Those who tuned in to the fifth season premiere of Mad Men, were greeted by an opening scene of black civil rights protesters getting bombarded by paper water balloons by ad execs from one of Sterling, Cooper, Draper and Pryce's competitors. And while some have accused the writing of that scene as being stiff and "unfortunately ham-handed"—everything that happened in that scene? Actually happened. It's all documented in a page one article in the May 28, 1966 edition of the New York Times. From yesterday's NYT:
“Poverty Pickets Get Paper-Bag Dousing on Madison Avenue,” the headline read. The article described more than 300 people picketing the Office of Economic Opportunity, between East 40th and 41st Streets, the day before, chanting, “O-E-O, we’ve got the poverty, where’s the dough?” Executives upstairs at Young & Rubicam, half a block from the building, shouted at the protesters, and hung up signs saying “If you want money, get yourself a job.”
And then, the article said: “A container of water was pitched out of one of the windows of the building, splashing two spectators. Later, two demonstrators were hit by water-filled paper bags thrown from the building.”
A 9-year-old boy was struck. Several women in the protest, including the boy’s mother, hurried up to the advertising agency’s sixth-floor offices and confronted a secretary about the water throwing.
“This is the executive floor,” the secretary said. “That’s utterly ridiculous.”
“Don’t you call us ridiculous,” a protester shouted. “Is this what Madison Avenue represents?”
“And they call us savages,” a protester named Vivian Harris said.
Sometimes the truth is ham-handed. Read the rest of this interesting article here.
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