Jun 172010
 

Before it got eaten by the Giant Server Crash of Doom, there was a great post on BoK by Roberta (?) about some holes in the timeline determining when Dick Whitman (DickDon) went off to fight in Korea and switched his dog tags with the original Don Draper (Real!Don!) and how old Adam and Don are actually supposed to be.   I came late to this post and appended a long comment adding my own embellishments, and even if Roberta’s old post gets restored, the comments probably won’t be.  So, being the ego monster that I am, I thought I’d republish what I said (or at least can remember) here.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I love brain teasers.  I like (and I’m actually good at) those LSAT-type questions like, “There are six seats at the table, one is at the head of the table,  Graham can never sit at the head of the table,  Graham must always be to Jim’s left,  Jim and Karen must always have someone sitting in between them, so how many are drinking tea?”

But in trying to piece together Don’s flashback sequences and line them up with the present, all I get is a headache.  Usually this show is impeccable when it comes to putting all the historically-related pieces together, but unless I’m missing something, these pieces just…don’t…fit.

Now, I’m going strictly from what made it to air, because if you take into consideration little doodads like, “AMC’s official site said Adam was supposed to be 25,” you’ll have to take to your bed with a bag of frozen succotash plastered to your forehead. This should not happen to a bag of succotash — or, for that matter, to your trigeminal nerve.  So here goes:

These are all from S1 episodes, taking place in 1960.

From 5G:

– Adam tells Don that he knew DickDon was still alive, because when he was 8 years old he spotted DickDon on the train coming back from Korea that allegedly had DickDon’s coffin in it (but didn’t because DickDon, unbeknownst to anyone yet,  switched the tags).  This means Adam is now…18 years old?  Boy, he sure doesn’t look (or, for that matter, sound) that young, does he?  Sorry I don’t have audio for this post, but here’s a photo.

From Babylon:

– In the flashback to Adam’s birth, a prepubescent DickDon denies that Adam is his “brother.”  Uncle Mac tells him, “Of course he is, you’ve got the same daddy.”  This may or may not be true, but in order for Uncle Mac to make that statement and have anyone believe it (much less for Adam to still believe it in adulthood),  it must be physically plausible that they are both Archie’s sons.  Therefore, Adam has to have been born within 9 months of Archie Whitman’s death (give or take a few weeks).

From Long Weekend:

– Don tells Rachel that his father died when DickDon was 10 years old.  This means he was around 11 years old when Adam was born.  So Don is now…29?  He sure doesn’t look that young…or sound it.  (Do you and your melting succotash notice a theme here?)

From Nixon vs. Kennedy:

– Pete, who has intercepted the box of photos Adam sent Don before hanging himself, tells Don he has done his research, and knows that Real!Don! died in 1950 and that Don is an impostor.

– In flashback to what Adam was talking about in 5G, we are shown Adam (who does indeed appear to be 8 years old) trying in vain to convince Uncle Mac and Abigail that it really is DickDon on the train.

– One of the photos in the box Adam sent Don before hanging himself was of himself on a horse as a child with a young adult DickDon standing alongside him.  The back of the photo has “Adam and Dick, 1944” written on it.  However, Adam looks not much younger than age he was in the NvK flashback, which was supposed to take place 6 years later.

And then what happens at the beginning of S2, in For Those Who Think Young, when we find out that Don is 36 in February 1962?  That would make him 34 or 35 at the time of 5G, right?

So if he’s 34 or 35, then Adam is 23 or 24, and that means he would have had to be 13 or 14 when he saw DickDon on the train, not 8.  In fact, the entire mess could have been salvaged by changing that one little detail, Adam’s age when he spotted DickDon on the train.  Then the photo of “Adam and Dick, 1944” would actually have made sense, instead of making me think, “Zuh?  That little boy on the horse is 2 years old?  What is he, some one-in-a-billion genetic fluke who looks 7?”  (And we’ve seen both sides of that photo over and over again, in multiple episodes, up to and including some in S3, so it’s no accident.)

And all that is without getting into the issue of whether Don has added a few years to his age so that his theft of the identity of the considerably-older Real!Don! would be less likely to raise suspicion.

Nixon vs. Kennedy, photo of Don/Dick during Korean War

But even if we bought that both Adam and Don are younger than they look because of their hardscrabble upbringing (and Don’s subsequent hard living), that doesn’t explain the fact that DickDon doesn’t look 19 in the Korea flashbacks (or sound it, even with the digital voice altering). Or that he doesn’t look 13 in the “Adam and Dick, 1944” photo (especially considering that he would have been only 2 years older than, and had markedly different facial features from, that kid we saw at Adam’s birth with the sad bowl haircut!).  Or that Adam only aged about a year between 1944 and 1950.  Oy.

In the immortal words of George Clinton, “NO COMPUTE.”

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  62 Responses to “The Real, Live, True, Unofficial, Headache-Inducing Don/Dick/Adam/Korea Timeline Post”

  1. Yeah. That was me.

    This is amazing. Made my head hurt. We need charts and graphs, but it won't help.

    And I pretty much think that Adam and Dick are not brothers. That Adam is Mack's–maybe that was one more mistake, but that's how it hits me. Raised as brothers still counts, relationshipwise. But I think it was to protect Abigail's reputation, who "took up with" Mack right after Dick's father was killed.

  2. Roberta, the fact that they intentionally cast someone who looks nothing like Don or his father makes me think you are right.

  3. Also the fact that Adam looks and sounds "older" that an 18 or 19 year old: it always struck me how much "older" young people in the movies of the 1940s looked compared with their counterparts today. Maybe it was the more formal clothing (suits on teenage boys a la Mickey Rooney as Andy Hardy); maybe it was the times in which they grew up.

    It always gives me a giggle when I watch a movie called "Heaven Can Wait" with Don Ameche and Gene Tierney because near the end of the movie they are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary, which would put them around mid to late 40s in age but their hair is silver to white and they look – to my eyes – likek they're pushing 70, not 50. I definitely look younger at 58 than my mother did at the same age, so the "40 is the new 30" effect may be part of it.

    That said, I don't do timelines; they're too much like those word problems we used to get in school about two trains leaving from opposite coasts at the same time at diferent speeds and when will they pass each other in Wichita KS? My response always echoed Bert Cooper's: who cares?

  4. I don't truly care, I suppose, but it is a rare bit of sloppiness from a writing staff that is usually so spot on. As was stated above, it seems like it could have been relatively easy to have avoided this kind of blatant error. If Adam had been 13 at the train that day DickDon rolled into and out of town, there would have been no issues with time lines and ages. As it stands, though, neither Adam nor Don's ages make any sense, especially Don's, who states his age in "For Those Who Think Young." Even if we make the assumption that Dick could be younger than Don, it still doesn't make a lot of sense.

    That said, I don't spend a whole lot of time thinking about it! The show is so fantastic in every other way, it's easy to just not sweat the small stuff.

  5. Roberta, the fact that they intentionally cast someone who looks nothing like Don or his father makes me think you are right.

    Funny thing is, Adam doesn't even look like Abigail, although obviously he is her child. The only person Adam DOES resemble is Uncle Mack. I'm assuming the casting was intentional on that score.

    I always figured it was exactly what Roberta said – Adam is Uncle Mack's child, born soon enough after Archie died to be passed off in polite company as Archie's. I wonder if that ever occurred to Dick? Not that it would really have mattered.

    I gave up on the timeline quite a while back — seems to be obviously a plot point that the writers never thought through before they started adding conflicting details into various episodes. And now it's just too late to try to reconcile all of it. Unless Matt W reveals at some point that the whole childhood and Korea thing was just another lie! Or a dream! I hope he doesn't feel the need to resolve the timeline dilemma with some ridiculous Dallas-like plot twist.

    I'm starting to get excited about S4. (Have tried hard not to think about it all year.)

    And I've made two more MM converts this week! A client, who's now trying to catch up before S4 (shes only on 1.06) and a stranger on a plane who watched 3 S1 episodes on my laptop with me while we were delayed yesterday.

  6. that doesn’t explain the fact that DickDon doesn’t look 19 in the Korea flashbacks (or sound it, even with the digital voice altering).

    One more thought about the post:

    It's always been a little nitpick of mine that Dick/Don looked much too old for the Korea scenes, no matter what age you think he was supposed to be. I suppose they just didn't want to go to the trouble of casting a late-teen / early-twenties Dick, so they had Jon Hamm do the scenes. But he was much too mature both in his looks and his demeanor to pull it off. He really didn't have the "young, scared rube fallen off the back of the turnip truck" presence to make those scenes work for me. A rare MM mis-step in my book.

  7. I always thought that Adam is not really Dick/Don's brother;that "Uncle" Mac told him that so that no more questions would be asked. Dick/Don hated his family so much that I doubt he would have done the math or cared to.

  8. I thought when Dick assumed Don's identity in Korea, he then assumed Don's birthdate because of Army records although he's actually several years younger. The actor cast as Real Don did look older than Jon Hamm.

    During Episode 1 of Season 3, Dickie-Don has the flashbacks of his birth while warming milk for Betty because it's his real birthday and on the business trip he says "It's my birthday" to Shelly the stewardess in the hotel hallway.

    But no one other than Adam — and maybe Anna Draper, since he trusts her — knew Dick's real birthday and age. He is obligated to celebrate RealDon's birthday with his family because that's his "legal" birthdate in his faux identity.

    Idea for a Saturday Night Live skit for a future Jon Hamm appearance — "Real Life with Don Draper" where he tutors viewers on identity theft or integration into the Witness Protection Program.

  9. When Betty opened the shoebox, she held up 2 sets of dog tags — if someone can freeze-frame and zoom that image, you MIGHT be able to see the birthdates on them, unless I'm wrong about dog tags having birthdates. I thought my dad's WWII ones did but I don't have those anymore.

    BTW, 2 sets of dog tags in the shoebox makes no sense because Dick's dog tags should have gone home with Real Don's body, as part of officially identifying his body — that's why dog tags exist — and as a memento for Dick's family. And when Dick-Don was in the Army hospital, someone would surely have noticed if he had TWO sets of dog tags in his possessions, right?

  10. Yeah, the timeline is complete whackadoodle. Not only is Don/Dick/Adam 's messed up, but so is Betty's. She announces she's 28 in 1960 and has a daughter who turned six in April or May of the same year. So Sally's born spring of '54, conceived late summer of 1953? But wait, Betty graduated college then spent time modeling in New York and Italy, having spent at least enough time as a single girl in New York to have had a party-girl roommate, and all the fun that entails, and also enough time in Italy to be comfortable with the language, know where to shop and get her hair done, and how to handle the men. Okay. It's tight — really, really tight — but it's doable.

    But then we learn that she married Don three months after he divorced Anna — something about Valentine's Day at some point in the early to mid-1950s. But didn't Don ask Anna for a divorce at Christmas time? Which Christmas was that? And which Valentine's Day? When did Betty have time to graduate college, have a modeling career, meet Don, marry him and get pregnant with Sally? Did Betty even graduate from College? Was she really only 28 in 1960?

    One could go crazy trying to figure it all out. I don't even bother any more. Life is crazy enough without going bonkers over a TV show.

  11. Two things, Peggy Joan:

    When Pete first confronts Don about his real identity, he says that the real Don Draper would have been 43 (or some age in the forties – he was quite specific about it, but I can't remember the exact age he cited) and comments that NowDon looks awfully young for someone that age. So Don might be lying about his age, but he isn't using RealDon's age either.

    About the dog tags:

    Don kept RealDon's dogtags from the switcheroo in Korea. Dick's tags were sent back to the family with the casket, and Adam kept them in the shoebox which he later sent to Don's office. That's how Don now has both sets.

  12. We've seen people say "you have not thought this through" on Mad Men, but the showrunners appear to have left a few holes in the timelines for both Don & Betty. Maybe we'll learn more; otherwise, I'll gladly forgive them.

    But I've always had the suspicion that Adam was not really Don's half brother.

  13. Similar to #7, I took Uncle Mack's "you got the same daddy" line as the "he's-your-brother-because-we're-all-in-the-same-family" kind of response.

    Half's and step's (by label) weren't verbalized very much back then, as I recall…which is why I took Uncle Mack's words as such.

    Now this makes me wonder. I plan to rewatch the dvd's a bit in July, so I'll run thru that scene again and see if I misread it.

  14. Very interesting! (and somewhat dizzying) 🙂 Every time I've watched "5G," I've thought that the actor playing Adam looked too old. But he's a good actor & the scenes between Adam and Don are certainly affecting.

    Hullaballoo's comments about Betty are also interesting. I never thought about it before but it does seem like she had too many experiences after college to realistically have given birth to Sally by the age of 22.

  15. Thanks, Gypsy, I forgot that the box had been mailed to Dick by Adam. Didn't DD take the $5,000 in hush money to Adam in that shoebox? Then I guess Adam added some of his mementos to the box before mailing it back to him.

    Did Betty ever say she graduated from college? She said she was an anthropology major at Bryn Mawr when she met Henry Francis at the soda shop to discuss the reservoir project, but I don't recall hearing her say she graduated.

    Maybe she went to Italy as an anthropology student — for a semester abroad or a summer vacation related to her major — and was recruited into modeling while there. Even now, a lot of students start college but don't finish.

  16. Oops- mistake in my timeline. I meant that Real Don would have been in his forties in 1960, not 1950. RealDon would have been in his 30s in 1950.

    (oh for an edit button to erase those glaring idiocies!)

  17. I totally think Betty was lying to Glenn about her age, but only by a couple of years. That would put her graduating in 1950 or 1951, spending some time in Italy modeling and then having a mini-career before meeting Don. I would not be surprised by a "meet in the fall of '52, married in the spring of '53" timeline for Don and Betty meeting and marrying, though, because back then courtship was short, particularly for a woman who was not engaged or married by the time she graduated college. A fast courtship and marriage would also be plausible given Gene's reaction to Don – I doubt whether the marriage would have gone on if there had been a long engagement.

    As for Adam's age, that is a problem. Certainly the actor playing young Adam when Don/Dick is on the train seems too young for a 13 – 14 year old, but it would be possible he hadn't gone through puberty yet.

  18. I totally think Betty was lying to Glenn about her age, but only by a couple of years.

    Yes, I think so too. Didn't Glenn tell her Helen was 30 (or maybe over 30?) Back then, 30 would be a mile-marker age someone like Betty would totally lie about, though it's pretty sad that she was trying to impress nine year old Glenn with her youth. (Although I suppose her motivation was to make sure it got back to Helen.)

  19. dickdon how did he get out of world war 2?

  20. hull, the divorce decree is dated Feb 14, 1953 (there’s a great image of it on AMCs photo gallery- see their Mad Men Scrapbook) , so the Christmas in question is Dec 1952.

    At least that answers the question about whether Betty was pregnant when they got married. (something I wondered about on and off)

    Maybe Betty was lying when she said she was 28. She waited to hear how old Helen was before she’d answer- maybe she crafted her answer accordingly? Why should Don be the only one lying? 🙂

    I kinda figured she only spent a summer in Italy — the summer after graduating college, perhaps. Not sure if that’s based on any clues. or if that’s just a story I made up in my own head. And maybe she only spent a year in NYC — couldn’t have been too long before she met Don.

    I figure they met sometime in 1952. Don broke the news to Anna about Betty at Xmas 1952, and seemingly had only recently met her, or he would have told
    Anna about her the previous year (they seemed to have spent the last few Christmases together)

    So, here’s my MM 1950s timeline, as far as I can figure:

    1950 – Dick meets Don in Korea; Don is killed, and the identity switch happens. Real Don is in his 40s at the time of his death.

    Late 1950 – or 1951 – Anna tracks down Don at the car dealership. They become friends, and spend the next 2-3 Christmases together. (seemed like it was a tradition for them by Dec 1952)

    1951 – 1952 – Don moves to NYC and gets job writing copy at the fur company

    1952 – Don meets Betty, who is modeling for a photoshoot for the fur company. Don woos her with a fur coat.

    Christmas 1952 – Don tells Anna he’s want to marry Betty, and needs a divorce. Anna says “this will be our last Christmas together.”

    Feb 14, 1953 — Don and Anna finalize the divorce. The date is on the divorce decree.

    May 1953 – Don & Betty get married (3 months after the divorce, according to Betty)

    April (?) 1954 – Sally is born

    1953 – 1955 – Roger meets Don, who is going to night school and is already married to Betty. (He later notes to Burt that Don and Betty looked like the top of a wedding cake.) Roger offers him a job at SC at some point in this time period.

    1955 – Don is working at Sterling Cooper (Midge makes a reference in 1960 to Don struggling with an ad campaign “5 years ago.”)

    1956 (?) Bobby is born. (Seems to me that Bobby is at most 2 years younger than Sally.)

    1960 – Don is Creative Director at SC. Seems to have been in that role for some time, as the chipmunks and secretaries seem quite intimidated by him by this time.

    Anyone got anything else to fill in or correct?

  21. Peggy Joan — I think Don just stuffed the 5Gs in his briefcase. (Remember how we weren’t sure WHAT he put into the briefcase during the scene in his office at home? I was so sure it was a gun.) Pretty sure the memento box was Adam’s from childhood.

    I guess it’s possible that Betty didn’t graduate, but something tells me she would have. I imagine the women who didn’t graduate generally left college because they got their M-R-S (ie, they got married in college). Possible that Betty hadn’t been out of school for that long when she met Don. Or — she was lying about her age. I’d love to find out a bit more about “Don and Betty- The Early Years” and get a little more backstory on Betty this season. Maybe Betty’s got some secrets too!

  22. Remember when DD starts Season 2 in the doctor’s office — getting a physical for work, I think — and is given an Rx for his hypertension? I could swear that the doctor mentioned his age as either 36 or 37.

    If anyone’s watching Season 2 DVDs right now, please check this and what month/year that was supposed to be. I’ve forgotten what the season “skip” was for that hiatus — I think it was more than a year.

  23. Gypsy, I probably projected the shoebox into Don’s hands from “A Perfect Murder” when Michael Douglas uses one to take cash to Viggo Mortenson — LOL.

  24. Peggy, Don took the $5,000 to Adam in a briefcase, not the shoebox.

    And I always thought Betty was tweaking her age when she told Glenn that she was 28, because she insisted on hearing how old Helen was and because of her tone when she said it. I figured her for early 30s, just a few years younger than Don/Dick. That would give some extra time in her personal timeline.

  25. It really doesn't make sense, philip gathan.

    He would be a WWII vet other than Weiner and his "three generations" thing with Roger, Don, and Pete.

  26. Peggy Joan – Don tells the doctor he’s 36, and it’s 1962.

    (Which would make him 24 in Korea in 1950, and Adam 14)

    I think I need one of those fold-out timeline charts!

  27. It might also be possible to gain a little wiggle room in the timeline by assuming that Don and Adam were imprecise when recalling their young selves’ ages. People often say “When I was X years old, I did such-and-such” without really stopping to do the math.

    Adam could very well have remembered that he was eight when Dick “died” even though he was actually nine or ten, and Don might’ve said that he was ten when his father died when he was actually eleven or twelve.

  28. Well, if we are to believe that he was 36 in 1962, that would make him 15 in 1941 when the war started, and 19 in 1945 when the war ended — pretty young to be serving in WWII.

  29. I hope he doesn’t feel the need to resolve the timeline dilemma with some ridiculous Dallas-like plot twist.

    Not unless he wants to be pelted with every rotten banana in Burbank! No TV show will ever get away with that again, unless they're making a joke out of it. I'm pretty sure MW knows that, though, and wouldn't jump the shark that way.

    Life is crazy enough without going bonkers over a TV show.

    Well, ya know…they don't call us Basketcases for nothing.

    Adam could very well have remembered that he was eight when Dick “died” even though he was actually nine or ten, and Don might’ve said that he was ten when his father died when he was actually eleven or twelve.

    Yeah, I considered that, too…but even if Adam was as old as 10, that would have made him only 4 sitting on that horse in 1944. Still too small. Also, BowlCutDick does look and act younger than the 13 he would have to have to be at Adam's birth, if his father died when he was 12. Also, I could see each of them maybe being off by a year, but 2 years is pushing it.

    And, about Peggy’s baby — Was he given to an adoptive family or is Peggy’s sister raising him?

    I'm pretty sure MW has made an official statement that Peggy's sister is not raising Peggy's baby; in the New Girl flashbacks, when Peggy is in the mental hospital, Peggy's sister is extremely pregnant, so probably gave birth not long after Peggy did.

    And yeah, everyone who says Betty fudged her age to Glenn — ITA. Back then, 30 meant a woman was O-L-D. I doubt she'd have asked Helen's age before giving her own, otherwise.

  30. "and 19 in 1945 when the war ended — pretty young to be serving in WWII."

    @ gypsy howell:

    Draft age is 18. And during the war, plenty of young men joined up right out of high school and college — particularly if they were in the kind of oppressive environment that Dick Whitman lived in. For someone who was so anxious to get away, I'm surprised he didn't join the service as soon as he was able. I have three uncles who lied about their ages so they could join — one of them was 16 at the time.

  31. You’re right. Trying to figure this out DOES make one’s head hurt!

    What I’d like to know is where the used car dealership where Anna showed up is. New York? California? Pennsylvania? Indiana? Or somewhere else?

    And, about Peggy’s baby — Was he given to an adoptive family or is Peggy’s sister raising him?

    I’m usually pretty good at keeping up with these kinds of show details, but I’ve never been clear, when it comes to these two topics.

  32. LOL, Roberta. But, that’s right, I said it! You’d think TV writers never encountered TV fans. Hasn’t the Trekkie phenomenon taught these people anything? They should know how obsessed we can become, and that we’ll nit-pick every last detail, every chance we get.

  33. hull – yes, but it doesn't seem like a plot inconsistency that he *wouldn't* have served in WWII. Was everyone age 18+ getting drafted in 1944? I doubt it (though I don't know for sure)

  34. And I pretty much think that Adam and Dick are not brothers. That Adam is Mack’s–maybe that was one more mistake, but that’s how it hits me. Raised as brothers still counts, relationshipwise. But I think it was to protect Abigail’s reputation, who “took up with” Mack right after Dick’s father was killed.

    Yes to all of that. I don't think it's an accident that Adam looks a lot more like Uncle Mac than like Archie or Abigail (I originally wrote that, but deleted it for some reason). "Uncle" Mac is probably not a relative; at that time, all "friend of family" adults were introduced to kids as "Uncle" or "Aunt" Firstname. They were still doing that when I was a little kid in the 1960s and early 1970s. I totally picture Abigail having a secret affair with him and getting preggy with Adam right before Archie met his equine maker.

  35. hull – yes, but it doesn’t seem like a plot inconsistency that he *wouldn’t* have served in WWII. Was everyone age 18+ getting drafted in 1944? I doubt it (though I don’t know for sure)

    Actually, even if Dick had been drafted or signed up when he turned 18 in 1944, it is entirely possible he never saw combat and was then called back up from the reserves for Korea.

  36. WWII draft ages were 18-45 though many lied about their ages and signed up at 17 or even younger if they could. My father turned 18 in July 1945 and joined the Navy but never got further than Long Island Sound, lol, because even the war in the Pacific was over by the time he finished basic training.

  37. I've wondered about when Roger and Bert met Don. In Season 1 it seems like both are still getting to know Don. The dinner in the second episode seems like one of the first times that Roger/Mona and Don/Betty had dined out together. If Don had joined SC ~5yrs earlier and risen through the ranks so to speak, there would have been many previous opportunities for everyone to get to know each other. Midge's offhand comment about struggling with an ad campaign "5yrs ago" is certainly plausible- but he may not have been working for SC at the time.

    I agree that Betty may have been lying about her age. For some reason, I think she was 32 in 1960. I don't know why, but I think it was stated or implied ? If so, that makes her time-line easier to determine: College graduate in '49 or '50, a year or 2 in Italy, a year in NY then Don.

    I hope we find out more about their backstory- maybe in S4 as both reflect on the ending of their marriage.

    Looking forward to 7/25….but it also means that the summer is more than 1/2 over.

  38. I am a little late to the party here, but I am one of those people who also likes things to make sense so even before this post, I played with the time line as well. (I also loved those crazy LSAT questions & became a lawyer! LOL!) Anyway, Here is how I have figured the time line of our characters.

    1924 – Dick Whitman born

    1930 – Betty Hofstadt born (which makes her 30 in 1960 not 28 just lying about her age)

    1934 – Archie Whitman is killed by the horse

    1950 – Dick assumes Don's identity. The real Dick is 26

    1952 – Betty graduates from Bryn Mawr (summer only in Italy)

    1953 – Dick divorces Anna/Don marries Betty (23)

    1954 – Sally Draper born (she is 8 in 1962 as Don tells Anna during Jet Set episode)

    1960 – Don is 36 as he says in season 1/Betty is 30 but says 28

    harder to fit Adam into the puzzle. I always assumed he was 19/20 in 1960. This means he was born in 1939/1940, which means he was 5/4 in the horse photo (this is the mess up I think) & 9/10 when Dick's casket is brought home. I know he tells Don he was 8 when he saw him on the train, but that could just be a child's memory. I think Uncle Mac is Adam's father, and Mac just said that Dick and Adam share the same father b/c he liked Dick & wanted him to feel apart of the family. Now, with all this said, I think the goof is on Adam's part and how he remembered himself at the station/coffin scene. Adam never struck me as very stable mentally in the little time we saw him (clearly b/c he did kill himself), so I have always believed that Adam has the time long wrong. I'd like to go back again now, and watch every episode with a legal pad & any reference to time write down. Thanks for the post Meowser!

  39. **I’ve wondered about when Roger and Bert met Don. In Season 1 it seems like both are still getting to know Don. The dinner in the second episode seems like one of the first times that Roger/Mona and Don/Betty had dined out together. If Don had joined SC ~5yrs earlier and risen through the ranks so to speak, there would have been many previous opportunities for everyone to get to know each other. Midge’s offhand comment about struggling with an ad campaign “5yrs ago” is certainly plausible- but he may not have been working for SC at the time. **

    I agree. I also think that the Roger drunkenly hitting on Betty scene in "Red in the Face" wouldn't have gone the way it did if they had all known each other for a long time. It might have been laughed off more, like "Oh, that Roger! Always a horndog!" rather than being seen as surprisingly inappropriate. Don had yet to see the "Long Weekend" Roger as far as we know, and maybe thought he was "faithful" to Joan, in the way that Don had one mistress at a time.

  40. Maybe Roger only started socializing with Don once he became Creative Director.

    Betty was born in 1932 according to baby Gene's birth certificate.

    Was he really cheating with Midge for five years? Ugh. You would think that he would have been more upset about ending things with her if that was the case.

    Count me in with those who hope we see Don and Betty: The Early Years.

  41. The sense I got from season 1 was that Don had been with the agency for quite a while — long enough to build up mythical "one time he dangled a client out the window" stories, and for him to consider Pete a callow upstart even though the kid had been with the company for two years. I saw things like the dinner with Roger and Mona as a sign not that he was new, but that the partners had recently started to take a greater interest in him, as they realized how important a part of their business he had become.

  42. Dev, I'm with your interpretation. I think Roger hired Don right out of the fur company, somewhere around 1954-5, and Don's worked his way up at SC to Creative Director since then. Don's too much of a fixture and a legend at SC in "Smoke" to have been there only a short time.

    But I'd love to find out the real story. This would be a good season to revisit a bit of that now that they've started a new agency. Wouldn't you love to see Don's first day at SC (was Joan there then?? How long HAS Joan been at SC, anyway?)

  43. I think I remember Joan being toasted in Guy Walks In as having had "more than ten years of service."

    Good catch about baby Gene's birth certificate, bee. We actually don't know if Betty finished her degree or not; she may not have, if she was becoming a successful model.

  44. If I could go back and edit my timeline, I'd add:

    1953 – Joan starts at SC

    Good catch Meowser! (Wouldn't you love to see Joan's first day at SC? I bet she was a very very different person then. Maybe not so self assured; maybe there was another queen bee in 1953)

  45. Oh yes, Joan's first day. What do you want to bet that in 1953, Joan was what Helen Gurley Brown would have called a mouseburger, and later became the original Cosmo Girl long before HGB conceived of her?

  46. # 38 – "I’ve wondered about when Roger and Bert met Don."

    My theory is that Don was working as a copywriter for Teddy the Furrier during the day and at night, he was a bartender (maybe in a place near where the major ad agencies were). That could be where he and Roger crossed paths, and then met Bert through Roger.

    An item from the NY Times in 1995, mentions a prime spot for the city's fur industry in the middle of the 20th Century …

    October 1995, New York Times, pg. CY6:

    Fur Trade Wanes, But Its Cradle Finds New Life

    When Tom Gigi started in the fur business 40 years ago, West 30th Street from Avenue of the Americas to Eighth Avenue was thick with rack runners, jobbers and sewing machine operators. (…) Although it remains the heart of the nation's fur trade, these days the fur district is more likely to house accountants or photographers than pelt merchants.
    http://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city

    Judging from Google Maps, this area's not too far from where the big ad agencies were/are.

    So, maybe Don and Roger engaged in conversation at the bar and when Don learned that Roger was in advertising, he pitched himself into a job at Sterling Cooper.

    Here's an interesting link that maps some locations featured in the show …
    http://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city

  47. The messy part is the Depression era time-frame.

    To keep it simple, let's assume Dick Whitman was 20 years old in 1950. He would have been born in 1930. Adam is about ten years younger than Dick, so he would've been born in 1940.

    In 1962, DickDon says he is 36, but all that means is Real Don's Birth Certificate says he should be 36.

    In 1960, Betty says she is 28. If we assume that's true, she would've been born in 1932. These pieces of the puzzle fit the Mad Men storyline.

    For DickDon's Depression era timeline we have to add six years or thereabouts to the events.

    Corrected Timeline

    1930 – Dick Whitman born

    1940 – Archie Whitman is killed by the horse

    1940 – Adam born

    1948/50 The photo of Dick and Adam with the horse taken.

    1950 – Dick assumes Don’s identity. The real Dick is 20. The real Don is 24.

  48. I'm sure I read in some interviews with MadMen cast members and director types that the SC set was taken down at the end of last season's shooting. So if they are ever going to show scenes from Don's early days there, they will have to be "creative" glimpses only – recreating just one (Roger's?) office, or setting it off-SC in a bar or restaurant, etc. We'll never see the big room with all the secretaries' desks again, nor the grand entrance-way.

  49. @47 SmilerG-Remember, when Don first met Roger, Don was still in night-school, but it is possible that Don was a bartender on weekends, or maybe went from night-school to the bar.

    @49 berkowit28-I think you have the right idea of having the scene take place in another location. If Don was a bartender, that might be a possibility.

  50. DickDon says he is 36, but all that means is Real Don’s Birth Certificate says he should be 36.

    Pete in NvK says Real!Don! would be 43 if alive in S1.

  51. "Pete in NvK says Real!Don! would be 43 if alive in S1."

    Hmmm, this is turning into "The Butterfly Effect." Every fix-up creates a new problem.

    If real Don was born in 1917, and was 33 years old in 1950, then a twenty year old DickDon couldn't hope to pass himself off as the real Don Draper.

  52. I honestly don't think DickDon was meant to be just 20 in the Korea sequences. It was already pushing it for Jon Hamm, who was 36 at the time, to be playing a 23- to 25-year-old, and as it was, they had to digitally alter his voice to make it sound higher so he could play even that young. (I'm with Gypsy Howell at #6, I think they should have chosen a younger actor to do it. Hamm, as great as he is, is miscast as a fresh-off-the-truck greenhorn who's so scared he literally pisses his pants at the sound of an explosion.)

  53. The whole reference with using Don as the younger Don is the show's obsessing over recreating the past as seen through movies; i.e. Don is Gregory Peck doing the Gray Flannel Suit thing, playing both the husband now and the youthful warrior then without much noticeable difference.

  54. # 50 – "Remember, when Don first met Roger, Don was still in night-school, but it is possible that Don was a bartender on weekends, or maybe went from night-school to the bar."

    I don't think that Don was actually in night-school when he and Roger met.

    In "The Color Blue" when Roger refers to meeting Don, he mentions that he was a copywriter at a furrier, but his reference to night-school, I think, was a jab by Roger that Don didn't attend a prestigious college.# 50 – "Remember, when Don first met Roger, Don was still in night-school, but it is possible that Don was a bartender on weekends, or maybe went from night-school to the bar."

    I don't think that Don was actually in night-school when he and Roger met.

    In "The Color Blue" when Roger refers to meeting Don, he mentions that he was a copywriter at a furrier, but his reference to night-school, I think, was a jab at Don, dismissing him because he hadn't attended a prestigious college.

  55. Not sure how part of that repeated in the post.

    Anyway, that's my take on the night-school thing.

  56. Followup on Betty's age-

    Born 1932. Making her 18 in 1950. At that time, many schools did not have a 12th grade. Normal graduation age (12th grade) is 17 or 18. If we assume that Betty did not attend 12th grade and that she was at the younger end of her class, then it is possible that she was 16 when she graduated….1948.

    Entering Byrn Mawr at 16, in the fall of 1948 would have set her up for graduation in the spring of 1952. Many students coming from her social strata would have had the opportunity to spend a semester or 2 abroad. Lets say Betty spent her junior year in Italy…Fall 1950-Spring 1951. Then coming back to the US to complete her degree and graduate in 1952. There is approximately a 1yr gap between end of college and meeting Don….plenty of time to have fun in NYC.

    Her timeline becomes:

    1932 Born

    1948 HS Graduation

    1950-51 Italy

    1952 Graduation

    1952-53 NYC single girl

    1953 meets and marries Don

    1954 Sallie is born

    Thanks,

    rl1856

  57. #46 Meowser, the mouseburger link was a total hoot! Read it, BoK'ers:

    http://www.nytimes.com/1982/10/13/books/books-of-

    The secret life of Anatole Broyard, the author of that book review, inspired Philip Roth's novel The Human Stain, which became a film starring Anthony Hopkins.

    Broyard's daughter Bliss wrote a book One Drop: My Father's Hidden Life — A Story of Race and Family Secrets

  58. Wow, Peggy Joan, that stuff about Broyard is a real eye-opener. Thanks.

  59. @#57

    Betty basically spends a Christmas in Italy and gets a ton of dresses made and becomes a model? Color me unimpressed with her three or four month rise to the top of the modelling world in the ol' believability department.

  60. Whenever people in Don;s flashbacks don't appear the age they're meant to be, I always just put it down to the fact that most people don;t have photographic memory and things may look different in retrospect.

  61. I’ve also wondered about Don in WWII. I suspect that Mad Men didn’t have a strong reference on the military history part of the show and made it fit their story without thinking it through.

    (if they were so concerned about accuracy in the flashback, the uniforms would have had their unit patches on their sleeve and not over their pocket. And then, in the train scene Don is wearing a WWII style “cut down” Ike jacket, which were made overseas during WWII by cutting off the 4 pocket dress tunic at the waist and having the belt sewn on to make a shorter, more combat friendly jacket.

    So, we’ve got to assume that Don is issued this “old” jacket, because RealDon’s stuff is somewhere between Korea and his wife, and magically fits him. But, officers uniforms weren’t issued, they were purchased by stipend.

    And, while it’s possible that Don was wearing a white undershirt to dig a ditch in a combat area, it’s more likely that he would have been wearing a standard GI one in an olive drab shade, and that a combat hardened vet like the Lt would have told him about wearing a white shirt in a combat area.

    If Don is 18 in 1944, there’s no way he escapes the draft and then is physically eligible to serve in Korea. Between 1941 and 1947 all men between 19 and 45 are required to serve. The WWII draft continued until 1947, when a new smaller “occupation” draft continued until after Korea.

    Don would have had to be young enough to not be taken during WWII or the immediate post war.

    Lots of guys lied about their age and enlisted at 16 and 17 during WWII. There was no producing of a birth certificate or drivers license to enlist at the time, so it was pretty common. So Don grew up in a vacuum during WWII and suddenly needed to run away in 1950?

    This doesn’t make any sense in Don’s need to escape – he wouldn’t have had to wait until Korea, surely he knew other guys who signed up. I’m wondering if Mad Men just simply chose Korea to make Don feel younger.

    We also have the issue of RealDon being older than Don. RealDon is not a WWII vet? How is that possible (since every eligible man served in WWII)? Don would have had RealDon’s discharge papers with his service record on them. How does he get around not needing his discharge papers / not having a story to match them.

    Just to clarify a bit further on the draft – college was one way to be excused from military service after WWII – most likely explaining why we don’t hear about the military careers of ALL the men in the Ad Agency. It’s also important to note that during WWII 12 million US men were drafted (9% of the population). During Korea, 2 million were drafted (1%), and starting in 1964 through 1975, 2.2 million men were drafted (1%) although another several million enlisted to avoid the draft.

    Curiously, does this mean that any of the younger characters may be going off to war in a season 5 or 6?

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