Hoping for a little cross-platform synergy, AMC has licensed the NBC News footage of Jackie Kennedy’s infamous television tour of the White House – which was featured prominently in last Sunday’s second season premiere of Mad Men. The full tour, which ran on CBS and NBC on Valentine’s Day 1962, is available on the network’s web site.
In one of the episode’s best scenes, several of the show’s characters are shown separately watching and reacting to Jackie’s laconic walk-through of her redecorated White House.
A Tour of the White House with Mrs. John F. Kennedy came at a time when Americans were in the throes of a romance with their new young and handsome president and his glamorous wife.
Watching Jackie, with her helmet of hair and Stepford Wife delivery, is jarring in as much as it reminds us how far we’ve traveled in 46 years.
The 24/7 news cycle has blasted away the patina of glamour from public life. Jackie thought “that dreary Maison Blanche,” as she called it, was in desperate need of a tune-up. Her goal, she said, was to turn it into the “most perfect house in the United States.”
Viewed from today’s vantage point, such idealism feels darkly comical – almost farcical.
But in the current climate of puerile election year politicking, a little shot of nostalgia is almost a relief.