Tuesday, September 15, 2009

a new favorite thing to watch

Even if you do not watch or like this show please read the post because it has some history lessons included.

No foolin'!!

My friend Julie has got me hooked! She told me I needed to watch the DVDs of Mad M-n. She knew I loved the "swell" housewifey kitsch of the late 1950's and early 1960's and the fashions of that era as well. She was over the top kind and gave our family a gift subscription to that DVD thing called Ne---ix (you know the one I'm talking about) so I would be assured to order the 1st two seasons and get started watching. And watch I have done!!! The show holds my anticipation and interest with so many factors.

As a little girl, more specifically ever since I saw Darren Stevens (I prefer the FIRST Darren, myself) and Larry Tate on Bewitched, I thought that print advertising was a fascinating concept/subject/career. Maybe that is why I love to gather and sell print ads in my shops. Here and here. The old ones hold such nostalgia for me. Which reminds me, I have many more from the 1950's to list. Big ones from Life magazines.

Anyway, aren't Darren and Larry just a prototype for Roger and Don?

See if you agree...

Larry: white hair, older man, outspoken

Darren: dark hair, younger man, deep dark eyes, a thinker with a secret to hide (he is afraid people will find out his wife is a witch)

Roger: white hair, older man, outspoken

Don: dark hair, younger man, deep dark eyes, a thinker with a secret to hide (he is afraid people will find out about his past) * Shame on you! You thought I was going to say his wife was a witch or maybe that other word that is spelled the same but begins with a b. We'll get to Betty in a minute.

You have to admit the parallels are many. How about the drinking and smoking at the office? Or the "hired as eye candy" secretaries? The only difference is that it is Peggy coming up with the last minute, save the men's butts, "in a pinch" slogans instead of Samantha!

If you watch the special features on the DVD's (which is another reason DVDs are so great) you will see stuff that is actually educational. No kidding!

On one it told and showed the history of both suburban architecture and furniture trends in the mid century in relation to how the authentic sets were created for the show.

In another it was about clothing fashions and hairstyles of the era and how Betty was made to look Grace Kelly like. It also said how it was important for the actresses on the show to wear authentic undergarments from that time period as it made them carry themselves and act like early 1960's women!! Did you know that all business men wore hats as a staple garment; as standard as their grey flannel suit with skinny tie? That is, until president Kennedy stood up to give his inaugural speech and left his hat on his chair behind him. That is focused on as a turning point when men as a society stopped wearing hats and hat sales for men declined (although pill box hat sales for women increased.)

Still another talked about how when men came back from the war and were going to college on the GI Bill, women were made to feel they should leave college to give their seat in class to the men, and get out of the work force also for the men's sake. That's when advertising and the general opinion of society made women feel like they should be happy being domestic and embrace their role as wife and mother, and take pride in their Frigidaire and matching place settings on the ironed linen table cloth as the sun streams in through their spotless windows. Ever notice how the advertising from that era for anything household includes a very dressed up lady with a big smile on her face? Honestly, how many of you dress up in a girdle and full skirt with cinched in waist, heels and pearls to mop your floors or clean the toilet?!!!

Now on to Betty. I love to look at the clothing. I studied fashion history and textile history. I worked for 13 years in fashion retail. I had my own sewing business for many years after that. I am fascinated by all things fabric. Here's a secret about me= I have never used a pattern to sew anything. Nope. Not me. They frustrate me. I can figure out how to make most things by using a tape measure and my imagination. Maybe that's why I really love to study the images on old pattern envelopes. That's how I did my custom order dress business. Honest!

Don't you just love this polka dotty dress with the sashes? I made my wedding dress and my bride's maids dresses, a baptism gown which both my girls wore, and first communion dresses for each of my girls here and here (yes, without patterns). My bride's maids wore wide sashes of a deep wine colored satin.

Ok ok, but back to Mad Men and all things mid century. I am enjoying this time watching the shows. I have one more disc left to watch of season 2 and then I have to wait until the season 3 discs are available to be sent. Darn!

In the meantime, here is an image from my pattern envelope ephemera stash for you to use for your art--in honor of Betty's polka dotty dress! Enjoy!!


Mary Isabella and Kiley too! said...

Good post. Have a great weekend...m.

julie (jane's apron) said...

great post...so many things I didn't know about the "background" of Mad Men.