Water-Ballooning Scene From 'Mad Men' Actually Happened
That racist water-ballooning scene that kicked off the fifth season of "Mad Men"? The one that many reviewers and recappers thought a bit pat? Well, it actually happened.
Today, The New York Times' Michael Wilson righted the record and reported that on May 28, 1966 the newspaper of record published a story on a bunch of office doofuses throwing water-laden paper bags at a protesters outside the Office of Economic Opportunity office on Madison Avenue. Headine: "Poverty Pickets Get Paper-Bag Dousing on Madison Avenue."
The offending company? Y&R, just like on the show. Even the pushing-your-luck lines, such as one protester saying, "And they call us savages," was ripped from the story.
Showrunner Matthew Weiner found out about the story from a researcher and loved it enough to slap it into the season's first episode. He told The Times that he contemplated setting the action at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce but ultimately decided against it.
Called upon to comment on the 46-year-old incident portrayed in a fictional TV show, Y&R CEO David Sable issued this statement to The Times: "Part of that story is sad but true -- a few idiots dropped water balloons on protesters some 50 years ago. . . . What I don't know was whether or not they were fired. I certainly hope they were. Needless to say, their behavior was completely repulsive and not in line with the values of our company."