Tuesday, August 3, 2010

TV of the 60s

Mad Men, the AMC TV series centered around an early 1960s Madison Avenue advertising agency, is widely praised for its spot-on depiction of the era’s mores, current and changing. The show’s attention to detail, at least for those of us who lived through that time, is uncanny. Aside from being old enough to enjoy that perspective, I can personally validate the sartorial eye of costume designer Janie Bryant’s selections, at least for the male cast members.

It went by in a flash during Sunday night’s episode about the ad agency’s Christmas party. Buxom redhead Joan walked into the party. I immediately hit the pause and rewind buttons. There, unable to take his eyes off her, was the agency’s young art director wearing a burgundy tuxedo jacket with vertical and horizontal black stripes. That was my Bar-Mitzvah jacket!

How did Janie Bryant find that jacket? Did she secretly visit my house and look through my Bar-Mitzvah album? Of course she didn’t. Besides, my album is in black and white. How would she have known the jacket was burgundy?

Just one more reason I am a big fan of Mad Men...

Federal Offense: Mitch Miller died Saturday. He was 99, considered by many a genius of music, and by others an old fogy of music (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/03/arts/music/03miller.html?_r=1&hpw). I will always remember him as the cause of one of my biggest arguments with my brother and father.

Sing Along with Mitch aired on NBC between 1961 and 1964. My father and older brother Bernie really enjoyed that show. I, on the other hand, preferred ABC’s counter-programming—The Untouchables. Since we had but one TV in our pre-VCR or DVR home, someone was going to be disappointed each week.

One particular week I was not to be denied. I screamed and yelled and cried (hey, I wasn’t even a teenager at the time of this story, so cut me some slack, willya). I made enough noise to drown out any hopes Bernie and our father had to enjoy the gang singing along with Mitch. Of course, by the time they finally gave in, Eliot Ness was already deep into his crime-fighting episode. Frank Nitti could have already been arrested, or better yet, machine gunned, by the time I was able to switch the TV to Channel 7.

Our confrontations lasted through The Untouchables’ last season in 1963. After that, we all watched the bouncing ball above the words on the screen and sang along with Mitch. Who knew Mitch was training a generation of karaoke singers?

Mom Says It Best: In this case, it’s Finley’s mother, Allison.

“Fathers, Lock Up Your Daughters, Because Finley’s on the Move,” she reported in a weekend post of her blog, Http://findingfinley.blogspot.com. Our 8-1/2 month old grandson is officially crawling. Here’s proof: http://findingfinley.blogspot.com/2010/08/and-away-he-goes.html.