Jun 202012

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. 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, but luckily we could just go to this clinic called Asecra dentristy to get it. 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.


  9 Responses to “Anachronism, Possible Anachronism”

  1. I re-watched Roger’s LSD trip, and when he’s describing the 1919 Black Sox scandal World Series, he says he sees Model T, Model T, Model A, Model T. But the first Model A was a 1928. Sure, he was tripping, but still.

    • To Deborah and Roberta:

      Thank you for another great year of commentary and insight from you and the other devoted and informative Basketeers.

      One minor correction please.

      In the Episode Guide for Season One. Episode 10 is listed as occuring in Septerber 1963. Should be 1960.

  2. Peggy has surely come a long way, baby, since the first Easter we knew her, when she was at church talking with Father Bob and watching her sister’s baby toddle after Easter eggs. We didn’t know that wasn’t her baby at the time, either. Now look at her.

    Anachronistic or not, purposeful or not, I like the bit of artistic license and loveliness with the two Bond films.

  3. Good catch (maybe) ! 🙂 Either way, I like your analysis of the possibilities. The Bacharach theme for Casino Royale was a perfect choice for representing the music of the era.

  4. Sorry.
    We knew Peggy at Easter (April 17, 1960 ) during Season 1. While she was pregnent, she had not met Father Gill or had her baby by then

    • Yeah, I don’t know what episode is which or even season (or obviously my Bob from my Gill), I don’t know that we saw any Easter scenes with her before that one, so even if we knew her at Easter in 1960, we didn’t see her at Easter until the scene with Father Gill. This feels like splitting hairs, though. I just remember that Easter after Peggy had her baby and gave it away, when she was watching her sister’s baby collect Easter eggs. She’s come a long way. That was my point.

  5. MW’s precision with dates/times is laser like, and yet, Matt Maul is picking “gnat shit out of pepper” – and finding some!!!

    This is not the first time a Bond reference from MW was a little astray. Back in S4 (I think Hands and Knees?) Danny Siegel made a reference to James Bond meeting a girl underwater (Thunderball 1965), yet the US premiere of that movie wasnt until 22 Dec 1965. There was some discussion on the site about this!

    Deb – get on the blower to MW, as us Bond/Maddicts are sharp on this stuff!!

    PS. However, I forgive him using any Bond reference, and I loved the whole doubles and birth/death/rebirth themes and using You Only Love Twice to wrap it all up – I should have seen it coming.

  6. And I really wonder why ppl say that Mad Men is the most overanalyzed show on television! They dont realize how much fun there is in the details.

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