Picture via AV Club, ©2008 AMC
And one of the most remarkable smoking accessory for their habit is this
Mid-Century modern copper or brass roulette cigarette dispenser that can be prominently spotted on Don’s office table and particular, in season four, episode
The Rejected (S04E04), when Allison throws the cigarette dispenser at Don in his bureau.
Screencap via Mad Men trailer, ©2011 AMC
However, the interesting detail here is the form and mechanics of the vintage dispenser. Why?
Because when opening the globe like cigarette dispenser, the top automatically spins for a mini game of roulette.
This happens every time before the player is able to pick one of the many stored cigarettes that magically appear from inside – like a bouquet of flowers.
The top of the little ball has therefore little square fields in red and black with numbers from 1 to 12 on it that indicate the lucky number with little asterisks in the base.
The original dispenser from the 1950s or 1960s comes with a box and a little red and black roulette playing field and fits perfectly to the authentic Mad Men set design.
On a deeper level, the whole playful design of the cigarette dispenser with an integrated roulette mechanism, is a great metaphor for Don’s smoking addiction, his ludic drive and sense for any detail.
Furthermore, the roulette game is also a meaningful analogy for the ‘all or nothing’ attitude of Don Draper, in the advertising industry in general and particular in the SCDP agency, where winning a new client is like playing a risky game of roulette.
Of course, it’s not clear if the Mad Men set designer also had these associations in mind, when choosing this particular smoking accessory, but it sounds like a nice observation and reasonable theory.
Click here for another Mad Men scene picture of the copper roulette cigarette dispenser on Don Draper’s office table.
Don Draper is a Playful Ruler and Dispenses Cigarettes in Mad Men
The real symbolic meaning of the vintage coppery cigarette dispenser, that can be spotted in Don Draper’s (Jon Hamm) office in Mad Men season four (S04) and onwards. Smoking is, beside alcohol, one of the main addictions…