Sunday marks the end of AMC’s “Mad Men,” which, for a lot of us, marks the end of the 1960s – again.
For those of us who lived through that era as an adult or a child, it was the small touches that made the show stunningly accurate. From parents smoking Lucky Strikes and Salems in the car with the windows rolled up while the kids gagged, to men wearing Countess Mara ties sitting in the plaid-wallpaper-and-knotty-pine kitchen, no detail was left unexplored.
But now it’s coming to a close, in 1971. Probably a fitting time, really. I think of the ’60s era as we know it extending from 1959, when the original seven Mercury astronauts were announced, to 1971, when cigarette commercials broadcast on television were ended.
There has been ceaseless speculation about how the show’s creator, Matthew Weiner, will conclude the series. Will Don Draper, the 5-o’clock-shadowy, angst-ridden, womanizing protagonist, become D.B. Cooper, the legendary hijacker who parachuted out of a 727 just outside Portland, Ore.?
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Or will Don finally come to his senses, move to California (of course) and remake himself once more with his children in tow? After all, California is the Reset State.
We’ll find out Sunday, but I do have my own theories of what will happen to the characters.
Don Draper: Drives to California, sends for his children, moves to Los Angeles with several million dollars. He takes the money and obtains senior water rights, buys a massive almond orchard and becomes even wealthier. He then goes back to his original identity as “Dick Whitman” and marries a woman named Meg, who then goes on to become Meg Whitman. Driven to quit smoking by California’s relentless anti-smoking campaign, he gets healthy and retires to Silicon Valley, where he gets involved with his secret illegitimate son Tim Draper’s “Six Californias” campaign. The initiative wins because Don is an advertising genius.
Joan Holloway: Takes her paltry $250,000 severance from McCann Erickson and buys a 1,300-square-foot house in San Francisco, with cash. Sells it 40 years later for $7.8 million.
Pete Campbell: Moves to Wichita, Kan., with Trudy and daughter. Gets bored with Wichita after two weeks; flies Learjet to Sacramento. Notices there isn’t any public art, so funds a massive suspended red rabbit sculpture.
Peggy Olson: Sick of New York winters, she moves to California. Realizes her true calling isn’t advertising, but lobbying. She buys a home in Curtis Park and starts hanging out at Frank Fat’s, dates Willie Brown and learns the ins and outs of Sacramento power hitting. She meets Jerry Brown in 1974 and volunteers for his campaign. Brown appoints her to the Board of Equalization, where no one notices what she’s been doing for 30 years. She retires, and is currently fighting the Curtis Park Village 16-pump gas station.
Roger Sterling: Adrift and bored as a senior account executive at McCann, drops acid again and realizes he needs to move to Marin County. He loses the three-piece suits, grows his hair and starts a religious cult called “Sterlingtology.” He makes several billion dollars and invests in a winery in Napa with Gavin Newsom. He then takes Newsom under his wing and gets him involved in politics. In 2017, Newsom realizes politics isn’t for him and goes into advertising in New York City. His look fits in perfectly.