In the latest episode of Mad Men, one of Betty Draper’s friends wants to know who someone is. She consults a book. Oh, he’s a bigshot, she says.
Was this deliberate? A not-very-in-joke? In the 1960s — even in the 1980s! — there was no Google-like book that said who living people are. You had to go to the library. It used to be fun to read the New Yorker Christmas poem (“Greetings, friends!”) and try to learn about the people you couldn’t identify. It was hard.
More In light of the first seven comments below I reviewed the scene. The mystery man, an advisor to Governor Rockefeller (not in advertising), is listed in a thin spiral-bound notebook. Who’s Who was much thicker and never spiral-bound. Here is the 1962 New York Social Register — much thicker and not spiral-bound. A later comment suggested the notebook contained “a copy” of the Register. No way — there were no Xerox machines back then. The woman who looks the mystery man up in the notebook tears his page out of the notebook and hands it to Betty — just like sending someone a link.