Mad Men nails its history with help from UH





WhenMad Men rang, Mark Young answered.

Writers from the ultrastylish AMC series called the University of Houston historian in February, looking for specifics on Conrad Hilton and his hotel chain, circa 1963.

“They wanted to know, was Connie Hilton a milquetoast, or was he charismatic and gregarious,” said Young, who runs the Hospitality Industry Archives at UH's Hilton College of Hotel & Restaurant Management.

They also asked for Hilton ads from the early '60s and help pinpointing the company's advertising budget at the time.

This season on Mad Men, employees of Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency are smoking, drinking and working their way through the early 1960s. A major story line features Conrad Hilton's search for a new ad agency. Don Draper, Sterling Cooper's finest, is tapped to woo the famous hotelier. In a recent episode, Draper and his wife, Betty, fly to Rome, spend a weekend at the Hilton and meet up with “Connie.”

Mad Men got its history right in more ways than one, Young said.

Although the ads used on the air weren't originals, the show stayed true to the look and feel of a luxurious Hilton hotel, Young said. Connie Hilton — great-grandfather of socialites Paris and Nicky Hilton — was indeed shopping for a new agency in 1963. And the view that the Drapers enjoy from their hotel room is the actual view from the Hilton Cavalieri in Rome.


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