May 28, 2014

Robert Morse Sings And Dances Again On MAD MEN

This week's episode of MAD MEN was one of my favorites. As the end of season 7.1 (the second half of the final season airs in 2015), there was great stuff all around; from Peggy's moment with her neighbors' kid, to the McCann maneuvering, to gallows humor about the moon landing and Peggy's triumphant pitch. But what truly floored me was the episode's final scene when Robert Morse, who plays firm head Bertram Cooper, got to sing and dance his way off the show.

There's a great interview with Morse in todays' TIMES as he discusses his role on the show and his musical exit. He made his name in the 60's as the star of the Broadway show and later film version of HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING. So his work on MAD MEN has always been a wry treat, as the eager scheming office boy J. Pierpont Finch truly took over the company. On a visit to the MAD MEN set in 2008, I was lucky enough to meet Morse and told him how I was in the pit band of my high school production of HOW TO. He was charming and chatty and it was one of my best celebrity encounters ever--save Olivia Newton-John at the XANADU opening!

Anyway, Morse's character passed away in this week's episode and as a final send-off Don had a vision of him singing and dancing in the office. It was such a wonderful moment and really beautiful to see Morse still had that boyish charm that made him a star years ago. Many characters have died on MAD MEN, but none has ever done it with such grace and fleet-footed moves.