Rewind: 'Mad Men'-Era Boston Globe Commercial Depicts Women's 'Tiny World'

The 1961 Spot Was Shot By Bert Stern, Who Worked With Marilyn Monroe and Stanley Kubrick

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For men of the bygone "Mad Men" era, the world was a place of boozy lunches, smoke-filled offices and, more than anything else, possibility. But for most women of this time -- the Peggy Olsons not withstanding -- the 1960s could be a much smaller place.

Or so TV has shown us, and not just on "Mad Men," but in this mid-century commercial for the Boston Globe.

The minute-long ad, which aired in 1961, depicts the life of a stay-at-home mom. It's a place of children's toys, ironing boards and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. When mom gets a few minutes to herself, she opens the Globe for her window to the world.

"Thank you, Boston Globe, for making my world, as tiny as it is, a little bit more interesting," the mother depicted in the ad says.

More than anything else, the commercial is a museum piece. Modern-day staff at the Globe remains committed to covering a wide world of news, fashion, sports and food, said Jane Bowman, VP-marketing and sales development at the paper, in an email. "However, our newest ad campaign reflects a changed consumer, out in the world, engaging with the Globe in multiple ways in print, mobile, and video," she wrote.

In other words, it's a much larger world out there for all Globe readers.

The commercial, however melancholy and demeaning it may be, has an interesting creative pedigree. It was shot by the photographer Bert Stern, whose credits include Marilyn Monroe's "Last Sitting," the final official portraits of the actress before her death.

Mr. Stern also worked with famed director Stanley Kubrick, a fellowphotographer at Look magazine in the 1940s. Later, for Mr. Kubrick's 1962 film "Lolita," Mr. Stern took the iconic photo of Sue Lyon, who played the young femme fatale, clad in sunglasses and licking a lollipop, according to Diana Holtzberg, executive producer of the documentary "Bert Stern: Original Madman."

Mr. Stern directed the Boston Globe spot for BBDO -- in his kitchen, said Pat White, the actress who starred in the ad.

"The Boston Globe commercial was special and I remember the day very well," Ms. White said in an email. The kitchen scene was shot at Mr. Stern's New York City apartment in mostly natural light, recalled Ms. White, who starred in a number of TV shows and commercials, several of which were directed by Mr. Stern.

"Working with Bert was always special," she said. "He was easy to be around, always calm, warm and confident."

The extra special part of the morning of the Globe shoot, Ms. White said, was meeting Mr. Stern's wife, prima ballerina Allegra Kent. "I was impressed," she said.

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