Mad Men Props (in your closet?)

Paul Morrone |

Mad Men was a TV series that aired on the AMC network that ran for seven seasons. The storyline was based on the main character, Don Draper, who was an advertising executive climbing the corporate ladder at a large New York City agency in the 1960’s. Don always had a cigarette in one hand and a drink in the other. A different woman was not too far away at any time whether he was married at the time or not. I loved the series not so much for the story line, but more so because I enjoyed the 1960’s era that the series took place in. Women were looked upon as sexual objects and were subservient pawns in the workforce, except for Peggy Olson who was trying to distance herself from that stereotype. There were episodes that referenced Vietnam, JFK, RFK, and Kent State, landing on the moon, Martin Luther King, racial clashes and numerous other volatile and historical topics from the 1960’s. What I loved most of all were the props that were used, the accepted behavior that would never be tolerated today and the clothes and hair styles for both the men and women.

The everyday props that were used in the office environment and in the homes brought back so many childhood memories. There was the rotary phone on the kitchen wall with the tangled cord. The electric typewriter and the push button intercom seemed so antiquated by today’s standards. The days of smoking in the office and on airplanes seems like a lifetime ago. In the office they smoked more than just cigarettes (after all, it was the 1960’s). The hairdos, mini-skirts and bell bottom pants on the women and the leisure suits, long side burns and slicked back hair jell on the men. What about phone booths?  Drinking alcohol in the office on a regular basis was not only an accepted practice but practically a required protocol. Again, the props always caught my attention, many of which we all have some stashed in a closet, attic or basement or the top shelf in a cabinet.

So look around and see I you have a Saltine canister like the one Betty Draper kept on her kitchen counter. You may use it to store nuts and bolts or spools of thread or whatever. Childhood flashback or what? There was the can of Maxwell House coffee with the “key” attached to the top of the can that you used to twist off the seal around the top. The plastic lid then sealed in the freshness. Ironically, some of the clothes may come back in style so keep them for now.

Watch any episode with a new eye and see how many times you say, “I remember that”. Next time you clean out your basement, closet or attic, you may find something and say…”this would be a great prop on Mad Men”.

Until the Next Toms take…