Synopses & Reviews
Mad Men Unbuttoned
, footnotes to the show and the era, including these fascinating tidbits:
- Don Draper's character is based on the real-life Draper Daniels, protégé of Leo Burnett who started off as a copywriter and rose to creative director, eventually heading the team that launched the Marlboro Man.
- The iconic "Think Small" Volkswagen ad positioned the Beetle as an ugly but well-made car—a revolt against excess. Not only did unit sales top 500,000 cars a year, but the campaign succeeded in junking all the rules of car advertising.
- When barred from visiting Disneyland on a trip to the United States, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev threw a tantrum and left Los Angeles in a huff the very next day.
- The Group by Mary McCarthy, the novel Betty Draper is seen reading in the bathtub, transformed the way women viewed love, sex, and marriage.
- In 1947 Christian Dior showcased its revolutionary New Look line. Betty, Peggy, and the rest of the steno pool at Sterling-Cooper can be seen sporting the sloping shoulders, hourglass silhouettes, and billowing skirts of the New Look style.
"Entering its fourth season on July 25, AMC's critically acclaimed TV series Mad Men takes place on Madison Avenue during the early 1960s in the fictional Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce ad agency. Inspired by the TV series, L.A. freelance writer Vargas-Cooper launched a nicely designed and engaging blog, the Footnotes of Mad Men, to survey not only the show but also the real-world historical and cultural artifacts of that period. Now her attractive blog has been adapted into an equally attractive book. As Vargas-Cooper sees it, the series is 'about the culture clash and contradictions that occurred during the twilight of the Eisenhower era, the great societal shake-up of the 1960s' and its impact on modern America. She focuses on advertising, design, films, literature, politics, sex, style, and the workplace in order to probe 'the most dramatic cultural shift in the 20th century.' She begins by detailing all the series' regular characters and then moves on to profile real-life ad man Leo Burnett (Tony the Tiger, the Pillsbury Doughboy, the Marlboro Man), followed by everything from skinny ties, condoms, John Cheever and Frank O'Hara to Jackie Kennedy's White House tour on CBS and The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit. All are neatly linked with specific TV episodes, making this both an entertaining read and the definitive companion book for the series. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
Mad Men Unbuttoned is a visually arresting celebration of the cultural and artistic ephemera of the 1960s advertising age, the Mad Men era. Based on the popular blog, Mad Men Unbuttoned “nails the 1960s and the ad industry during this fascinating era,” and is “a good, fast, joyful read.” (Nina DiSesa, Chairman, McCann New York).
About the Author
After graduating from UCLA with a BA in history and working as a union organizer in L.A. and Washington, D.C., for a number of years, Natasha Vargas-Cooper began her writing career as a film critic for E! Entertainment. Her reporting, essays, and interviews have appeared in print and Web publications ranging from the Daily Beast, New York magazine, BlackBook, Gawker, and Interview. She is currently the Los Angeles correspondent for The Awl.