Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mad Men November 23, 1963

Following the intense Mad Men episode in which President Kennedy was assassinated, my friend Mike forwarded me the link to this article from The New York Times. In the article, "On Nov. 23, 1963, Some People Really Did Marry," the NYT City Room tracked down three people who, like Roger Sterling's daughter, had their weddings scheduled for the day after the assassination.

“This could have been an awful day,” said the character Roger Sterling on Sunday night’s episode of “Mad Men,” speaking to a half-empty wedding reception. “But here we are, not watching TV, but together watching the two of you.” (See related Arts Beat post.)

The outcome of the Sterling wedding was hotly anticipated among fans of the show ever since this season’s second episode, which was broadcast Aug. 23. In it, Margaret Sterling, the daughter of one of the guys with his name on the door at the Sterling Cooper ad agency, shows her father, Roger, the freshly minted invitation to her wedding, still months away: Nov. 23, 1963. The camera lingered on the invitation itself, inviting reality to dawn on the audience. The date is one day after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

In real life, of course, no one saw this coming. Real-life brides-to-be had watched as the day they had been planning for months was pulled out of their control, and the nation’s grief and confusion — Was there a plot? Were others still at large? — threatened to drown out their wedding bells completely.

City Room called up The New York Times from Sunday, Nov. 24, 1963, and had a look at the wedding announcements. Amid the pillbox-topped veils, the hair flips, the orchids and stephanotis, we found a few New Yorkers who were actually married the day the Sterling wedding was supposed to have taken place. At least some of the announcements were written before the actual wedding day, so there was no way of knowing whether every one of those weddings went off as planned.

To read the rest of the article by Michael Wilson click here