Cultural References: Season 6


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Please note that this page is for reference, not discussion. We delete comments here after we incorporate the suggestions/corrections.

Ep 6:01/6.02: The Doorway
Don reads Dante’s The Inferno

Dinkins talks about his M2 machine gun.

The Francis family attends The Nutcracker.


Haight Ashbury hippies in San Francisco, as well as hippies in New York City


Christiaan Barnard

A comic made jokes about Vietnam on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Phyllis Diller was the guest host. According to @CONELRAD6401240, “the comedian referenced in tonight’s Mad Men episode is Milt Kamen. He was on with guest host Phyllis Diller on 12/22/67.”

War crimes in Vietnam

President Johnson visited Vietnam on December 23, 1967

Koss headphones

Pentax and Leica cameras

Benson says he went to Beloit and Wharton.

Bob Benson has tickets to the 1968 Cotton Bowl: Crimson Tide vs. Texas A&M

Roger calls Don Don Ho

Roger refers to Ernest Borgnine in From Here to Eternity

Peggy’s Superbowl prediction was Oakland or Houston against Green Bay: She was right, it was Oakland vs. Green Bay

Don watches the Donna Reed show

Roger has water from the River Jordan

Margaret’s talk of a refrigeration opportunity is a reference to East of Eden

One of the Sheraton clients is reminded of the end of A Star Is Born

One of the hippies says “grok

Henry calls Betty Elizabeth Taylor

Megan shopped for her trendy fondue pot at Bloomingdale’s Kitchen Store

Jonesy gave them Galliano

Snowstorm on New Year’s Eve 1968

Ep 6:03: The Collaborators
Pete and the neighbors discuss Hair, which has “simulated sex acts” and some music. Hair opened on Broadway at the Biltmore Theater in April of 1968 and ran for four years. This conversation takes place on January 27 or 28, so Pete has tickets to the Off-Broadway production. The Off-Broadway productions had no nudity and fewer songs than the Broadway show.

Grand Central Terminal is mentioned.

The Tet Offensive is on the news and discussed throughout the episode.

Don and Sylvia listen to WQXR.

Megan doesn’t want SOS soap pads used on Teflon.

Heinz ketchup is handled by “Doyle Dane” (Doyle Dane Bernbach; DDB)

Bob Benson says he was at Brown, Brothers, Harriman.

Pete watches Knicks basketball on TV: Willis Reed is mentioned. (On January 31, the Knicks played Cincinnati.)

Arnie compares Fidel Castro to Senior Wences and to George Washington.

Peggy gets pranked with Quest powder.

Johnny Carson announces that the Tonight Show will be delayed 15 minutes for an NBC special on the Vietnam War and the Tet Offensive. His guest will then be Jim Garrison (this took place on January 31, 1968).

Ep 6:04: To Have and To Hold
Columbia students protested in the Dow lobby on Tuesday, March 19th. Ken references Dow Chemical dropping Napalm on children.

Life Magazine

Harry arranges a meeting between Pierre Cosette and Dow about building a musical television special around “Broadway” Joe Namath, and featuring John Wayne (singing from Camelot), Julie Andrews, and Joey Heatherton.

Joan makes reservations at Le Cirque, but they don’t go.

Joan and her friend Kate visit The Electric Circus.

Kate is staying at the Waldorf. The Heinz pitch meeting is at the Roosevelt.

Arlene refers to Don as James Garner.

The Smothers Brothers are controversial with advertisers.

Bert and Roger discuss the 1968 presidential race, mentioning Nixon, Johnson, and “the ghost of Kennedy.”

Robert F. Kennedy is on the news; he entered the presidential race on March 16, 1968

Lonely Hearts Club

Ep 6:05: The Flood
Ginny says the 2nd Avenue Subway is coming soon. Under construction intermittently since 1929, it is currently slated for completion in 2016.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. Riots broke out in 100 cities, including Washington, D.C.

Mayor Lindsay of New York had coalitions with local gang leaders and averted riots. New York was relatively peaceful.

Paul Newman spoke at the Ad Club of New York that night and supported Eugene McCarthy for President.

Bobby Kennedy and President Johnson were also mentioned.

Beverly attends Hunter College.

The TV shows that Harry complains about being preempted are Bewitched, “Merv” (the Merv Griffin Show), Dean Martin, and the Stanley Cup Play-offs.

Bobby watches McHale’s Navy on TV, and then Don takes him to see Planet of the Apes.

A promo newspaper for Planet of the Apes is seen with the headline Big Round-Up of Human Beasts.

Ep 6:06: For Immediate Release
Roger mentions P&G as someone Daisy should spy on.

On May 12, 1968, Arnie mentions that his son is considering going to Paris.

Mikey O’Brien drinks Jim Beam.

Jim Cutler asks if a secretary is wearing Shalimar, referring to the famous Guerlain perfume.

The Rennets live in Tenafly, New Jersey.

Peaches Rennet can’t resist shopping at Saks.

Herb Rennet quotes “The Girl From Ipanema” (“tall and tan and young and lovely”).

Pete likens Don to Tarzan.

Chevrolet’s secret car is the XP-887, which eventually will be the Vega.

The big agencies competing for Chevrolet are Campbell Ewald and Dancer Fitzgerald Sample.

Don wants to research the Mustang.

Ted wants to watch Hazel.

Arnie is aggravated that “some asshole” in Houston did a heart transplant.

Megan likens Don to Superman.

Ep 6:07: Man With a Plan
CGC won a Clio for St. Joseph’s Chidren’s Aspirin

While competing for Fleischmann’s Margarine, Ted lists other margarines: Blue Bonnet, Imperial

The NY State Thruway

The Sherry-Netherland Hotel

Roger says Ken looks like Alan Ladd

Sylvia is reading “The Last Picture Show”

Ted talks about Gilligan’s Island

Don mentions “Dorothea Lange faces

Sylvia gets a box from Saks Fifth Avenue

Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated on June 6, 1968.

Ep 6:08: The Crash
Ken’s car crash was in an Impala.

Peggy and Ginsberg discuss the Cheshire Cat.

Peggy quotes, William Wordsworth: “The child is the father of the man” from My Heart Leaps Up When I Behold.

Wendy Gleason reads the I Ching, using the John Blofeld translation.

Mathis says the Carnegie Deli has great soup.

The Draper kids watch The Prisoner on TV. The episode is Free for All. The Prisoner aired on Saturday nights on CBS in June-September of 1968.

Ed mentions St. Sebastian, while Stan imitates William Tell (with an “apple” being shot over his head).

Sally is reading Rosemary’s Baby.

Ep 6:09: The Better Half
Ted and Don argue over whether margarine is Chivas Regal or Budweiser.

Harry refers to the ’27 Yankees, also known as “Murderer’s Row,” and considered the greatest baseball team in history.

Against the Storm, on radio, was Arlene’s first job.

Megan says there were recently shootings in Central Park, probably meaning the shooting spree of Angelo Angelof, who killed Lilah Kestler and wounded several others.

Betty says she and Don visited Lake Champlain with her parents.

Abe says there have been uprisings in Paris (mentioned by Sylvia in earlier episodes) and Prague.

Roger says he saw The Golem as a child.

Ep 6:10: A Tale of Two Cities
The Democratic National Convention and its associated protests are referenced throughout. Also mentioned in connection to this are Hubert Humphrey, Richard Nixon, “Dutch” Regan, and Conrad Hilton (the man and the hotel in Chicago).

Ted likens the Chevy offices to the opening of Get Smart.

Carnation and Sunkist are the L.A. prospects.

Roger says he’s Vasco de Gama.

Pete says Avon is a Fortune 500 company.

Ben Kalmenson, President of Warner Brothers, is at the party. (He’s mention in this article.)

Don sees himself face down in a pool: A reference to Sunset Boulevard?

Ginsberg likens himself to Oppenheimer, quoting “Now I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds.”

Bob Benson is listening to How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling, a Dale Carnegie-inspired classic.

Ep 6:11: Favors
Ocean Spray

Model UN

Ted flies out of White Plains airport.

Arnie mentions Clarence Darrow.

Arnie fought at Pusan.

Ted references Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

Pete’s friend works at Union Carbide.

Mitchell discusses college with Jonesy, saying that Michigan is a Big 10 school, where Ron Kutchinski just ran the fastest half-mile in the world, and Kutchinski is going to be in the Olympics.

Julie says Mitchell is “Mark Lindsay.”

Pete intends to have dinner with his mother at La Granouille

One of the Chevy executives fishes in Muskoka, Ontario.

Jim Cutler has a son, Brendan, at Antioch.

In reference to Key West, Roger jokes about Hemmingway, marlin fishing, and suicide.

“You smell like Prell.”

Stan has a Moshe Dayan poster.

Ted has a friend who is a Brigadier General in the Air National Guard.

Ep 6:12: The Quality of Mercy
The Merchant of Venice, Act IV, Scene I [The quality of mercy is not strained]

Bataan Death March

Ralph Nader

This time vote like your whole world depends on it

The Patty Duke Show

Miss Porter’s School

Don references that Jackie Kennedy is now Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Rosemary’s Baby

Megan doesn’t like the old building in the movie, meaning The Dakota.

St. Joseph’s Children’s Aspirin

Pete calls Clara Annie Oakley.

Plop plop fizz fizz

The Queen Elizabeth

Don watches Dragnet.

Joan gets cookies from Ferrara’s

Cutler suggests golf at Piping Rock.

Ep 6:13: In Care Of
Pete says Detroit’s airport is like Calcutta.

Bewitched is on TV in the bar.

At the jail, the cop suggests Don belongs in Riker’s.

Cutler asks Peggy if she’s wearing Chanel No. 5.

At GM, Pete mentions dinner at the London Chop House.

Pete attempts to drive a Camaro Z28.

Don recalls reading about the Milton Hershey School.

Dorothy Campbell met her demise on the SS Sunset Princess, run by Universal Cruise Lines.


  14 Responses to “Cultural References: Season 6”

  1. I believe Mort Sahl was also on that episode of the Tonight Show. He would have been far more likely to make a joke about Vietnam than Milt Kamen, who has been described as a very traditional comic.

  2. Two other references you might want to add – Megan was carrying a bag from BonwitTeller in the elevator which was a famous department store in NYC. Herb referred to Roger as Silver Bells which is a Christmas Song that came out in the 1950s

  3. At the beginning of “The Crash,” when Roger and Cutler are playing checkers, Roger at one point says “Here come the judge.” I think that may be a line from “Laugh In,” but I’m not sure.

    Also, does anyone know about the phrase “Yankee Wrinkle” that Duck used in “The Better Half”?

    • How was the term Yankee a wrinkle used? I have forgotten.

      • When Pete has his “headhunter” meeting with Duck, he asks why Duck didn’t get himself a job like he did Burt Peterson. Duck, a bit surprised that Pete would ask about him, says “that’s a Yankee wrinkle. You’re interested in my business?”

    • .Found this on Google in a yachting magazine “Outing” Volume XXIII Issue 2 November 1893

      The article is called “The Voyage of the Vigilant” about the America’s Cup Race.

      The racers had been towed out to the
      lightship, attiring themselves on the way
      in fighting garb. There were battens in
      Valkyrie’s mainsail and there were battens
      in her jib; and when I read that the
      British yacht had in this respect taken
      advantage of a Yankee “wrinkle” I
      thought of old times at Wivenhoe and
      chuckled. All of us admired the set
      of Valkyrie’s sails, whose evolution we
      rightly ascribed to the lesson taught by
      America in 1851. But there was nobody

    • Don’t know about the “Yankee Wrinkle” but ‘here comes the judge’ was definitely on Laugh In.

    • I would have sworn “here come de judge” was from the Flip Wilson show – looks like it was Flip Wilson as a guest on Laugh In.

      (wikipedia rocks – it’s easy, but it rocks)

  4. Doctor DeBakey and Denton Cooley were prominent heart surgeons in Houston.

  5. […] In time for Season 7! The entire sixth season of Mad Men is fully documented. You have thirteen Mad Men Recaps, including careful attention to the dates on which each episode occurred, thirteen episodes worth of Quotations, every closing song and more in Music, and thirteen episodes of Cultural References. […]

  6. Ted: “Is that Chanel No. 5?”

    Peggy: “I’ts all I wear”

  7. Hi, The link for Jim Cutler’s son at Antioch should be to

    Your current link is to Antioch University, which wasn’t created until the 1970’s. Thanks!

  8. While Cutler does say, “Brendan is at Antioch,” he’s not talking about his own son, but rather about the GM exec’s kid. Note how the GM exec immediately says that Brendan is studying the classics, and makes several jokes about how frustrated he is at his kid’s academic choice. Roger also notes that Brendan can get a job with SC&P as long as GM is still a client.

    Also, Matt Weiner has said the the Vietnam War/ear necklace comedian was made up, not an actual comedian.

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