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Ringing in a new era of television's red-hot 60s ad agency

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Actors Jon Hamm and Christina Hendricks from the series Mad Men smile while visiting the New York Stock Exchange to ring the opening bell in New York, March 21, 2012.

Actors Jon Hamm and Christina Hendricks from the series Mad Men smile while visiting the New York Stock Exchange to ring the opening bell in New York, March 21, 2012.

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THE ultra chic 'Mad Men' returns to US TV screens next week.

The cast of the hip series were paid a rare compliment yesterday when they were given the chance to ring the opening bell for the New York Stock Exchange.

The popularity of the show has brought with it its own pressures and Matthew Weiner, the 'Mad Men' creator, producer, chief writer and guardian of secrets, has asked critics not to reveal even basic information about the opening two-hour season premiere.

Mr Weiner would prefer you not know the year in which season five is set, for starters. If that's your idea of a spoiler too, consider yourself warned.

Disaster

The year is 1966, and judging by the size of Don Draper's sleek new apartment, the ad man (played by Jon Hamm, who also directed this episode) and his agency have avoided the financial disaster that loomed at the close of season four.

But it's not just the Pop Art decor and wife Megan's (played by Jessica Pare) orange sherbet mini-dresses that lighten the 'Revolver'-era 'Mad Men'.

When Don drops off the kids outside the home of ex-wife Betty, he cracks: "Give Morticia and Lurch my love."

That's right: Don Draper tells a joke. The Summer of Love might be a year off, but good vibrations are loosening up the Draper clan.

Irish Independent