Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Mad Money

When the subject of money arises my favorite TV series, the early 1960s-based Mad Men, amounts sound surreal and I feel a bit lost. No more! I've found an on-line inflation calculator that translates 1963 prices into present-day dollars.

In last night's episode (really last year's, on DVD), we learn that Polaroid film cost an outrageous $3! In today's money, $21.37.

Earlier, characters sometimes referred to their salaries. Slippery, insecure Pete Campbell told his wife he made $75/week, that would be $534 today. Could he mean after-tax? It would add up to $27,768 per year in 2010 dollars, surely not an junior ad man's earnings. But this show's such a stickler for period detail I can't imagine them messing this up... Hmm.. Secretary-turned-copywriter Peggy Olson asks for - and gets - a $5/week raise from Don Draper, from her base of $34/week. In 2010 dollars, a $34/week raise from $242/week - I sure hope this is after-tax. Finally, executive Harry asked Roger for a raise from $200/week - $1,424/week today, now that's more like it. As the series hurtles toward 1964 and 1965, I'll keep my ear peeled for more prices from my kindergarten years.

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