In my freshman year at Vassar College, I remember seeing this senior with very, very long, very straight blonde hair, flying every which way, hair first, rushing 'round the Drama Department, here, there, and everywhere.
Who was this whirlwind? It was Meryl Streep in The London Merchant. I was on...
Who will dare to ask tonight's debating Republican presidential candidates in Cleveland, "Will you make fixing the national debt a priority in year one of your presidency, if elected?"
The national debt affects job growth; it affects wage levels. It affects economic recovery.
The bipartisan City Club of Cleveland, the nation's longest continuously operating free speech forum, hosted a discussion panel on fixing the debt this morning with Eaton Chairman and CEO Alexander Cutler and Maya MacGuineas, President of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, moderated by Inside Business Managing Editor Jennifer Keirn.
According to promotional materials for this event on the City Club of Cleveland's website, the national debt has grown from 35% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2007 to 74% today. If the US continues at this pace, it's projected to exceed the entire economy in the 2030's. Mind-numbing!
The budget defines everything else a president does. It's a long term problem that cannot be fixed in one year. But it needs to be put on top of the agenda and dealt with in year one of a new presidency, the panelists maintained.
Ladies and Gentlemen, who would be president, start your engines.......
Matt Weiner interviewed by his sister Allison Hope-Weiner
Jon Hamm, as Don Draper, deserves a happy ending. Not what he got. No woman to call his own.
Don was no more promiscuous than Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) and Roger Sterling (John Slattery), both given shots at happier-ever-after.
Arguably, Draper is a better man than Pete or Roger on all counts. Adopted at birth, the son of a prostitute, father unknown, Don has had to pull himself up by his bootstraps. Dartmouth man Pete Campbell and Roger Sterling, son of the name partner in Sterling Cooper, have far fewer excuses for their moral lapses and serial adultery. Don has shown a lot of growth and compassion for others during the course of the series. Roger and Pete? Not so much.
Is Stan sloppy seconds? Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss), whom Don promoted out of the secretarial pool, not-so-secretly longs for him. Her co-worker Stan Rizzo (Jay R. Ferguson) knows it, and says so in the office finale, shortly before he locks lips with her.
Really thought Don would end up with Peggy as he confesses his sins to her in a person-to-person call from California. Notice how the title of the final episode, came to be "Person to Person," as this blog predicted. Don places three person-to-person long distance calls in the final episode.
Ironic, Don's confession to cradle Catholic Peggy, considering her stubborn refusal to confess her out-of-wedlock birth to a priest, wonderfully portrayed by Tom Hanks' eldest son, Colin Hanks. It was no secret to the priest what had happened.
And why no Don flying back east to spend time with wife #1, played by January Jones? Instead, we get a person-to-person phone call to exchange last words in this earthly life? Very disappointing, especially since there are obviously still strong feelings between Don and his Birdie. Where's their final passionate good-bye kiss with perhaps the Ann-Margret song, "Bye, Bye Birdie" from an earlier Mad Men episode, playing in the background?
What we got was Don and Betty crying long distance together at the unfairness of Betty's cancerous twist of fate. Seems cruel, no touching last good-bye. Plus, let's not forget Jon and January had great chemistry.
The last shot we see of Betty, shows her sitting alone at the kitchen table, chain-smoking. Perhaps, what's meant by the title of the series pilot, "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes."
For smoke gets in Betty's eyes, preventing her from seeing and thinking clearly, like her decision to leave her three children in the custody of her battling brother and sister-in-law, as if they can do a better job parenting than biological dad, Don. That couple can't even take care of themselves. Constant conflicts with Betty and each other. Bickering over finances. Making decisions based on greed and their desire to shore up their own assets, the heck with the best interests of the children.
Left unanswered. Is Don expected to pay Betty's brother child support for wresting his three children away from him?
Don't count on a judge ruling for Betty's brother. Especially if Don remarries. Maybe Don and divorced wife #2, Megan Draper (Jessica Pare), will get back together. After all, Don's business partner, Roger Sterling is marrying Megan's mother, Marie Calvet (Julia Ormond).
It's a crying shame Roger didn't marry Joan Harris (Christina Hendricks), mother of their son, Kevin, choosing to break her heart instead. Leaving Joan and Don alone. That's right. Don and Joan alone.
What should happen next? SPOILER ALERT: Don is smiling in the closing scene because he's NOT going back to McCann Erickson. How could he? And Don didn't do the Coke ad. Don is smiling because he is going to accept Joan's partnership, the one Peggy turned down. The series' heartthrobs, together at last. Remember, Joan and Don nearly got together one Christmas over drinks at a bar. To be continued. The Mad Men sequel's title? Mad Women, Mad Men. In that order.
The genius of Wesleyan/USC-educated Matt Weiner's Mad Men is it doesn't focus on the hippie drug culture as so many shows about the 60's have. Mad Men is about what "the great silent majority" of Americans, a term coined by President Nixon, actually did in the 60's, which wasn't dropping out. It was about putting on a suit every day, going to work, doing their jobs, paying their bills, raising their children, filling out their 1040s, and showing up at the polls to vote when election time came around.
For those of us who lived through it, if the vast majority of Americans had dropped out during the 60's, we'd all be speaking Russian now. Our economy would not have supported the majority of Americans, adopting a hippies life style. It would have collapsed.
The business of America is business, and Mad Men did a terrific job of portraying the advertising business as a microcosm of American society.
We need and deserve a better Mad Men ending though for Don, not Don in preppy garb, sitting cross-legged on a grassy knoll in the Golden State, chanting. This articulate ad man's last words to viewers were "Om, om...." Too out of character. Too much of a departure from who he is to close the series.
Otherwise, with no sequel series, or at least a feature film, we are left with the mad men memory of 70's bad hair days and mutton chop sideburns in perpetuity. Not a lovely legacy.
And that Coca-Cola ending? Been there. Done that.
As Lathrop dorm social chairman at Vassar sophomore year, I snail mailed to nearby men's colleges mixer posters drawn by a group of us, sitting for hours with colored pens and paper, spread out on the floor of a classmate's room. Email had yet to be invented. The posters parodied Coca- Cola's "It's the Real Thing" campaign: "Vassar The Real Thing: Why Settle for Less?" A dig at the other Seven Sister colleges, competing for the same pool of men. And it worked. Thanks, Coke! Too many guys showed up. We didn't run out of beer or Coke, but we ran out of women! And I was summoned to the dean's office, another story for another day.
Attribution of that iconic Coca-Cola ad to Don Draper falls flat, fizzling out because we all know Don Draper didn't create it. There are real people in real life like Bill Backer and Harvey Gabor responsible for that spot. To attribute it to Don, and Don alone, asks for too much of a suspension of disbelief from Mad Men viewers.
"The Making of 'I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke' " by Ted Ryan from Coca- Cola Company website , January 1, 2012.
A schmaltzy sequence to tie up loose ends with music underneath, makes no sense for Mad Men, either. Not that kind of show.
Mad Men's closing sequence made me feel as if I were watching Yale Prof. Erich Segal's bestseller, Love Story from 1970, made into a film, with Ryan O'Neal and Ali McGraw, lying on their backs, waving their arms back and forth, making angel wings in the snow, or eating popcorn popped on a hallway hotplate at Vassar, then squeezing into the dorm's tiny TV room near the White Angel's desk, watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show Saturday nights when we weren't at Yale or Princeton, just waiting for Mary to toss her beret! That's not Mad Men. That's another story. Mine.
Lonna Saunders is Class Historian for Vassar's first coed freshman class and has served as Class Correspondent for the "Vassar Quarterly" and as a class officer. She is working on a book and screenplay about her historic college experiences. Lonna may be reached at...
Blogging for the The Huffington Post going on six years with some of those blog posts showing up in Vassar's Media Roundup for alums online, little did I know my alma mater was considering Arianna Huffington as a commencement speaker. I...
If you're going to kill off Betty Draper Francis played by one of my Mad Men faves, January Jones, on Mother's Day, could it at least be done to the 1965 Billboard chart topper, "A Taste of Honey" by Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass?
Especially since this next-to-last epsiode of the 8-year series is titled, "The Milk and Honey Route." OK, the milk and honey route may refer to a preferred hobo mode of travel in the 1961 book by sociologist Nels Anderson, The Hobo: The Sociology of the Homeless Man, not Alpert's bestselling album, Whipped Cream & Other Delights, but still....
As it is, we have Betty's politico husband, Henry (Christopher Stanley), chastising her not to be "morose" about her cancer, but he may as well have been telling us viewers, not to be morose. Since we learned of her diagnosis at the same time she did, hearing some anesthetizing music would have been nice to dull the pain. I mean, I cried. Where's my Don and Betty happy ending? PS I have been waiting for it for 8 years!
The whipped cream model, Dolores Erickson, a native of Seattle, started her career in 1952. Wearing shaving cream and chiffon in this shot, she was also three months pregnant.
Remembering my own mother on Mother's Day, mom's nickname is "Honey," and my recently departed godmother, whose husband's nickname is "Honey," I was hoping for a sweeter, more nostalgic Mother's Day Mad Men episode. Not this, with Don Draper (Jon Hamm), getting beat up with a fat phone book in a Midwest motel room, not by a woman, by angry drunken WWII and Korean War vets.
At the end of the episode, Don still doesn't know, Betty's been diagnosed with lung cancer, is refusing treatment, and has been given less than a year to live.
Meanwhile, arguably the least likeable character on the show, Dartmouth man Pete Campbell, played admirably by Vincent Kartheiser, gets the happily-ever-after ending, reuniting with his divorced wife, Trudy (Alison Brie) in a Wizard of Oz Dorothy moment, as they Learjet off to Kansas to get a house with tornado speed. This may also be a case of art imitating life, since Vincent married another actress on the show, Alexis Bledel, in real-life last year.
For those of us wishing for a happy ending finale next week or at least an easy landing, it looks as if it is not to be, featuring a funeral finale, minus Don, most likely. He doesn't know Betty's gone, so he'll have an operator call her long distance "person-to-person" in the final scene, done in those days, so you didn't have to pay for the long distance call if the person with whom you wished to speak, wasn't there. Hence, the finale's title, "Person to Person."
Mad Men debuted six weeks after a parent's funeral, coming at the right time in my life, for when I watched it on Sunday nights, I felt as if we were still together as a family, and I was Sally, my brothers Gene and Bobby, and we'd all be going to Becker's Donuts on Lorain Road in Fairview Park, Ohio for a baker's dozen of 13 donuts, gobbled down, gulping milk. That was our Sunday supper.
Mom had knocked herself out earlier in the day making a pot roast with Idaho potatoes, carrots, sometimes sauerkraut if the roast was pork, and not beef. She'd put it in the oven all in one pot, before morning Mass, and then it would be done when we got home around 1 p.m. as she whipped up some gravy from pan drippings, cornstarch, water and a teaspoon or two of Gravy Master, a staple in most kitchens, coming in a tiny, glass triangular-shaped bottle. I peeled the potatoes and carrots for the meal. My brothers didn't help because that was considered "women's work."
A fitting bookend, Mad Men wraps up the very weekend my urban planner niece Jacqueline graduates from Bryn Mawr College, not coincidentally, Betty Draper Francis' alma mater. Wonder how many others applied to Bryn Mawr because of that Mad Men connection. Jackie had been accepted at three Seven Sisters, and I know for her Mad Men fan father paying the tuition, that was the tipping point.
Now with Mad Men's finale just days away, whatever will we watch on Sunday nights to start off the week? They were bad and mad, sad we are, they'll be no more.
Lonna Saunders may be reached at...
It was May 4, 1970. We were high school seniors in Greater Cleveland, when Kent State exploded on a Monday, a mere 45 miles away, 45 years ago. Four students killed, nine wounded by National Guard gunfire. It's as if it were yesterday.
"How could this happen in America?,"...
Finally, a court has ruled in favor of the women victims of long-ago rapes and sexual assaults. A South African judge has convicted a one-time mixed doubles tennis partner of America's Billie Jean King of rape and sexual assault decades after the incidents occurred.
Judge Bert Bam said he...
To House Democrats, Democratic Senators, your taxpaying constituents pay your salaries for you to show up.
Whatever you think of the man, you need to honor and respect his office. Benjamin Netanyahu is the head of state of Israel our longtime, most loyal ally in the Mideast.
The #AskHerMore twitter campaign highlighted at last night's 87th Academy Awards by Reese Witherspoon and others, points out the disparity in the types of questions asked of the 44 women nominees compared with those asked of their male counterparts. Ask her more than who she's wearing, in particular, what causes...
Snowbound in the Big Apple? Try a bite of your favorite Warren Beatty flicks. Get out your DVD collection or surf Netflix. Here are mine. Agree or disagree. What are yours?
Reds (1981). An epic three-hour drama with intermissions. Music by Stephen Sondheim. Shows why communism/socialism never caught on in the USA. As someone who majored in Political Science and minored in Drama at Dartmouth and Vassar, it's not only the politics of the film but the drama that intrigues. It has the most romantic close-up of a kiss/embrace ever between Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton. That embrace graces the movie poster, but it is even better on screen. Beatty won the Academy Award for Best Director. A surprise Henry Miller cameo appearance, the author most known for his once banned book, Tropic of Cancer , discusses artistic freedom as himself, a witness.
Splendor in the Grass (1961). Directed by Elia Kazan. A film for parents, grandparents, teens. Beatty makes his film debut opposite Natalie Wood, receiving her first Best Actress nomination. The moral issues still relevant today, if not more so in this age of AIDS. Ohio native, comedienne trailblazer Phyllis Diller and Sandy Dennis of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Up the Down Staircase, making her film debut alongside Beatty's.
Dick Tracy (1990). Three Academy Award wins, including Best Song, composed by Stephen Sondheim, sung by Madonna. Producer/Director Beatty, who plays Dick Tracy, brought out the best in Madonna, her finest film acting. The ending unmasked, quite startling, worth price of the pic. Rounding out all-star cast is Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, James Caan, Paul Sorvino, Mira's father. The look of the sets, vibrant primary colors, make it seem as if the actors have just stepped off the pages of the comic strip. Beatty is said to have learned to read at age four as his dad read the strip aloud to him.
Love Affair (1994), released after Beatty married Annette Bening, starring both. Art imitates life in this one. Charming remake of a remake of a remake. First up in black-and-white, were Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer, followed by a change of title to An Affair to Remember with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, then Nora Ephron's homage atop the Empire State Building with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in Sleepless in Seattle (1993). Holding the record with four Oscar wins, Katharine Hepburn at age 86 in her final movie role, a doting aunt's swan song, ducking nothing.
Town & Country (2001). Opening scene Natassja Kinski in the forefront sans serpent, her back to the camera, showing off her musical tattoos while playing the cello for the in-bed Beatty. Two of my nephews signed up for cello lessons shortly thereafter. Andie MacDowell of Hallmark's Cedar Cove, Emmy winner Gary Shandling, Academy Award winning Diane Keaton, Dharma and Greg's Jenna Elfman, Laugh-In's Goldie Hawn, former NRA president Charlton Heston, true-to-form toting a rifle, all turn in first-rate performances as Warren Beatty gets his comeuppance, up on the rooftop!
These are my Warren Beatty favorite flick picks. What are yours?
Lonna Saunders may be reached at email@example.com...
Snowbound? Here, near the Illinois and Wisconsin border, or in Chicagoland, there are some 18 inches of snow. Freezing drizzle, ice, subzero actual temps and a lot of wind chill.
Are you planning on staying indoors? Get out your DVD collection, or surf Netflix. Here are my favorite Warren...
How many of our fathers, uncles, grandfathers, great-grandfathers fought in the Battle of the Bulge in WWII seventy years ago?
Let's not forget the war efforts of the distaff side, our mothers, aunts, grandmothers, great-grandmothers.
Vassar classmate Caroline Cleinman's mother, Clara Ofenloch McCormack and Aunt Caroline Ofenloch, for whom...
I was in seventh grade in Cleveland when the images of Selma, Alabama in what came to be known as Bloody Sunday, flashed across my parents' black-and-white television screen on March 7, 1965.
Rev. Hosea Williams, played by Wendell Pierce in the film, and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) led...
What a gorgeous film directed by Brit James Marsh! The Theory of Everything should win everything as awards season gets underway. The world's leading theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking even provided his Equalizer computerized voice for the film, based on his first wife's memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen...
It's not easy being #1 in the radio ratings in a town like Chicago. Especially when competing against some 60 other stations.
Yet the Doug Banks Show in the afternoons on WVAZ-FM, gets it done with a mix of rhythm and blues, dusties, soul, slow and...
As we observe the hundredth anniversary of the start of the First World War this Veterans Day, a popular song from that era, "Keep the Home-Fires Burning" by Ivor Novello with lyrics by Lena Gilbert Ford, comes to mind.
My maternal grandmother, Marie Theresa Newman, who died on...
Why have early voting? Why have absentee ballots? Why allow provisional ballots? If they are not going to be included in the final tally on election night before one candidate concedes and the other proclaims victory?
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn was right in not conceding last night to his...
We met as students at Northwestern University School of Law. Pat Quinn was the guy attending classes in shirt and tie while the rest of us were wearing jeans because he always had somewhere to go when class ended. Always working. Always in motion. "Does this guy ever sleep?," many...
I just completed binge watching all seven seasons of The West Wing on Netflix a few days ago on my nephew Joel's fifteenth birthday, not having seen it on NBC when it first aired and noting the series was now celebrating its 15 year anniversary, having debuted on...