Five things we want to see in the Ransom Center’s ‘Mad Men’ archive

On Thursday, the Ransom Center announced that the archive from the smash hit AMC TV show “Mad Men” had been donated to their collection.

The archive from show creator Matthew Weiner and production company Lionsgate, includes scripts, drafts, notes, props, costumes, digital video and research materials that went into creating the show’s richly detailed presentation of the American 1960s — to the University of Texas’ Harry Ransom Center humanities library.

(L-R) Joan Harris (Christina Hendricks), Roger Sterling (John Slattery), Lane Pryce (Jared Harris), Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser), Don Draper (Jon Hamm), Bertram Cooper (Robert Morse) and Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) - Mad Men - Season 5 - Gallery - Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels/AMC

PHOTOS: ‘Mad Men’ archives coming to Harry Ransom Center

Here are five things we would love to see on display at the University of Texas research library (UPDATE: Jen Tisdale, director of Public Affairs for the Ransom Center, says some of Don’s suits will be there, as will be the costume Betty wore during the shooting scene.)

Don Draper’s suits: The show’s late ’50s to early ’60s style, full of thin lapels, crisp haircuts and slim ties, continues to influence menswear today.

"Inspiration board" for the character of Don Draper. Photo by Pete Smith. Courtesy Harry Ransom Center.
“Inspiration board” for the character of Don Draper. Photo by Pete Smith. Courtesy Harry Ransom Center.

The full text for the anti-smoking letter: In season 4, Draper (played by Jon Hamm) gets into trouble when he takes out a full-page ad in the New York Times expressing relief that he no longer has to work on tobacco campaigns. This does not go over all that well, but we never really got to see the full letter.

The storyboard for Peggy’s final scene, as she’s walking down the hallway, a very not-safe-for-work painting under her arm: The scene with Elisabeth Moss was memed almost instantly. Speaking of the painting, it would be great to see some of the Edo period Japanese art (and the reproduction of the Rothko) that populated Bert Cooper’s office.

Betty’s gun from season 1, episode 9: Before she became one of the most exhausting characters on television, Betty Draper (January Jones) was initially kind of a badass. In the season 1 episode “Shoot,” we see her trying to pick off pigeons in a suburban New York yard with a BB gun, cig dangling out of her mouth while wearing a pink negligee. Season one Betty Draper, we’ll never forget you.

Script revisions for the finale: The “Mad Men” finale, which sees Don Draper meditating at what is supposed to be the Esalen Institute as he dreams up the iconic “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” ad, was one of the most hotly debated series finales since everyone maybe went to heaven on “Lost.” It would be fantastic to see how Weiner and company ended up there.What would you like to see the Ransom Center put on display? Let us know in the comments.

Matthew Weiner's production binder. Photo by Pete Smith. Courtesy Harry Ransom Center.
Matthew Weiner’s production binder. Photo by Pete Smith. Courtesy Harry Ransom Center.

Author: Joe Gross

Joe Gross has covered books, movies, music and culture for the American-Statesman since 2002. He tweets at @joegross.

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