“It’s a business of sadists and masochists, and you know which one you are.” — Miss Blankenship to Peggy.
In a world gone mad — the turmoil of the ’60s, with its revolutions in manners, music, fashion, and war — there were few constants as dependable as Don’s temporary secretary, Ida Blankenship. Assigned to Don by Joan as punishment for his bad behavior with Allison, Blankenship proved to be as steady as a rock — and she left the office that way this week.
“She died like she lived: Surrounded by the people she answered phones for,” said Roger with his tangy mixture of morose sarcasm.
Matthew Weiner and company gave Blankenship a proper send-off before her departure, handing her some of her most Blankenshippiest lines this night:
• To Don: “Are you going to the toi-let?”
• Re Dr. Faye Miller: “She’s pushy, that one. I guess that’s what it takes… “
• After seeing little Sally in the flesh, to Don: “She looked so chubby in the pictures.”
• Doing a crossword puzzle with Bert Cooper, who thinks a three-letter-word solution begins with an “L”: “Like hell it does.”
A Mad fan-favorite, Miss Blankenship was also the target of grumbling among some Men devotees, who felt her broad comedy stylings belonged on another sort of TV show — Blankenship as a nosy neighbor in a ’60s sitcom, perhaps; some variation on Bewitched or The Donna Reed Show.
“She was born in 1898 in a barn, she died on the 37th floor of a skyscraper–she’s an astronaut,” said the Mad man closest to her, Bert Cooper, his phrase-making proving why he was probably a great copy writer in his time, and a lousy poet. At any rate, “Queen of Perversions” probably didn’t make the final draft of the obit he and Joan cobbled together.
Survived by a niece, Miss Blankenship will be missed in many quarters.
How about you? Are you in mourning?