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Don Draper = Draper Daniels
September 19, 2010 5:27 PM   Subscribe

I Married a Mad Man. Mad Men's Don Draper was based on a real character, Draper Daniels. An interesting bio by his wife, Myra.
posted by John of Michigan (45 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
Jesus the thing with the nickels is so fucking sweet.
posted by supercrayon at 5:39 PM on September 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


That story reads like a Doris Day-Rock Hudson movie.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 5:46 PM on September 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


pick up and read a copy of From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor.
posted by spish at 6:24 PM on September 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh cool! I totally love Mad Men and it's great to know the backstory. Thanks for the post John of Michigan.
posted by nickyskye at 6:50 PM on September 19, 2010


Interestingly, in my genealogical research, I found a Don Draper in our family tree.

Turns out he may not have been the best kind of people. Here he is pictured in the LA Times in 1938 conferring over his defense in a wire tapping case related to the bombing of a private detective's car during the Los Angeles Gangland wars.
posted by thanotopsis at 6:53 PM on September 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


Kind of feel sorry for Len.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:07 PM on September 19, 2010


Except for being creative and assertive and being in the Draper family he doesn't remind me a lot of Don.
posted by amethysts at 7:13 PM on September 19, 2010


Kind of feel sorry for Len.

Len snoozed and loozed.
posted by device55 at 7:26 PM on September 19, 2010


thanotopsis, I thought you meant someone who stole the identity of dead man. Then I clicked and saw that you meant someone with the name Don Draper.

*headsmack*
posted by Leta at 7:49 PM on September 19, 2010


>Except for being creative and assertive and being in the Draper family he doesn't remind me a lot of Don.

draper daniels + satan = don draper
posted by victors at 7:59 PM on September 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


well, that is a very cute story. tugging at the heartstrings.
posted by ms.jones at 8:09 PM on September 19, 2010


That was really sweet, thank you.
posted by Phire at 8:15 PM on September 19, 2010


'shopped photo made me stop reading after page 1, oh well ..
posted by derekpaco at 8:45 PM on September 19, 2010


The comments on that article are very interesting. One points to this link that implies that Draper Daniels divorced his first wife in 1968, one year after he married Myra. I wonder what the timeline really was.
posted by studioaudience at 8:48 PM on September 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


His life is interesting and all, but I'd like to read more about *her* life. An executive VP in advertising as a woman in the 1960s? Choosing to remain single until her late thirties in an era when that really wasn't done? Marrying a man who maybe wasn't divorced yet? Oh yeah, her life sounds far more interesting.
posted by librarylis at 8:59 PM on September 19, 2010 [15 favorites]


Seriously, she drops her fiance when some guy she's never thought of in that way up amd proposes marriage?

Ewwwwww. . . .
posted by Ironmouth at 9:04 PM on September 19, 2010


I read this a few days ago, and adored it.

I've also read viewers' theories online that the fact that Don was based on Draper Daniels means that he and Peggy will end up together someday. Blech. I think.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:10 PM on September 19, 2010


pick up and read a copy of From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor.

You know, I just did exactly that, and...I was mildly underwhelmed. Maybe it's because I am (a) an avid watcher of "Mad Men" and (b) an alum of a largeish Boston agency,* but a lot of what I read didn't seem particularly interesting or surprising.

I will say that Della Femina is a pretty good raconteur, and that his style reminded me weirdly of Richard Feynman's in places. I also appreciated that, despite the many little tales of misogyny with which some of the anecdotes were punctuated, specific references to the creative work of Mary Wells and other female execs were pretty much always about the product and not about their sex.

(*90s, not 60s, and Boston definitely had a culture distinct from that of NYC, but there was still a fair amount of drinking and scandal)
posted by AkzidenzGrotesk at 9:31 PM on September 19, 2010


An executive VP in advertising as a woman in the 1960s? Choosing to remain single until her late thirties in an era when that really wasn't done? Marrying a man who maybe wasn't divorced yet? Oh yeah, her life sounds far more interesting.

It was. I call her "Mom." She worked at Playboy, because, in that era, that was one of the few places a female in journalism could have real responsibility.

Her life was fascinating, and yet boring. Well, I prefer the word "is" because she's still around. Admittedly, she married at 29 -- but it's clear, this is world my mother lived in, and met my father, and raised me in.

And, to be utterly honest, I'm so proud that she helped kick the doors in. It's amusing, in some ways, to realize the publication outfit that let women become leaders in Journalism was one citied as one holding women back.

It is, of course, why Christie Hefner was the publisher for, well, forever. Because what sort of woman would be associated with Playboy?

Smart ones, of course. You want to write, or you want to pour coffee for idiots?
posted by eriko at 9:38 PM on September 19, 2010 [46 favorites]


I'd like to read more about *her* life.

Website (d. 2007).
Interview. Interview. Her book.
A video biography.
posted by dhartung at 9:57 PM on September 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I call her "Mom."

I loves me some of teh internets
posted by victors at 10:03 PM on September 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow, at first I read this thinking Draper Daniels was aan alright guy, at least compared to Don Draper. But as I read on, things got weirder, and then I got to the "whoops now we're married" bit at the courthouse. Super creepy! The slow encroaching horror as I read this piece, all the while realizing that the narrator herself was completely oblivious to it -- it was like reading Nabokov or some shit I swear.
posted by speicus at 10:34 PM on September 19, 2010 [6 favorites]


Seriously folks, what is up with that photograph?
It almost seems like an actual cut and paste job with a little graphite pencil shading thrown in for good measure.

Also, I can't stop wondering just how "memorable" that campaign for Derby Tamales was....
posted by squasha at 1:14 AM on September 20, 2010


Seriously, she drops her fiance when some guy she's never thought of in that way up amd proposes marriage?

Ewwwwww. . . .


And your ewww is based on what knowledge of her relationship with her fiance?
posted by rodgerd at 2:57 AM on September 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I like how she mentions Draper Daniels' interest in swimming and fishing, and that in the past two episodes we've seen Don take up swimming and mention that he's a competitive fly-fisherman.
posted by malapropist at 3:32 AM on September 20, 2010


So he was in such a hurry to marry because he wanted to win the bet? Ew.
posted by Omnomnom at 4:28 AM on September 20, 2010



Also, I can't stop wondering just how "memorable" that campaign for Derby Tamales was....


You mean you don't remember Pepito the Mexican jockey, the mascot for Derby Tamales? I thought everyone remembered that guy. Terribly racist now that I think about it, but that guy sure loved his Tamales.
posted by dortmunder at 4:54 AM on September 20, 2010


dortmunder: "You mean you don't remember Pepito the Mexican jockey, the mascot for Derby Tamales? "
What the
posted by rhizome at 5:38 AM on September 20, 2010


I've also read viewers' theories online that the fact that Don was based on Draper Daniels means that he and Peggy will end up together someday. Blech. I think.

It certainly seems to be headed that way, which seems to me to be a total cop-out. I think if that happens I will throw something.

And inevitably keep watching because that show is like crack mixed with heroin with a nicotine kicker in terms of addictiveness.
posted by sonika at 6:41 AM on September 20, 2010


Man. I actually found that story really boring. There didn't appear to be any passion between the two before he proposed. And she doesn't explain why exactly she wanted to marry him at all. I'm sure in real life things were more interesting.
posted by delmoi at 7:06 AM on September 20, 2010


I've also read viewers' theories online that the fact that Don was based on Draper Daniels means that he and Peggy will end up together someday. Blech. I think.

It certainly seems to be headed that way, which seems to me to be a total cop-out. I think if that happens I will throw something.


Nooo. I will fume if this happens. Peggy, annoying as she is, was destined for Peter Campbell! They are perfect for each other, and they already have a baby. I am hoping that Don is just using Peggy as a replacement for Anna, but in the friendship rather than romantic sense. :(

Thanks for the article, OP. I too find the entire story exceedingly bizarre and creepy, especially since this woman seemed to marry him simply because he wanted her to. Odd indeed.
posted by nonmerci at 7:22 AM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I came late to the Mad Men party, I watched season one (for the first time) on DVD about two years ago. Ten minutes into the first episode, when Pete is nasty to Peggy and Don upbraids him for it, I looked at my husband and said, "This new secretary is his second wife."


I think Vincent Karthiehiser (sp?) is an amazing actor, and Elisabeth Moss is a little annoying, but I don't think Pete is fit to lick Peggy's boots. Or Trudy's, for that matter.
posted by Leta at 7:46 AM on September 20, 2010


I guess times have changed. Once upon a time making a bet that you'd marry a woman you've barely met and then cajoling her into marriage used to be seen as quite romantic. Nowadays, that's fucking creepy. In the way that a guy with a very large basement who always seems to be taking out large, heavy objects under cover of darkness is fucking creepy.
posted by ob at 7:47 AM on September 20, 2010


I won't be mad if Don and Peggy wind up together, as long as it's scripted in a believable way -- and I trust the excellent writers of "Mad Men" to figure out a way to do that, if that's their intention.

But I REALLY don't think it's going to happen. The writers seem to understand the fact that Peggy IS Don, and Don has never had any interest in dating himself (he has way too much self-loathing to want to do that). By adding Peggy to the series, we essentially get to see the same character at two different ages -- at two different stages in his/her life and career. Of course, they're not exactly the same, but they're haunted by very similar demons and they deal with those demons in very similar ways. If anything, Don seems to be (mostly unconsciously) grooming Peggy to be his heir. Which is what she basically is.

If I was a writer on the series, and I was told to craft a story about Don and Peggy becoming romantically involved, I would love the challenge. I would request a whole season to tell that story, and I would make it end very, very, very badly. They are both too competitive and too deeply in denial to be a successful couple. Peggy has come into direct conflict with Don countless times. He has always won, because he's her boss. But if they were dating, the power dynamics would shift. She'd have more power over him. And she would DEFINITELY use it.

But, again, unless it happens in the last episode ever, I doubt they'll get together, because the series gets so much mileage out of flipping back and forth between their separate -- but connected -- stories.
posted by grumblebee at 7:56 AM on September 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


I won't be mad if Don and Peggy wind up together, as long as it's scripted in a believable way -- and I trust the excellent writers of "Mad Men" to figure out a way to do that, if that's their intention.

Well, that's why I'm not even sure if I'd dislike it. After "The Suitcase," I could see their relationship going either way--and believing it. I think they have the potential to have a much more successful romantic relationship than either have ever had before--because Don would be Peggy's equal, and because she'd force him to acknowledge and even embrace parts of himself that he's denied for so long. I don't think it would necessarily end badly--but I think it would necessitate a lot of character growth. I do think you're right that it would be something that would be fitting for the final story arc of the show's last season (and would make sense, if the show ends as the 60s end. I don't think their relationship would work for the Peggy that's stuck in the 60s).

They are perfect for each other, and they already have a baby. I am hoping that Don is just using Peggy as a replacement for Anna, but in the friendship rather than romantic sense. :(

Let it go! Trudi's so clearly grown into Pete's soulmate over the past two seasons that it's not even funny. As for the baby, it was given up for adoption long ago.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:24 AM on September 20, 2010


Seriously, she drops her fiance when some guy she's never thought of in that way up amd proposes marriage?

Ewwwwww. . . .

And your ewww is based on what knowledge of her relationship with her fiance?


The knowledge that she's already engaged to another person. Ewwww. . . .

Seriously, she never even thought of him that way. ever. then its all over? not right.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:26 AM on September 20, 2010


I loves me some of teh internets

I don't think eriko's mom is literally the woman in the article, but rather somebody who lived a similar life in the same era. Still an awesome comment.
posted by kmz at 11:58 AM on September 20, 2010


I don't think eriko's mom is literally

and that right there is why the internet sucks
posted by victors at 3:37 PM on September 20, 2010


The sneaking-up with marriage is an objectionable but oddly winning story, as if it were in one of those old half-inch-thick romance novels with the white covers and a portrait of some complete Ken doll on the front. (Except without the misogyny and borderline sexual assault those books invariably feature.)

I bet he banged the secretaries like a screen door, though. As Merrill Markoe once said, "A person who is charming has that charm in place of something you are eventually going to want, and find out that he does not have."
posted by Countess Elena at 4:06 PM on September 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


As Merrill Markoe once said,....
Oh, that's a good one. Reminds me of when I used to work in a gas station, we used to say that about Corvette drivers: "I drive a Corvette, I don't need a personality."
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 5:29 PM on September 20, 2010


As for the baby, it was given up for adoption long ago.

The last I remember noting on the show, Peggy's sister was raising the baby. When is it mentioned in an episode that the baby was given up for adoption?

And no, I will not give it up. Trudy is insufferable in ways even Peggy can't compete with.
posted by nonmerci at 8:17 PM on September 20, 2010


The last I remember noting on the show, Peggy's sister was raising the baby. When is it mentioned in an episode that the baby was given up for adoption?

That was Peggy's sister's kid, Peggy's nephew. They seemed to be implying at points that it was Peggy's, but what's been actually said on the show (for example, what Peggy says to Pete at the end of last season) pretty clearly confirms that her child was given up for adoption, and that the boy is the baby that her sister was pregnant with in the first season.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:05 PM on September 20, 2010


(If you need to hear it from Matt Weiner, here you go.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:12 PM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I guess times have changed. Once upon a time making a bet that you'd marry a woman you've barely met and then cajoling her into marriage used to be seen as quite romantic. Nowadays, that's fucking creepy. In the way that a guy with a very large basement who always seems to be taking out large, heavy objects under cover of darkness is fucking creepy.

I dunno, I think the way I take large, heavy objects out of my very large basement under cover of darkness is quite romantic.
posted by speicus at 9:53 PM on September 20, 2010


Umm, isn't Faye Miller also a pioneering advertising executive? Since Don's currently dating (and seemingly pretty serious about) her, wouldn't she be the more immediate and likely parallel to this story than Peggy? I don't seriously get the sense that there's ever been any real romantic chemistry between Don and Peggy. Peggy really is Don--right down to having a deeply hidden personal secret and adopting a false identity (recall how she recently encouraged her "fiancee" to think she was a virgin). That's why Don takes such an interest in her. He "sees her as an extension of himself." That's also why he's so hard on her, and could never see her as a romantic object. As tempting as it might be to see Draper as narcissistic, that's not his issue. He doesn't love himself. I think/hope he ends up with Faye, because she's smarter than he is. He needs someone like that.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:23 AM on September 21, 2010


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