My Fair Ad-Man

I was just down at the popular Cliff Walk here in Newport and lamenting the change of seasons that’s in the air. That line from “The Great Gatsby” popped into my head, the one about wishing you could reach out and grab onto summer and keep it just a bit longer. But the seasons come and go in their eternal cycle, and that applies to us here at Ivy Style. Themes from recent posts include the grey-flannel Madison Avenue look revered by Japan’s Tailor Caid, as well as the new brochure by J. Press, which for decades has made its New York home on or around Madison Avenue. And then this morning someone left a comment on an old post about a Mad Magazine spoof of the Madison Avenue advertising industry during the Ivy heyday, which was portrayed so brilliantly in the TV series “Mad Men.” The commenter said to be sure and check out another Mad spoof from 1960 called “My Fair Ad-Man.” And so here we are at the beginning of fall — cue “Autumn In New York” — with a series of posts on a perennial theme.

The Mad comic is based on the Broadway musical “My Fair Lady” — the film hadn’t been made yet — and features characters based on Charles Laughton, Cary Grant in “North By Northwest,” and what looks like Frank Sinatra, perhaps from “Guys and Dolls,” presented here as a Greenwich Village beatnik who gets scrubbed and stuffed into a grey flannel suit with a patch chest pocket. Head over to this beatnik site for a high-res version of the comic when you need a chuckle or two.

This post is dedicated to longtime Madison Avenue working stiff and Broadway musical fan Richard Press. I can practically here him singing the comic’s lampoon lyrics from here. After all, I’ve grown accustomed to his voice. — CC

9 Comments on "My Fair Ad-Man"

  1. A ballad medley and a waltz: September Song, Autumn Leaves, September in the Rain, Try to Remember (the kind of September)

  2. “Lamenting the change of seasons”?
    After dressing like children all summer, fall/autumn allows us to dress like adults again. How I look forward to wearing my old tweed jackets and flannel trousers!

  3. Richard E. Press | September 16, 2020 at 3:39 pm | Reply

    They call me a cockeyed optimist and I can’t get it out of my head.

  4. I was going to mention I’m well aware the comeback to the Gatsby line, from Jordan, is something like “Don’t be morbid, it always feels like a new beginning when things get crisp in the fall.”

    But surfing in a wetsuit just isn’t the same as going Tarzan-style in the heart of summer.

  5. What Gatsby line is that? I don’t know that I recall anything like that in the novel, but it’s been a while.

  6. “’What’ll we do with ourselves this afternoon?’ cried Daisy, ‘and the day after that, and the next thirty years?’

    ‘Don’t be morbid,” Jordan said. “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.’

    ‘But it’s so hot,” insisted Daisy, on the verge of tears, “and everything’s so confused. Let’s all go to town!’

    Her voice struggled on through the heat, beating against it, molding its senselessness into forms.”

    I don’t know many people who’d call TGG a love letter to summer! 😉

  7. I’m with Dutch Uncle. After dressing in shorts and Izod shirts all summer my favorite season has arrived! Real clothing! Cordory, wool, flannel, tweed! Crew neck sweaters, fair isle vests, odd jackets etc. etc. . . . Is it now obvious I’m half Canadian?

  8. Henry Contestwinner | September 17, 2020 at 4:57 pm | Reply

    Here in the Democratic People’s Republic of Kalifornia (DPRK), summer or not, wearing a wetsuit while surfing is not only de rigueur, but necessary to avoid hypothermia.

  9. John W. Matney | October 22, 2021 at 9:46 am | Reply

    Fall is my favourite season and I’ve been lucky to have spent fall in Chicago, New York and now Asheville NC. One constant has been my conservative dress. After graduating from university in 1981, I was hired by a large insurance company in San Francisco. Before starting I went to the original San Francisco Brooks Brothers store. Five stories of Ivy staffed by gentleman who had been there since the 1930’s. I picked up a grey flannel suit, a bundle of Oxford button downs, flannel trousers, tweed jacket and plenty of ties. It gets cold in San Francisco and the flannel suit and tweed jacket came into good use. Now that I am retired, I live in western North Carolina where it is even colder. I still dress appropriately in a style my daughter in London calls “Southern Prep.” Enjoyed the essay, more please.

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