Way back at the beginning of this blog, I quoted George Packer bitching about the IBM anachronism; the show uses the IBM Selectric introduced in 1961. Now, I have always thought it was minor, because let’s face it, “Anachronisms” is our least-used category. On the other hand, Matt Weiner is always saying what a persnickity “fetishist” he is, so it’s worth questioning.
Well, Weiner answers it on the commentary for Smoke Gets In Your Eyes. For those of you who don’t have the DVDs (and why is that, anyway?), here’s what he says.
The error is, more or less, on purpose. They could get the 1960 typewriters, but not enough of them. And they didn’t work. And they had manual carriage returns. So faking that they work, and doing the sound editing to make them sound as if they worked, was all too much. The coordination of sound editing with physical carriage returning (and he didn’t say so but I know for a fact that non-working manual returns are at high risk of flying across the frickin room).
So he was able to get enough 1961 Selectrics, and they were less than 12 months out of date, and if they didn’t work you couldn’t see they didn’t work, and life was SO. MUCH. BETTER.
Matt, I forgive you.