, are the fictional names of the two lead characters in Mad Men, the hit AMC show about advertising.”
45. Sarah Silverman was offered an audition for the role of Rachel Menken but turned down the offer because she was starring in _The Sarah Silverman Program (2007)_. Silverman was recommended for the role by Jon Hamm, who had previously guest starred on The Sarah Silverman Program.
46. The monolithic facade of Sterling Cooper’s building is the same used for the UBS tower in Το δίκτυο (1976)
47. Julia Ormond, who plays Megan Draper’s French mother, is actually British. She was born in Surrey and went to a private school.
48. Both actors portraying the principal partners at the Sterling and Cooper advertising agency – John Slattery (Roger Sterling) and Robert Morse (Bertram Cooper) – hail from Newton, Massachusetts.
49. The little ball-shaped glasses often used by Draper and colleagues are a design known since at least the 1950s as “roly poly” tumblers. The band of metal plating along the rim, an innovative accent introduced by artist Dorothy Carpenter Thorpe, made the design even more popular (and much-copied) through the 1960s and beyond. Sets of these made ideal business gifts, as the bands (made of silver, chrome, platinum, or even gold) could be custom-stenciled with initials, company logos or other business-related graphics. Draper’s glasses appear to have platinum bands.
50. Rob Huebel auditioned for the role of Don Draper.
51. John Slattery (Roger Sterling) and Jessica Paré (Megan Draper) previously played father and daughter on the 2004 series ‘Jack and Bobby’.
During his March 2015 discussion with Matt Zoller Seitz at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, Matthew Weiner refuted the early and ongoing fan theory that Don Draper is a secretly Jewish man who is passing as a WASP. Weiner said that when he first heard this fan theory it took him by complete surprise; he had hoped that it would be answered definitively for viewers by the episode “The Hobo Code,” which shows Don being brought up by a stepmother who was (in Weiner’s words) a “Holy Roller” (meaning that she was a demonstrative evangelical protestant), but even that does not seem to have quelled the theory for some fans.
52. Phil Abraham and Matthew Weiner are the only people who directed episodes in every season, including the two parts of season 7. Weiner is the only writer who wrote episodes every season.
53. Both John Slattery (Roger Sterling) and Mark Moses (Herman ‘Duck’ Phillips) appear on the ABC show Desperate Housewives, as Victor Lang and Paul Young respectively.
54.Robert Morse is the oldest regular cast member on the show. He was 75 years old when the pilot was shot and 84 for the finale.
55. In Yiddish; Utz means – To goad, to needle. Comedian Jimmy Barrett does just that to Mrs. Utz during shooting the Utz Potato Commercial shoot.
56. According to Jon Hamm, actor Thomas Jane was originally sought for the role of Don Draper but the AMC team were informed that Jane “doesn’t do television”.
57. Peter Hermann was considered for the role of Don Draper.
58. At least seven of the actors (possibly more) who appear on _”Mad Men” (2007)_ have appeared on Νοικοκυρές σε απόγνωση (2004) at one time or another. They are Kevin Rahm, John Slattery, Mark Moses, Julie McNiven, Anne Dudek, Joel Murray, and Christine Estabrook. Mark Moses had a major role throughout most of that series, while John Slattery, Kevin Rahm and Christine Estabrook had important supporting roles for one or two seasons.
59. Stan Rizzo has a very large poster of a man with an eyepatch hanging over his bed. This man is Moshe Dayan (1915-1981), the Israeli military leader who became a famous pop-cultural icon during the late 1960s after his role in 1967’s Six Day War. During a 2015 Washington Post interview, showrunner Matthew Weiner elaborated on why Stan would have a poster of Dayan in his home: “I think that despite anti-Semitism, that the Israeli victories in the late Sixties were very inspiring to the American public. And those characters like Moshe Dayan were completely heroic. For being outnumbered, for being smarter, for winning against all odds.”