This Was Television On July 19

2007Mad Men debuts on AMC

The critically-lauded drama reinvigorated the brand identity of a flagging third-run movie network while inspiring a wave of retro chic in everything from fashion to furniture to other (less-successful) TV programs. Though drawing only about 1.2 million viewers, the premiere episode was one of the AMC’s highest-rated programs ever at the time.

The show’s audience has steadily grown over its five seasons as its become an entrenched cultural touchstone. Mad Men has made Jon Hamm into a star, a 50-year old French torch song into a hit meme, and Matthew Weiner’s ego into a significant component of the Doomsday Clock’s precise calibrations.  -A.D.

Today’s Birthdays: Benedict Cumberbatch, Anglophile ideal (36); Dennis Cole, 70s drama utility player (72); George Dzundza, L&O original (67); Anthony Edwards, County General conscience (50); Tim McIntire, Western stalwart (d. 1986); Jared Padalecki, demon hunter (30); Arthur Rankin, Jr., Christmastime animator (88); Nancy Walls, Daily Show correspondent (46).

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