25 Things You Didn’t Know About “Mad Men” That Will Blow Your Mind
1. “Mad Men” was originally pitched to HBO — and they turned it down.
Bet they wish they hadn’t.
2. Glen is played by Matthew Weiner’s real-life son.
He’s not quite as creepy now that you know he’s the son of the show’s creator, is he? And yes, it’s Glen with one N.
3. 7 out of 9 writers on the show are women.
Take that, sexism of the Mad Men era!
4. Jon Hamm could have become famous for playing Jack Donaghy instead.
Can you imagine Mad Men without Jon Hamm? Or 30 Rock without Alec Baldwin? In 2009, Hamm told Entertainment Weekly that “I actually auditioned for the role of Jack Donaghy. … It was way early in the process. So somewhere on tape, there exists me talking about three kinds of heat.”
5. Mona, Roger Sterling’s ex-wife, is John Slattery’s wife in real life.
Before Slattery, Talia Balsam was married to none other than GEORGE CLOONEY from 1989 to 1993.
6. The toxic smog featured in the episode “Dark Shadows” really happened.
Megan tells Don, “The radio said there’s a smog emergency. The air’s toxic. I don’t want that in here.” In the world Matthew Weiner’s created, this is less about the historical reference point and much more about symbolism, however, the smog did cause real problems for real New Yorkers of the time.
The smoggiest day the city experienced that year was on November 24th (in Mad Men it’s mentioned as Megan is preparing Thanksgiving dinner), and there are varying reports that the smog killed anywhere from 169 to 400 people in the city that year.
7. The actress who played Mrs. Blankenship also played the Karate Kid’s mom.
Randee Heller is only 63, despite the fact that her character only survived six episodes on the show before keeling over at her desk.
8. The $19K that Peggy left the company for turns out to be equivalent to $131K today.
Not bad, Peggy. Not bad at all.
9. Freddy Rumsen is Bill Murray’s brother in real life.
His name is Joel Murray and he’s actually got quite a long acting resume.
10. Every episode of the show has been filmed in Los Angeles except for one.
The pilot was filmed in New York City. So yeah, last week’s scene at the Museum of Natural History? Filmed at the one in LA.
11. In the first episode of “Mad Men”, the photo of Trudy on Pete Campbell’s desk is not Alison Brie.
Because she had not been cast yet, it is a photo of Matthew Weiner’s mom.
12. It costs roughly $2.84 million to produce each episode.
Lions Gate Entertainment receives an estimated $2.71 million from AMC for each episode.
13. Sterling Cooper’s original building is the same as the UBS tower in the movie “Network”.
The 1976 film starred Faye Dunaway, Robert Duvall, and William Holden.
14. Jessica Pare recorded a full-length version of “Zou Bisou” and it went to #1 on Billboard’s World Music charts.
She told LA Weekly, “I never thought I would make a single, let alone an actual, physical record, because there’s a 7-inch vinyl out there too.”
15. Pete and Peggy’s baby was given up for adoption.
Matthew Weiner spoke to the Chicago Tribune in 2008 about it:
“I mislead the audience all over the place, and that’s the fun of the show. I give out little bits of information at a time and then play on that,” he said.
But was he clear about the fact that Peggy’s sister is not raising Peggy’s son. He said the child was given up for adoption.
16. The show paid $250K to use The Beatles iconic song “Tomorrow Never Knows” in an episode.
Weiner told the times, “It was always my feeling that the show lacked a certain authenticity because we never could have an actual master recording of the Beatles performing. It always felt to me like a flaw. Because they are the band, probably, of the 20th century.”
17. Robert Morse starred in the original 1967 movie “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”
Yes, that’s what a young Bert Cooper looks like.
18. The show became the first basic-cable show to be nominated for Best Drama at the Emmy Awards in 2008.
Alongside Damages, who was also nominated in the same category that year.
19. Though Don and Harry were trying to get the Rolling Stones to endorse Heinz beans, The Who released an album in 1967 that features Roger Daltry bathing in them.
20. The “Mad Men” theme song is by RJD2.
The song is called “A Beautiful Mine” and you can listen to the full version here.
21. Much of season 3 revolves around a commercial parody of “Bye Bye Birdie” – the nickname Don has for Betty. By the end of the season, they divorced.
…Literally saying “Bye Bye” to his “Birdie”.
22. In real life, Vincent Kartheiser lives “off the grid”.
In an interview with The Guardian, the man who plays Pete Campbell suggested that he doesn’t have much money, a TV, or even a toilet:
I have been in a slow process of selling and giving away everything I own. Like, I don’t have a toilet at the moment. My house is just a wooden box. I mean I am planning to get a toilet at some point. But for now I have to go to the neighbours. I threw it all out.
23. Christina Hendricks originally auditioned for the role of Midge.
Can you even imagine Sterling Cooper without her?
24. All those cigarettes? Fake.
Thanks to California state law that forbids smoking in the workplace, the cast puffs on herbal cigarettes instead.
25. The father of Jared Harris (Lane Pryce) is Richard Harris — the man who played the original Dumbledore.
Harris played Professor Albus Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter movies (The Sorcerer’s Stone and The Chamber Of Secrets) but died in 2002.