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TV Tonight: Art & Copy

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Think of it as a Mad Men DVD extra without the DVD. Tonight on PBS, Independent Lens debuts Art & Copy, a stylish documentary about the American ad business from midcentury forward that—like Don Draper’s career itself—traces the ascendancy of the copywriter in a business that used to be dominated by account execs, and the creative revolution in advertising that resulted.

I saw the documentary on DVD a several weeks ago, and while I thought it suffered a little from a lack of a real organizing throughline—it’s more simply a collection of anecdotes—the stories behind some of the great campaigns of the ’60s and ’70s, and the cultural changes they reflected, are still pretty fascinating. If you’re interested in that sort of thing—and judging by the activity in our Mad Men comments threads, you are.

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