Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Netflix's new National Lampoon movie has an extremely subtle Mad Men crossover

Photo: Jordin Althaus/AMC

A Futile And Stupid Gesture, Netflix’s new biopic about National Lampoon co-founder Doug Kenney, is essentially a who’s who of famous entertainers from the 1970s. The long tracking shots of cocaine-fueled parties and cocaine-fueled writers rooms are jam packed with actors portraying everyone from John Belushi to Paul Shaffer. But there’s one icon from that era that pops up so quickly most viewers probably missed him. We’re talking, of course, about Harry Crane.

Harry Crane enjoying the party favors at Doug Kenney’s house. Screenshot: Netflix

Earlier this week, someone posted in the Mad Men subreddit about how, during one of the many party scenes in the film, a very Harry Crane-esque looking gentleman can be seen smoking in the background. As they note, the credits verify this:

Screenshot: Netflix

This brief cameo only confirms what we all assumed when Netflix announced they were making a National Lampoon movie: It’s going to be an integral part of the forthcoming Mad Men cinematic universe, or MMCU.

The scene in question is set in the mid-1970s, which means it takes place after the events of the Mad Men finale. But the show ended with Harry spending the majority of his time in California, schmoozing television execs and securing deals for Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. The swinging Harry Crane of this era would definitely be found at a National Lampoon party, no doubt trying to act much cooler than he actually was. Of course, his exact reasons for being there will likely be explored in the Don Draper solo feature that picks up right after Don’s meditation retreat and culminates in a post-credits sequence where an eye-patch wearing Ken Cosgrove tells him they’ve got to get the old advertising team back together.


And that’s just the start of Phase One.

UPDATE: Here’s a closer look at Sommer on the set of A Futile And Stupid Gesture, courtesy of one of the film’s screenwriters, Michael Colton.


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About the author

Dan Neilan

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Have Fun — Will Travel.