​Bidding goodbye to "Mad Men"

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Jon Hamm, star of "Mad Men."

CBS News

Viewers who are MAD about the TV series "Mad Men" have just two weeks to go until the start of its final season. Anthony Mason takes us behind the scenes:

As the final episodes of "Mad Men," the show created by Matthew Weiner, were being shot on a soundstage in Los Angeles, Jon Hamm (who plays Don Draper) was confronting the beginning of the end:


"By the time we wrap it'll be almost a full decade that we've been working on the show, from the first day of the pilot to the last day of shooting," he said.

Mason said, "You're also going to be walking away from Don Draper, this character you created who's become part of American culture. How's it going to feel to walk away from Don Draper?"

"Well, I think Matt might disagree with you when you say that I created him!" Hamm laughed.

"He gives you a lot of credit."

"I've certainly been living in his suit for a while, walking around in his shoes. It's going to be hard. It's, for better and worse, the most defining role that I've ever played."

Reporter: "Who is Don Draper?"
Draper: "Well, as I said before, I'm from the Midwest. We were taught that it's not polite to talk about yourself."

Don Draper has carried a briefcase full of secrets through the seven seasons of "Mad Men." He's hidden his real name, a sketchy past, and innumerable affairs. But for 1960s America, swelling with post-war promise, Don Draper was the perfect salesman, a golden boy in Madison Avenue's Golden Age.

Draper: "Advertising is based on one thing: Happiness. And you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It's freedom from fear. It's a billboard on the side of the road that screams with reassurance that whatever you're doing, it's okay."
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Actor Jon Hamm. CBS News

Hamm has made Draper his own, but the AMC Network was reluctant to cast him at first. He had to audition eight times.

"Yeah, you know, you're just waiting to fail," Hamm said. "That's gonna be my autobiography: 'Waiting to Fail.'"

So why did he want this part? "I'd never read anything like it," he said.

"It's been quite a journey for you," said Mason.

"Yeah, I'm certainly not the same person that I was when I started the show. I was 35 years old. I had done, you know, some work here and there. But I have been afforded opportunities that when I graduated college with an English degree and a theatre minor I thought, 'Well, maybe someday I'll get five lines on '90210,'" he laughed. "And it's worked out a little better than that."

Matthew Weiner on wrapping up "Mad Men"

So why, Mason asked Matthew Weiner, does Hamm think people are so interested in Draper? "Because he's not a particularly likeable guy when you write it all down."


"I'm puzzled by the concept of likeability," replied Weiner. "There's no character that is interesting to anyone who is likeable. You know, you should watch 'Mary Poppins' again."

Weiner wrote the pilot for "Mad Men" 15 years ago, while he was still working as a comedy writer on the series "Becker."

That first script "got rejected everywhere -- I mean, every single place that exists," Weiner said.