Gone But Not Forgotten

 Posted by on July 11, 2012 at 8:00 am  Characters, Mad Men
Jul 112012

Over the seasons, characters have left the show, only to reappear. Rachel Menken appeared as a recurring character in season one, and was not seen again until almost the end of season two.

Paul Kinsey, who had not been asked to join Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, was absent during all of season four, but appeared in season five. Based on this pattern, it seems possible that Sal may make an appearance in a future season, if only for one episode.

Under what circumstances do you think Sal would reappear? Would he still be with Kitty? What would he be doing? Would he still be in advertising?


  31 Responses to “Gone But Not Forgotten”

  1. The artist and director is out in Hollywoodland, I hope, making his fortune.

    Now, let’s get Kitty and Stan together. She needs tending.

  2. Maybe we’ll see Sal in the context of Stonewall.

    • This was my thought as well.

      • Me too–I think it’s possible. Other ways we could see Sal again…..well, someone could run into him somewhere. Anywhere really….this type of thing does happen in the city, despite the fact that there are millions of people, sometimes you run into people you know or people from the past.

        Also–if he’s still working in advertising (hopefully) then maybe the SCDP folks cross paths with him somehow–a pitch meeting for a prospective client, etc.

  3. claire, i thought the exact same thing! stonewall was june 1969 though, so if that’s the case, we won’t see him next season…

  4. I’d love to see Sal working as Art Director at a competing agency.

    And hopefully Kitty has left him for a very sexy straight guy and Sal has found a very sexy boyfriend — though that may be overly optimistic in 1967, considering Sal’s level of denial about his sexuality.

  5. One morning, sitting in his office, Don gets a call from an attorney. He tells Don that he’s representing Kitty Romano in a divorce action. It seems that she is suing on grounds of adultery, which is very difficult to prove, but the attorney has reason to believe that Sal (still deeply closeted and fighting the divorce) has been unfaithful in an “especially shocking” (and we all know what he means) manner. The attorney asks Don if he could speak to him about this, if he can give any testimony about Sal’s actions.

    What will Don do?

    • Knowing Don, he will stonewall and change the subject of the conversation he doesn’t like hearing

  6. I was at a Mad Men party a week or two ago and I went as the drug dealer from season 7 (ha!) who sells LSD to Sally & Glen at Woodstock and who coincidentally is also Sal’s newest boyfriend!!! (We met each other at the Stonewall riots. Joyce was there too! Then I met Peggy Olsen, O!M!G! and we all got BFFs!) πŸ˜€
    (By the way the party was actually more of a 50s party so I was completely out of place, or rather the others were all totally square…) πŸ˜‰

  7. Sal and Kitty will stay together for a few more years. Sal doesn’t participate in the 1969 Stonewall riots – he’s still too closeted for that – but he reads about them in the newspapers, with great interest. That situation, along with others in his past (his evening with Elliott, hearing Kurt openly say that the “sleeps with the men”) open Sal’s eyes to what his life could be. He stays with Kitty for several more years because he does care for her, and because he’s still uncertain about what an ‘out’ future would look like. Sal has a chance meeting with Elliott in 1972 when Sal is working with Peggy at Cutler, Gleason, and Chaough and Belle Jolie transfers their account there (in order to continue working with the creative talent that gave them their successful ‘Mark your Man’ campaign). The two men quickly realize that they have a future together. Kitty grants him an amicable divorce because, although she cares for him as well, she “needs tending” and knows she’s not getting any from Sal. Sal and Elliott are now retired and living on Fire Island, and remain close friends with Kitty and her hot new husband.

  8. Last glimpse of Sal was when we saw him at a pay phone and in an environment that looked like a gay meeting place. That was mid 1963. By mid 1967 he may be farther along than we think. He will still be in advertising. Most likely as the art director of another firm and as the director of well regarded commercials. If he and Kitty are still together, he will also have a secret life.

  9. Sal is probably a little too old for Stonewall. He was probably about 40 in 1963 (Batt would have been 46 at the time of shooting Wee Small Hours), and Stonewall was mostly a young (and poor) gay man’s hangout. He could be there accidentally, I suppose. More likely, though, he would be going to see Bette Midler at the Continental Baths. An upscale bathhouse like the Continental seems more his speed, and they got raided in 1969, too (twice).

    I have to believe Megan will run into him while auditioning…and of course be completely uninformed of any connection with Don, who has probably never mentioned Sal to her.

    • On second thought, I agree with your first paragraph. Sal is too old for Stonewall and your theory is very plausable.

      • It’s so nice to hear I’m not the only one who thinks that Sal would be far too old to be at the bar the night of the raid/riot.

    • Stonewall was a movement for all ages

      • Ultimately yes, it was. But the trigger event was the riot at Stonewall Inn, and it seems less likely (though not impossible) that Sal would be there.

  10. I’m sure Sal will be back before Mad Men ends its run. I’m guessing that he’ll find work as a director of TV commercials and will probably do work for Peggy, at her new firm, or for SCDP.

    This next bit isn’t exactly on topic, but might be of interest. It’s a sad and fascinating article about an extortion racket that was run on closeted gay men in the mid-1960s …


  11. Matt has gotta bring Sal back, I totally expected it this year to tell you the truth. So, hopefully next year we will get him back, if only for an episode….But, I would like him back as a regular! Honestly one of the best characters ever on MM, and also what a fine actor he is….Love himmmmmmmmmmmmm!

    • I agree! He is so much more interesting than Kinsey. I miss Betty’s friend Francine. Maybe the guy whose foot got sawed off will show up. Missing a foot is no reason to give up his career

      • Sal is one of my favorite characters, too, and man do I miss Francine! Every time I remember her asking Don if he needed any help in the shower, I laugh.

        Also — “Betty, you have the worst luck with entertaining!” Understatement of the century.

  12. I don’t see Sal as an activist in any way, and I don’t think MW, et.al, see him that way, either. The writers usually avoid the common stereotypes of that period that you often see in TV/movies/plays, where everyone is either protesting, rioting, tripping out or burning their bras (ouch). In reality, most people are not willing to make the personal/professional sacrifices that people on the “fringes” make, for better or worse, nor do they necessarily agree with overt rebellion, even if peaceful and First Amendment-guaranteed. I was a little surprised that the writers went with Krishna Kinsey, but it’s not a stretch for him…as the most rootless and insecure of the bunch, he will always be a poseur, trying to stay au courant (he doesn’t have a clue that he’s already behind). Most people are risk-averse, and that includes Sal. The fact is, even in a decade of intense social, political and cultural turmoil, Nixon was elected in ’68 and reelected in ’72, and the majority of our country was, and remains, “center-right”, even if it seems more radical or progressive in NY, LA or SF. Sal, whatever his feelings, is part of that “silent majority”, and isn’t about “consciousness raising”. He always had a kind of Old World charm and reserve, and I like that about him. I’m not saying it’s the best case scenario, but then MW isn’t interested in giving the audience something formulaic. I can see Sal still married, and all that entails.

    • I’m curious about what you meant by “all that entails.” Could it include a secret life? That secret life could take the form of anonymous one night stands, or a steady-boyfriend with his own apartment. Do you see either as a possibility for Sal?

      • Hi RetroGirl,

        I do think that Sal will still be closeted and married (although, what does that say about Kitty?) but the possibility of a secret life that you brought up is intriguing. I thought of one of my favorite eps “Hobo Code” and could see Sal reliving that frustration over and over again, in different situations. In a sense, all the Season 1 episodes had that overarching theme–public vs. private lives– which applied to most of the major characters–not that they were secretive on purpose, but more that the rules and codes of mainstream society forced anyone outside that to a subliminal existence. Hobos (and other outsiders) had to have their own “codes” to survive. The good parts of that earlier society–formalized manners, formalized dress codes, structure,authority, ideals–had started to weaken through the 60’s and beyond. When you lose the repression, you also lose the good things that went with it. Yes, maybe Sal will have one-night stands or have a guy on the side in an apartment (had there been no fire alarm, he probably would have “lost it” to the bellhop!)…or maybe he’ll just keep his reserve and be quietly subversive through his work. He definitely is one character I would love to see again, even if only for an episode.

        • Kitty knows, and doesn’t at the same time. One of the saddest scenes of the show is when Kitty realizes there’s something wrong/off in the marriage. She doesn’t have a name for it, she can’t put her finger on it, but she knows there is something that isn’t right.

      • It seems like we last saw Sal at The Rambles, hinting that anonymous hook-ups were going to be his modus operandi.

        • Agree Deb – very poignant scene that one as he calls his wife from an ‘isolated’ pay phone, the background providing all the detail you need to know about Sal’s future

  13. Can’t believe I even thought of anyone before Anna Draper! I always wanted to see more of their time together. When she says they met to make each of their lives better we never know how Don made hers better. Besides providing for her financially which he should have done anyway since she had no widows pension because of him.

    • I posted about this before but does anyone else think that Anna knew she was dying and didn’t want Don to know. Stephanie told him it was her Mom in order to give him a chance to say goodbye. It makes no sense that Anna’s sister would have medical information without her knowing it. If it had been her husband I would have believed it.

      • Agree – Anna knew. A broken foot was a ‘sign’ that the cancer had spread into her bones, so she had been living with the ‘condition’…just makes the whole Dick and Anna relationship so heartbreaking for Don (Dick) — the most soulfully, honest relationship HE has, and SHE has witheld ‘information’ from him — arrgghh —I cry everytime I watch “The Suitcase”

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