In Mad Men‘s Season 5 finale, The Phantom, Don and Peggy have a great moment where they run into each other at a movie theater. Peggy and her former mentor/colleague discuss her success and a planned trip to (ahem) Virginia to work on a campaign for a new brand of cigarettes aimed at women. They abruptly (and politely) end their conversation when the lights in the theater go down and the film projector starts up. If you assume that the music heard is the opening theme of the movie itself and not a preview, Don and Peggy are watching the 1967 James Bond “spoof” (and I’m putting that nicely) Casino Royale.
However, The Phantom starts during Easter. In 1967, Easter fell on Sunday, March 26th. Casino Royale was released in the United States on April 28th, 1967. So, depending on the date of Don and Peggy’s meeting (more on that below), this may not have been possible.
As I said, it’s valid to argue that they were watching a preview of upcoming attractions and, therefore, this is not an anachronism. Although, one of the Casino Royale previews from 1967 I found started with the same opening theme, BUT you could also hear sound (and sound effects) from the film itself underneath the music. Yes, I know this is very nit-picky and leads me to believe that they were watching previews.
Here’s the fun part: A strong counter argument would be that either scenario is valid because The Phantom takes place from the end of March through April. I don’t disagree with this as the timespan of the episode. But I still question the approximate date of Don and Peggy’s trip to the movies. First, I assume that Don went to the dentist a day or two after his run in with Marie. She was in town for the Easter season to get away from her “atheist husband.” Given Marie’s relative lack of motherly attachment to Megan, I took her visit to be, AT MOST, one or two weeks (taking us only to mid-April). Second, Don’s trip to the dentist revealed that he needs a dental mouth guard. So we got that and then we went to see Pete at the hospital. Next, comes the actual scene of Don and Peggy at the movie theater. Finally, Pete fights Howard on the train. Consider that even IF Beth’s treatment lasted an entire month (or more), I’d assume, as the conductor points out, that Howard and Pete see each other on the train every day. Wouldn’t Howard (who loves to share) have bragged about his “freedom” to Pete a lot sooner (like the very first week)? So, my forensic calender still has all of the above happening before April 28th and too soon for the release of the film.
I concede my case is far from rock solid.
Either way, the Casino Royale theme ties in nicely later with the non-diegetic (and, thus, completely non-anachronistic) use of Nancy Sinatra’s opening theme song from You Only Live Twice, the “official” Bond film also released in 1967. I noticed that the Mad Men producers ponied up royalty money for the complete Sinatra number rather than just a thirty second clip or cover version. This made for a bombshell of an ending montage.