Harry Crane Shares With Us His Favourite Memories of His Fellow Mad Men Castmates

The Draperism which best encapsulates Mad Men’s core philosophical question – how do you live with the decisions you make? – is said to Peggy Olson in season two. “Get out of here and move forward,” Don says. “This never happened. It will shock you how much it never happened.” For actor Rich Sommer though, forgetting is impossible. After seven seasons as the downtrodden head of Sterling Cooper’s fledgling TV department, Harry Crane, the actor admits the role “is going to be a fundamental part of my identity for the rest of my life”. With that in mind, we’ve rejected Don’s advice and looked backwards. And so has Rich, divulging for us his favourite memories of his fellow Mad Men castmates. 

Enjoy, Mad Men fans. 

ELISABETH MOSS (PEGGY OLSON): Well Lizzie, she was our base camp president. She and I started off season one calling ourselves the self-appointed social chairs, meaning we tried to get people to hang out with each other outside of work. It worked a couple of times. We went bowling, went to a couple of restaurants, nights out. But it probably had to be a little more organic than we were willing to let it be. So over time base camp became the place to be. And Lizzie became the base camp president and I became the social chair. My job was to help outfit the base camp with games, things to play and entertain ourselves with while we were hanging out.  

JON HAMM (DON DRAPER): I mean, he was our quarterback. I have many memories of him. I lived in fear of him in the beginning. He was the lead, you know? And while he did nothing to be intimidating he just is intimidating. He’s so handsome and so tall and plays such a brooding character. So for me, my favourite moment was when I figured out that he was a comedy nerd. He invited me to come see some comedy shows with him and seeing that other side of him, realising he wasn’t actually the person I feared him to be, was quite a relief.      

CHRISTINA HENDRICKS (JOAN HARRIS): I remember the first day we worked together there was a scene in the diner where we were all hitting on her and I lit a cigarette for her – a herbal cigarette – and as she was talking in this first take a single tear went down her cheek and we had to stop. It was our first encounter with what would became our arch nemesis throughout the run of the show, herbal cigarettes. It took a lot of getting used to, smoking those things, and we got a chance to commiserate very early on about how much of a nightmare it was. 

My other favourite memory was when she and I got seated together at an event screening the thirteenth episode of the first season. It was for an audience who hadn’t seen the episode but they had seen the first twelve. And something happened in the episode and the audience just blew up. They had clearly been invested in the story and Christina and I looked at each other and she said “this isn’t our little secret anymore”. It was a shared realisation. It was our first interaction with an audience who loved the show and it’s been different ever since then. 
JOHN SLATTERY (ROGER STERLING): Slattery is the greatest storyteller that anyone could ever hope for. I have been late coming from work because I would be going to leave set and Slattery would start telling a joke or a story and personal policy is you can’t leave until he’s done. He is one of the only people who I knew who he was before shooting. I’ve always been a fan of his. And the good news is that he truly is even better than you could hope for in person. He’s one of the greatest guys I know.


VINCENT KARTHEISER (PETE CAMPBELL): Vinnie and I both grew up in Minnesota so we both have a similar upbringing. My first real memory of Vinnie was him doing his warmups. He used to do these crazy warmups before a take where he would screech like an eagle, yell things and click his heels together in a weird way. That kind of settled down as time went on but at the time all of us were like “who is this guy?”. It didn’t take long to figure out that he was one of the most entertaining people in the cast and certainly one of the strangest. But in a very, very good way. 

MATTEW WEINER (CREATOR, SHOWRUNNER): The first time that I met him I called him the wrong name. I thought he was the director and I thought the director was Matt. So I called Matt Alan and I called Alan Taylor Matt which was a bit of a bummer. Thankfully he laughed it off. Matt is certainly the best writer I’ve ever worked with and I cannot imagine how I’m ever going to top working with him. He’s given me lines that I didn’t expect and were funnier and more insightful than I ever could have dreamed of. Truly, I will forever owe whatever happens to my career from now on to him. 

Since the show wrapped, he and I actually texted this morning. I said congratulations to him for an award that he’d been given and he wrote me back saying: “Thanks. Wish you could have been there. When will this feel better?”. And I said “I honestly don’t know”. I’m with him. It’s been three months since we wrapped and I still think about it daily. There’s this line that Joel Murray as Freddy Rumsen says in the show that I think about constantly. I always want to tell Matt how much I think about it but I think it’s too sad to bring it up with him. When Freddy Rumsen gets fired he says to Don, “If I don’t go into that office everyday, who am I?” And that’s kind of how I feel about this show. I’m eager to see what the future holds but I certainly know that this is going to be a fundamental part of my identity for the rest of my life. It’s hard to know I won’t walk into that place again.
Rich Sommer will be a special guest at Bar Schweppes at next month’s Melbourne Cup Carnival. 
Mad Men’s final season airs next year on AMC.