If watching Mad Men fills me with a certain unease about my failure to detect the winds of change until they were already blowing the aluminum ash trays off the TV trays, it also fills me with delight and nostalgic longing. Not for that world run by white men, but for its trappings.
Giddy pleasure is what I feel when entering this virtual environment with its cars, furniture, movies and music--all the sights and sounds that remind me of my late teens and twenties. Even the Draper-Pryce office full of clattering electric typewriters (Selectrics, possibly?) recalls a summer job when I was seconded to fill in for a vacationing stenographer. ("I'm not that good", I told my boss. "You'll be fine", he assured me. And I was.)
I also experience a frisson of familiarity when specific products are pitched by the ad agency and I am pleasantly surprised at how many I recognize, because in 60s-era Alberta we were in a retail no-man's-land, or that is how it felt. But even in the wilds of Western Canada I would have been able to buy Heinz Beans or Ponds Cold Cream -- had I been interested. And I was a certainly a consumer of Clearasil and Mountain Dew, although Jantzen bathing suits ("just wear a smile and a Jantzen") were, alas, beyond my budget.
Not every Draper-Pryce ad campaign plucks the strings of memory, but older viewers who see the wonderful episode where Don is inspired to name the circular slide projector Carousel, will give a little sigh as they reminisce about "slide show" evenings. We all owned stacks of Carousel trays full of slides that we inflicted on patient friends and family.
Bruce and I still have our boxes of slides but our slide projector disappeared sometime in the 90s. Never mind. EBay exists for people like us who suddenly have retro needs and longings. (Too bad I no longer lust after an authentic 60's Jantzen bathing suit.) Our new,/old eBay Carousel projector is now at the ready, just waiting for me to sort the slides in preparation for an evening of personal time travel. Don would be so pleased.