Mad Men is one of the most decorated and well-known shows of the modern era. During its seven-season run, the show was giving high ratings and accrued a rather large and dedicated viewership. And though the engaging and dynamic characters, captivating plot lines, and addictive nature of the drama contributed to the show's success, one of the reasons why the show was so well done was the amount of effort that was put into the little details.
The tiny, minuscule, and hard to notice details that most fans completely glance over during their first watch of the show. And though most of these hidden details did go unnoticed during the shows original run, many fans have begun to rewatch and dissect the show and, by doing so, they have discovered the true attention to detail that was put into each and every scene. This article will explore some of the more hidden details from the beloved show Mad Men that most fans did not even notice during their first- or even third- watch.
10 Costumes Reflected Historical Weather Patterns
Not only were their costumes truly historically accurate and reflective of fabrics, styles, and trends of the time period in which the show was set. But the costumes were actually reflective of weather patterns as well. The crew researched weather trends for the years and seasons in which the show was set and reflected that in the costumes.
Episodes set in years which were recorded to have hotter winters than normal, found their costumes lighter and more suitable to a milder season than episodes which occurred during record lows. The same is true with episodes that were set to take place during unseasonably cold weather. Though most fans may have never noticed the effort put into this detail, it was still truly appreciated and just goes to show the level of dedication that the showrunners and crew had for their work.
9 No Real Alcohol or Cigarettes On Set
Though the showrunners, crew, and prop department that came together to create the beloved show known as Mad Men prided themselves on their historical accuracy, they also had to consider the health and safety of their actors. Which is why none of the alcohol nor cigarettes which can be seen on screen in nearly every scene were real. Alcohol was often substituted with juices or even colored water, as in common in the film and television industry, and the cigarettes were merely props. Using prop cigarettes helps with creating a consistent scene after numerous takes as it will not need to be replaced as it burns down to the base. And will also prevent the actors from the consequences of smoking ten packs a day in order to get through every take needed to complete each and every scene.
8 Don Draper Was Based On A Real Person
There are many aspects of the show Mad Men which are truly historically accurate to the time in which the show was set. From the casual prejudices, the ways in which women are treated both in the workplace and the home, to the costumes used in each and every scene.
The crew did their best to ensure that their show was accurate to the time in which it was portraying. And one of the biggest pieces taken from the past was the character of Don Draper himself. The character of Don Draper was inspired by the real-life man named Draper Daniels. Draper Daniels was also an ad man. He is best known for creating the Malboro Man campaign during his career and for being a rather casanova when it comes to the women. Though that is where the similarities end as Draper was a far more lurid man than his namesake (especially as the show delves into its later seasons.)
7 Historically Accurate Props At All Times
If one is going to make a period piece, then one has to do their research and do it right. Though many people tend to ignore the props and the background when they are watching a television show (especially one as dramatic and captivating as Mad Men,) the crew did not let that lack of attention allow them to slack off when it comes to historical accuracy. From the xerox machine in the office to the packaging used for cleaning products and take-out meals, the crew ensured that every item in the background was accurate to the time period in which the show was set.
6 Only The Pilot Was Shot in NYC
Though the show was set in New York, the actors of the show rarely even set foot in New York for work whilst filming the long-running show. At least- not after the pilot. Yes, the pilot episode was the only episode that was filmed in New York City- the place in which the show was set.
Like most television shows, Mad Men was filmed in a studio in Los Angeles, California. Let's hope that the sets were air-conditioned as the idea of wearing those heavy costumes under all of those lights in the Los Angeles heat sounds like an absolute nightmare.
5 No Name Was Accidental
Very few things in film and television are accidental. Writing a show takes a lot of effort and collaboration, so very few things happen for little to no reason. And that is true for the names of the characters which make up the cast of Mad Men. Betty Draper brings her ex-husbands middle name 'Francis' with her into her new relationship after changing her name to match that of her new beau; showing that she will never truly be able to shake off her ex. She also goes by several different nicknames and legal name changes during her life, which many believe to be hinting at her unstable identity and insecurities which the character struggles with during the show. Peter Campbell's surname was said to be a reference to the beloved Warhol Campbell Soup Cans painting.
4 Realistic And Highly Detailed Sets
It can be truly frustrating to put a large amount of effort into something that no one notices. But the crew that makes up the prop department for the show Mad Men are not privy to such petty frustrations. The level of effort and detail that they put into the sets of the show is truly unmatched in modern television.
The office sets were some of the most detailed sets in the show. Every single secretaries desk included a small Rolodex in which each and every card was filled out with addresses and contact information. Their desks also contained documents formatted and filled out to appear like real notices, letters, and memos in order to create the illusion of a truly functional office.
3 Only Small Fruit Was Used
This is one of the more bizarre details included in the show and one that requires a bit of explanation. The crew ensured that no overly shiny or large fruit was used in any of the scenes in Mad Men. This is due to the fact that fruit of the time in which the show was set did not appear like the modern fruit we have today. Our fruit has been modified and selectively bred in order to appear much larger and shinier that fruit of the past. The crew wanted every detail to be as accurate as possible so they ensured that all fruit used was as accurate to historical proportions as possible.
2 Profanity Was Limited
It seems truly odd that a show with some of the content that Mad Men includes would have to watch their profanity. But due to the shows rather low rating (in terms of the MPAA film rating system) and the network in which the show was owned by, the writers were limited in their curse word usage for each episode.
It is important to note that the show was originally pitched to HBO, which would have allowed for a lot more freedom concerning content and profanity, but the network declined to pick up the show. During one's next rewatch, try to count the curse words in each episode. For the limit was quite low considering the rather mature content of many episodes.
1 Credit Songs Stayed True To The Era
At the end of each episode, the credits roll into the tune of a song that often reflects the events of the episode or the tone in which it ends. But it is also important to note that these songs were, for the most part, taken from the year in which the selected episode took place. Though there are a few episodes which include songs from neighboring years in order to best fit the theme of the events that transpired before the credits rolled, the songs never vary beyond the time period in which the show was set. Which is truly a wonderful choice as few things are as jarring to the audience as a period film with a modern soundtrack.