While Mad Men isn't ending with a direct D.B. Cooper twist, Matthew Weiner sure did Go There last night, with plenty of references to lives being recreated and started anew. And that opening scene, where a cop tells a dreaming Don: “You knew we’d catch up with you eventually." It was almost as if Weiner had filmed an entire D.B. Cooper ending and then scrapped it, turning one scene into this dream sequence instead. But enough about D.B. Cooper, here's a look at some information on the real life details we saw in last night's episode, titled "The Milk & Honey Route." SPOILERS AHEAD!
THE MILK & HONEY ROUTE
In the first season there was an episode called "The Hobo Code," where we get a Don flashback showing him as a young Dick Whitman at his father's farmhouse. A hobo shows up at the home, where he stays the night—he tells Don/Dick that "he's actually a traveler who gave up the conventional life to be free. He even shares the chalk codes, a symbol for good food or a nasty dog, that hobos write on the houses they pass." When he leaves the Whitman home he leaves the mark of a knife on their fence, meaning a dishonest man lives here.
Last night's episode was called The Milk & Honey Route, which is hobo speak for a railroad. "Any railroad running through a valley of plenty may be called a milk and honey line. But this is a transient term; what may be a milk and honey route to one hobo may not be so to another. A hobo may fare well on a route one time and another time fare ill." Learn more about the Milk & Honey Route here.
Pete is courted by Learjet, which earlier that year had a crash make headlines (PDF). The private aircraft company was popular in the 1960s, but by the '70s was seeing some fierce competition from Gulfstreams—according to THR, Frank Sinatra "famously ferried the Rat Pack between Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Palm Springs on his Lear Jet with the tail number N175FS; Elvis Presley borrowed it for a spin to elope with Priscilla Wagner to Vegas in 1967. Beginning in the '70s, Gulfstreams supplanted Lear Jets as the industry's trophy toys."
A move to the company would mean a move to Wichita for Pete (and family!), and as the Bowery Boys point out, this episode took place the same day as the Wichita State University football team was in a plane crash.
Friendly's first opened as an ice cream shop in 1935 by Prestley and Curtis Blake, who sold double-dip cones for 5 cents each in Springfield, Massachusetts. By 1974 there were 500 restaurants in the Northeast, and in 1979, the Blake brothers sold Friendly's to Hershey Foods Corporation, "which operated the chain as a wholly owned subsidiary." While the company has been on the decline lately, shutting down stores, there are still plenty near Cos Cob.
FLIP WILSON SHOW
Don's motel television breaks while he's watching the Flip Wilson Show—the hour-long variety show first aired on NBC on September 17th, 1970 (it lasted around 4 years). This episode, featuring Red Foxx, aired on October 1st, 1970, and also included guests Lily Tomlin, The Tempatations, and Roger Miller. The show filmed in Burbank, CA.
- Pete says he'll be making a donation to Lincoln Center, which was built between 1955 and 1969.
- While fixing the motel's typewriter, Don types out, "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." This phrase is a common typing exercise, and contains all of the letters of the alphabet.
- Here's what a later 1970s Coke machine looked like.
- Don is reading The Godfather, which was published in 1969, a few years before the it became a film. Other books we see on Don's bed are The Andromeda Strain (1969), and James Michener's Hawaii (1959). The woman by the pool was reading The Woman From Rome, a 1947 novel by Alberto Moravia. Meanwhile, back at school, Sally has a copy of The Adventures Of The American People history book.
- Here are the NY Times issues
UPDATE:Here's the story behind the motel Don was staying in.