Friday , September 22 2023
Those who take the time to watch some episodes of the old show will be surprised by the depiction of the advertising world and get more than a few chuckles along the way as well.

Bewitched’s Darrin Stephens and Larry Tate Were TV’s Original Mad Men

As the AMC original series Mad Men starts its fifth season, there is great buzz over the return of the dapper Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and his crew. The show certainly captures the 1960s with great precision, but there is an even better way to catch a view of advertising execs in this era by watching the classic television sitcom Bewitched.

The premise of the show is simple: less than average looking guy Darrin Stephens (Dick York, and later Dick Sargent) marries gorgeous Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery) and learns afterwards that she has a little secret: she is a witch. While that would be enough for countlessly awkward situations beyond belief in the quiet New York suburb where the sitcom was based, the added tension came from Darrin’s work: he was an advertising executive at McMahon and Tate. With deadlines for ad campaigns always looming, Darrin’s creativity was constantly challenged by Samantha and her loony family of witches, including the incomparable Agnes Moorehead as Samantha’s mischief causing mother Endora and side-splittingly funny Paul Lynde as Uncle Arthur.

For me the most interesting thing about the show was the advertising angle. People watching it now will perhaps think that it has not aged well, but the dynamic of Darrin having to be creative all the time and the pressure put on him by his spineless boss Larry Tate (David White) is interesting in perspective. Also, the fact that the offices always had their cocktail bars and Darrin and Larry were always lubricating their clients (and themselves) fits well into the world now depicted on Mad Men.

Those fans of the current show probably would laugh at this comparison, but the high pressured advertising world depicted in Bewitched, and the fact that all the historic aspects of the 1960s are available in less than impressive technicolor, makes the juxtaposition of the old sitcom and the current AMC drama a must for serious viewers of Mad Men. It also provides a unique perspective for many fans who were not even born when Bewitched first aired, or who saw the disappointing Will Ferrell film and define Darrin by his performance.

Darrin Stephens and Larry Tate were TV’s original Mad Men. Those who take the time to watch some episodes of the old show will be surprised by the depiction of the advertising world and get more than a few chuckles along the way as well.

Photo Credits: Bewitched ( and Mad Men (

About Victor Lana

Victor Lana's stories, articles, and poems have been published in literary magazines and online. His books 'A Death in Prague' (2002), 'Move' (2003), 'The Savage Quiet September Sun: A Collection of 9/11 Stories' (2005), and 'Like a Passing Shadow' (2009) are available in print, online, and as e-books. 'Heartbeat and Other Poems,' 'If the Fates Allow: New York Christmas Stories,' 'Garden of Ghosts,' and 'Flashes in the Pan' are available exclusively on Amazon. His newest books 'The Stranger from the Sea' and 'Love in the Time of the Coronavirus' are available as e-books and in print. After winning the National Arts Club Award for Poetry while attending Queens College, he concentrated on writing mostly fiction and non-fiction prose until the recent publication of his new book of poetry, 'Heartbeat and Other Poems' (now available on Amazon). He has worked as a faculty advisor to school literary magazines and enjoys the creative process as a writer, editor, and collaborator. He has been with 'Blogcritics Magazine' since July 2005 and has written many articles on a variety of topics; previously co-head sports editor, he now is a Culture and Society and Flash Ficition editor. Having traveled extensively, Victor has visited six continents and intends to get to Antarctica someday where he figures a few ideas for new stories await him.

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