Now we know that Mad Men’s fourth season — SPOILER — leaps ahead nearly a full year, from December 16, 1963 to November 26, 1964. So what happened to Don, Peggy, Pete, Betty, Roger, and others during the gap? And how might Matthew Weiner have subtly inserted the real pre-November events of 1964 into their lives? Because we can’t stand not to know, we consulted history books and made our best educated guesses. Your better guesses are welcome in the comments.
January 3: Barry Goldwater announces his bid for the presidency and Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce is hired to run his media campaign.
January 23: Arthur Miller’s After the Fall — a play taking place in the mind of a guy haunted by the suicide of his wife, with eerie parallels to Miller’s own failed marriage to the late Marilyn Monroe (it was basically Miller’s Inception) — opens on Broadway. Joan sees it, but decides it does not live up to the prerelease hype.
January 29: Inssbruck, Austria, hosts the 1964 Winter Olympics. SCDP helps Lucky Strike become the official cigarette of the Games.
January 31: The U.S. Surgeon General finds a link between smoking and lung cancer, but Don saves the day with an idea for an ad campaign that makes lung cancer seem not so bad.
February 9: The Beatles’ appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show is seen by 73 million people. Unfortunately, Harry bought ads for jai alai to run on competing networks during the same time slot.
March 14: Jack Ruby is convicted of murdering JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. Sally glimpses the news on TV shortly before her nightly smacking from Betty.
May 2: In the first major demonstration against the Vietnam War, hundreds of students march through Times Square, making Don late for an appointment with his prostitute.
June 19: Ted Kennedy is injured in a private plane crash, ruining Margaret Sterling’s birthday party.
July 2: President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act into law, ending racial segregation. Betty makes an appalling comment to housekeeper Carla.
July 18: Race riots break out in Harlem. “Where’s Harlem?” asks Trudie, to a round of laughter at a blackface sing-along.
September 24: The Warren Commission Report on the assassination of JFK is published, ruining Margaret Sterling’s baby shower.
November 3: Goldwater loses the presidential election to LBJ in a landslide. Roger, Bert, Don, and Lane vow never to speak of this again.