“Booze, business cards and cigarettes.” Okay fine, it’s not as catchy as “Mad Men.” But judging from the period props the AMC series donated to the Smithsonian on Friday (a bottle of Stolichnaya, Sterling Cooper business cards, and a pack of Lucky Strikes, among other objets d’art), the booze title could work.
It also makes for a slightly awkward moment.
Jon Hamm, who stars in the ’60s-period drama as ad exec Don Draper, very recently completed a 30-day stint in rehab for alcoholism and then immediately jumped on the runaway “Mad Men” train, including Friday’s stop in Washington. The critically acclaimed show begins its seventh and final season on April 5.
Somehow Hamm, along with fellow cast members John Slattery and Christina Hendricks, and “Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner, managed to not look pained as the booze punchlines kept coming.
Dwight Bowers, the entertainment curator at National Museum of American History, joked that the “ever popular” Stolichnaya bottle and glassware from Draper’s personal bar cart were the “fuel of the show.” AMC president, Charlie Collier, joked that he “typically starts the morning presenting in front of a bottle of alcohol.” Funny with a splash of “too soon.”
But it’s practically impossible to separate “Mad Men” from the iconic accoutrements of show’s main characters. That’s exactly why the Smithsonian is now in possession of Betty Draper’s bright yellow house dress, Draper’s signature grey power suit and fedora as well as other props and behind-the-scenes notes. Most of the objects will be on display as part of the American History museum’s “American Enterprise” exhibit, which chronicles business and branding from the country’s founding until now.
Weiner, who thankfully steered clear of the Stoli jokes when he officially signed over the props, recalled his first reaction when learning of the Smithsonian donation: “Oh my God,” he remembered telling his wife. “We’re going to be on the field trip!”