Tuesday, April 03, 2012

(I Can't Get No) Snap Crackle Pop

You know, at this point, I should know better than to challenge the historical accuracy of the 60s pop culture references on Mad Men.

The story so far: If you were around for last week's premiere episode, set in the spring of 1966, you may recall that it opened with a scene of a bunch of asshole copywriters at real life advertising agency Young & Rubicam dropping water balloons on Civil Rights protesters on the street below their Madison Avenue office.

Granted I was a kid at the time the episode was supposed to happen, but I didn't remember anything like it ever occurring in real life, and I lived in the New York City area in 1966.

But sure enough -- turns out the scene was written almost verbatim from a front-page New York Times story from the spring of that year.

More to the PowerPop point (i.e the mission statement of this blog), in last Sunday's episode, our anti-hero Don Draper goes to a 1966 Rolling Stones concert at Forest Hills Stadium, hoping to talk to Stones management (the late Allen Klein) about getting the band to do a TV spot for Heinz Baked Beans.

Draper (the great Jon Hamm, who directed the episode) finds himself in his first encounter with the youth culture, i.e., backstage with some teenaged Stones (proto-groupie) fans, and he tries to pick their brains. He also tells one of them --

-- that the Stones had done a cereal commercial in England three years earlier.

Now, I certainly remember a lot of '60s bands doing radio and TV spots -- for canned milkshakes, or Yardley makeup, etc. -- but the idea of the Stones doing something like that in 1963, before they broke in America, didn't sound right to me.

Goes to show what I know.

PowerPop to Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner: I will never second guess you again.

Amusing Postscript: In the aforementioned episode, the Stones blow Draper and his agency off; as Don leaves Forest Hills, somebody mentions that he wound up signing The Tradewinds for a commercial instead.

That would be these guys.



buzzbabyjesus said...

I believe that is Brian Jones only writing credit.

FD13NYC said...

Wow, didn't know about the Stones commercial, great find. Mad Men is a great show. The wife and I have been watching since the beginning, she works in advertising. Although as thorough as Mr. Weiner thinks he is, I did catch a faux pas in the fourth season Episode two Christmas Comes But Once A Year.

It comes in at 24:28 when someone is putting on records at the Christmas party. You will notice he's putting on a record on the ERIC (reissue) label which started in 1969. Not so thorough, seeing as this is supposed to be 1964 or 65.

Only someone who sold records for many years as I did would have noticed this. I wanted to write in but didn't have the time to wait for a maybe response.

Dave said...

I'll take the Trade Winds over Mad Men any day. Anders and Poncia's stuff seemed more than a little corny to me when released, but I was a jerk. "The Mind Excursion" sounds as fresh now as when it was released, and even the Innocence stuff sounds great, too.

And that doesn't even touch on their work with Phil Spector. Or that they were terrific singers. Anders and Poncia are criminally neglected.

pete said...

That's the best commercial jingle I've ever heard.

steve simels said...

I dunno -- I just can't picture Brian Jones sitting down to a huge heaping bowl of Rice Krispies.

Anonymous said...

I avoid tv or movies that "re-create" an era. They're too embarrassing or else try too hard to prove how hip they are ala the Rice Krispies commercial (that video was a meme a year or two ago. Maybe three. Time does fly these days).

I like to say, "Oh look, a movie about the 50's, made in the 70's!." Most things just can't escape the age in which they are created.

Mad Men made the news (a publicity stunt?) recently by using Dusty Springfield's "Look of Love" out of time; hers hadn't even been released.

steve simels said...

Actually, MAD MEN is so dead on about the era it's kind of scary. Which is pretty much the point of the show.

I was there, Charlie. Plus -- and ask any woman who's roughly the same age as Betty or Megan and you'll hear stuff that will curl your hair.

We've come a long way, but not even close to enough.