Robert Morse: Mad End


I love Robert Morse. Always have. When I was a young lad of ten or so with nothing to do on a Saturday afternoon out in the country, I would drop whatever playful thing I had planned for the day if TV Guide told me there would be an awesome musical to watch on Channel 11 or 39. And my favorite song and dance man came to be Robert Morse. I loved his everyday look and his unique delivery. The first role I ever saw Morse in–his big break out role I believe–was How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying.

I always thought there was something quite Meta on the part of Matthew Weiner when he signed Robert Morse to play the founder of the ad agency, Bert Cooper, on A&E’s Mad Men.. I recalled that in Morse’s Broadway and Hollywood turns as J. Pierrepont Finch, becoming VP for Advertising was the worst spot to end up. And as I recall the film, the fellow who played the VP of Ads before Finch manouevres his dismissal looked a lot like Roger Sterling (John Slattery).

The last scene of Series 7 first half is Cooper appearing to Don Draper as the star of a Song-and-Soft-Shoe number reminding Don that “The Best Things in Life are Free.” I thought it was a fitting way to let Morse “shuffle off to Buffalo” stage right.

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