Here's a close look at what unfolded in last night's episode of Mad Men (which took place around June of 1968)—from the New York State Thruway to margarine to the assassination of RFK—and how it all compares to real life:


Robert Kennedy was shot on June 5th after a speech he gave at The Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, the entire scene unfolded on television

Kennedy's body was brought to New York City's Patrick's Cathedral on the evening of June 6th—"the next day a line of mourners 25 blocks long waited to pass by his coffin. On Saturday morning, June 8, thousands attended a funeral Mass at St. Patrick's. The diverse collection of mourners listened to Leonard Bernstein conduct a Mahler symphony and Andy Williams sing Kennedy's favorite anthem, 'The Battle Hymn of the Republic.'"

There was an extension in the works around this time, which was controversial and eventually cancelled. Highway safety was also being promoted around this time, and "the Authority published a new pocket-sized Directory of Exits, listing 1,5000 New York State communities and the appropriate exits for reaching them." In July of 1968, extensive rehabilitation of the western portion of the New England Thruway was begun," and completed by November 27th.

"Next year," in 1969, the thruway will see some major traffic, when 100,000 people head up to Woodstock for the legendary music festival.

The team is working on a margarine campaign—during this era, margarine companies were competing to make the better tasting product. Also around this time, the margarine lobby was gaining power and eventually won their battle against main margarine restrictions, which were lifted in some states around 1967. Here's a commercial from the time that shows a hippie son and his straight-laced dad bonding over their enjoyment of one brand: Chiffon.

Don tells Sylvia to meet him at the Sherry-Netherland, which is (still) located at 781 Fifth Avenue at East 59th Street. This isn't the first time the hotel has appeared on the show, it's also where Roger would meet Jane before they got married. In October of 1968, a private club called Raffles will open in the basement of the Sherry-Netherland. Following its opening, Mel Heimer wrote: "Raffles has come into being more or less because General Motors just has put up a new building near the Plaza Hotel and they are expected to be all kinds of $100,000-a-year executives looking for such a layout." Maybe Don & Co. will get memberships through their Chevy deal.



One international affair is mentioned ("all of France is on fire") in the episode. In May of 1968, France was in a state of civil unrest, in the midst of a month of revolution when "millions of French workers joined protesting students in a general strike that paralyzed the country and nearly brought down the government."


lps0413.jpgSylvia is reading The Last Picture Show, a 1966 semi-autobiographical novel by Larry McMurtry. When it came out, the NY Times wrote: "Mr. McMurtry is not exactly a virtuoso at the typewriter.... But he knows his town and its folkways." The novel was adapted for a movie in 1971, directed by Peter Bogdanovich and starring Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd and Timothy Bottoms.

Last week Ted talked about Hazel, and in this episode he references another show that was off the air by 1968: Gilligan's Island. When did Ted stop watching television?

The Colony, an exclusive clubhouse at 30 East 61st Street frequented by the likes of Truman Capote, is also mentioned. Upon its closing in 1971, the NY Times printed on its front page a column about its demise: “I’ve spent my life here. This is like losing your home.”

Airlines are in the forefront of the show again, with mention of the firm's client Mohawk, and Ted flying a plane himself to go meet with them. Here's some cool footage that a 15-year-old took in 1968, of planes taking off at LaGuardia Airport: