Saturday, August 7, 2010

SEPIA SATURDAY- I was a female "Mad Man"

If any of you watch the T.V. series "Mad Men" this photo will probably look like part of the show. (That's me, with the big hair.)  I worked at an ad agency in the early 60's and, I swear, the stories on "Mad Men" came right out of this agency, Hixson and Jorgensen, and the next agency I worked for, Faust/Day.

I was about 22 in this photo and working as a paste-up artist which would be the precursor to being an art director if you were a man. At Hixson and Jorgensen it was the stated policy that women couldn't be art directors. Luckily, my fellow paste-up artist, Dennis Juett, (on my left) moved on to a wonderful new agency (Faust/Day),where he became an art director and soon hired me as an art director, also.

If you watch "Mad Men" you'll recognize "Joan" in the black dress- the office glamour girl. This was at a Christmas party held at the Ambassador Hotel, just down the street from our office on Wilshire Blvd. (That's me in the back, spreading office gossip.)
This must have been a different party because I have a different outfit on- very chaste, just like "Peggy" on "Mad Men", who reminds me of me in lots of other ways.  Notice the woman in the "tres chic" white suit with the long black leather gloves, harlequin glasses and requisite cigarette. She walked by my cubicle one day while I was working on a "Nixon for Governor" ad. It was very misleading (not my idea, of course). She was appalled (so was I). She whisked it off my drawing board and took it to Democratic headquarters. It was in the paper the next day. For some reason neither of us got fired. He did lose, though. Did I have a hand in that? That ad was nothing compared to all the really misleading ads of today.
Why the cigars? I think someone in the office must have had a baby. The cute guy with the pipe was the office Lothario. I did go out with him once but it went no farther than that. He was pretty stuck on himself.

Click here for more Sepia Saturday stories 

31 comments:

sEAN bENTLEY said...

Wow - great photos! It's funny, I'm sure they didn't seem extraordinary at the time.

Makes me want to take some at my office for posterity.

gibknitty said...

I love Mad Men, and your pictures surely evoke scenes from that show. And, I love the Nixon anecdote. Great posts!!

Christine H. said...

Cigars, cocktails, big hair, and really classic outfits. I feel like I really missed out. At first I thought you were sitting in that man's lap in the last photo, but then I saw the corner of the back of the chair. GREAT photos.

Tattered and Lost said...

Having had a brief taste of a large agency in San Francisco I wisely chose publishing. I'd have never lasted at an ad agency. Would have been fired for sure. Kudos to you for making it.

Food Smarts said...

I can hear the bottles uncorking and the ice cubes a-clinking. And there you are - right in the middle of it all! The pictures are wonderful. Who was the woman in the white suit? The guy with the pipe, the office lothario, was pretty much ogling you in this photo. Ah....the good old days.

This post ranks way up there your top ten. Just wonderful to read.

Vicki Lane said...

Great look back at a time I, for one, am glad is gone.

Wonderful post!

daylily (Queenmothermamaw) said...

I do love Mad Men and watch it faithfully. Love it because I grew up in the 50's and was a young married in the 60's and love the entire layout of the show. You look just like you stepped right out of it.
Great post.
QMM

Eric S. said...

Now weren't you styling for the day. I never watched that show, must have been before my time.

Lovely photo's and excellent commentary to go along with them.

Evelyn Yvonne Theriault said...

What a great idea for a series of posts on my family history blog - if I were on a t.v. show it would be ...
By the way, your post brings back memories of learning how to "tease" by hair when I was about 12 yrs. old.Sometimes the comb would get stuck in my hair.
Ahh - those were the days!
Evelyn in Montreal

L. D. Burgus said...

It was an interesting time in history and your story is so great. I am glad the guy saw that you too should be a director. You were probably better at it than him and he needed good cover to get the work done.

Marilyn said...

I enjoyed viewing your photos and reading the story that went with them. What a wonderful record of your work life - loved the backcombed hairdo.
Many thanks for visiting my blog and your lovely comments.

Alan Burnett said...

Wonderful and so full of period detail. As you say, they could be stills from the TV show. Thanks so much for sharing them with us.

Pat transplanted to MN said...

I have never watched Mad Men but this was a walk through the times gone by with a personal perspective. Does it seem strange now looking back at what we endured in our careers once upon a time? I remember the big hair and have a collection of photos with the same...I really laughed at the one with the woman in the suit, I imagine she thought she was jut "it."

TICKLEBEAR said...

dunno what "amd men" is, but aren't you the prettiest thing. and glad to hear you were part, unknowingly, of the feminist revolution, proving yourself in a "man" 's position... equal pay for equal job? probably not in those days, but you got the job and the recognition for it. good for you.
:)~
HUGZ

Nancy said...

Great Sepia Saturday post. It's not often that we see work photos from the 1960s. I love looking at the hairsyles and clothes.

Amanda Fisher said...

Oh Barbara! These pictures totally made my night! :) You look lovely!

Boobook said...

How on earth did you manage to find so many office photos! I liked the way you linked them into a story.

tony said...

He Smokes His Pipe At A Rakish Angle!

Kat Mortensen said...

In the cigar-shot, are you sitting on that fellow's knee?

Was there really all that drinking, smoking and sex?

I gave up on MAD MEN, but I thoroughly enjoyed your photos and the post.

Wendy said...

What a wonderful social commentary, perfect for posterity in the Sepia Saturday best-of book.

barbara said...

Kat, Yes, almost everybody smoked (except me), but the drinking usually only happened outside of the office every Friday when we all went out to lunch. Not much work got done on Friday afternoon. Maybe it went on in the executives offices at other times but I didn't see it. I'm pretty sure there was no real sex. The offices had big windows so not much privacy. Barbara

Helen Bauch McHargue said...

Just as good the second time around. The photos really do look like Mad Men stills. I went back and re-read 10 or 20 of your wonderful posts. All those great memories.

Bob Scotney said...

I appear to have missed this the first time around. I missed out on the Mad Men too but can recognise office situations that you describe.

Doug Peabody said...

Great shots. Love those 60's styles. Nice post for Sepia Saturday 200!

Little Nell said...

I’m very glad you posted this as I first time around was before I took part in Sepia Saturday and I would hate to have missed that big hair! I’ve enjoyed all your posts and would have been happy to see any one of them in the book.

Mike Brubaker said...

Wow! Life was the model for Art. I'm a big fan of the show Mad Men, and your photos do indeed have an uncanny resemblance. The series reveals very little about the actual work of advertising, as it is very character driven, but the art direction recreates the looks and feel of the 60s very well. Almost as good as the real thing.

Karen S. said...

Yes it is like a Mad Men episode at that table. Your photos are perfect for SS 200, especially as they all are having a fabulous time in life!

Patrica Ball Morrison said...

I remember this with the big hair because I have some similar, always thought it made me taller. Great photos for a look back, and yes "Mad Men" come to mind. So everything old becomes new again.

The Silver Fox said...

Oh, that was a fun romp through those times, and that oh-so-unique atmosphere.

Nancy said...

I love the photos and learning a little about your early career and its connection to Mad Men. I'm so glad you moved agencies and became an art director yourself.

TICKLEBEAR said...

Still love you with that cigar, no Lewinsky pun intended...
Thanks for sharing this one once more!!
:)~
HUGZ

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