Mad Men episode and the “Career Girls” Murder
I’m old enough to actually remember that prehistoric era portrayed in Mad Men (1963). This program has excellent acting, plot twists, character development — but the best part is that early ‘60s feel. They capture that period so thoroughly, right down to the last detail — you’re THERE. From ten to eleven p.m. on Sunday evenings, the clock gets turned back forty-six years.
American Dreams had that same quality, especially their first season. That program was about an extended family in Philadelphia, also in 1963. (The show ran from 2002 to 2005.)
Both of those shows use hundreds of minute details to portray that era. People’s haircuts/hairstyles, “current” slang and dialogue, clothing styles, homes and furniture, cars (obviously), and brief snippets of TV shows, newscasts and “current” radio hits — it’s like the last 46 years haven’t happened yet.
American Dreams, in particular, made heavy use of then-popular radio hits in the background. Sometimes it would be a minor hit that I hadn’t heard in decades, and I’d be so busy thinking “wait, I remember that, who was that, it was…” that I’d miss some of the dialogue.
In last Sunday’s Mad Men episode, somebody’s car radio was playing a small part of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech that he made during the March on Washington (August ‘63). After a few sentences, the news shifted and there was a brief “and two women in New York’s Upper East Side were found murdered in their apartment.” And then somebody either turned off the radio or changed the station.
But I knew exactly which murder case the radio announcer was talking about. It was all over the news for weeks on end, at least in the Northeast where I was living at the time. I hadn’t thought of that incident in decades, and Id forgotten that it happened on the same day as the March on Washington.
Two “career girls” (when was the last time anybody used that phrase) were stabbed to death in their apartment. Here’s a link to that story.
Can’t wait until next week’s Mad Men episode to see what ancient memories get jarred.