Last night’s premiere of Mad Men began during the holiday season of 1967, taking us through New Year’s Eve and into 1968. 1968 was an incredibly eventful time for the U.S. politically (specifically, Vietnam and the civil rights movement) and culturally. Here, a collection of events from that year that could potentially be plot points or references this season.
1. January 13: Johnny Cash plays Folsom Prison.
One of the most legendary performances ever would culminate later that year in Cash’s hit record, At Folsom Prison. Will we hear these sounds on the show?
2. January 31: Tet Offensive in Vietnam.
In late January, the Tet Offensive begins in Vietnam. Communist forces begin attacking with surprising impact (even managing to infiltrate the U.S. Embassy in Saigon), shocking both American forces and Americans at home.
4. April 4: Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated.
The civil rights leader is killed in Memphis. Riots take place in major American cities in the days following. It will be interesting to see if the civil rights movement continues to pop up in the show.
5. April 6: Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey debuts.
America witnesses the request for HAL to open the pod bay doors. HAL does not comply.
6. June 3: Andy Warhol survives attempted assassination.
Will pop art make an appearance in the agency office? Seems like something Sterling might be into.
7. June 6: Robert F. Kennedy dies.
During the Democratic senator’s presidential campaign, he is assassinated.
8. July 30: The Beatles’ boutique in London totally fails.
In January of 1968, The Beatles launches their multimedia company — Apple Corps — which included publishing, film, and electronic divisions. It also, funnily enough, included a retail boutique in London which sold Beatles merchandise. The store didn’t succeed, however, and they ended up closing in 1968, giving away all the remaining items to fans who lined up. Will SCDP have any business with Apple Corps?
9. August 19: Tom Wolfe publishes The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.
The trippy work of literary journalism becomes iconic of the hippie generation. Will we see Don reading this?
10. November 5: Nixon is elected president.
11. November 13: The Beatles release their movie, Yellow Submarine.
The animated, feature-length musical film was a hit both in the U.K. and in the U.S.
12. December 24: Apollo 8 goes to the moon.
Americans are the first to orbit the moon and they take amazing pictures.
Facts via the Minnesota Historical Society’s 1968 Exhibit Timeline. Check it out for tons more on this crucial year in American history.
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