‘Mad Men’ actors pitching high-speed trains

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Mad Men actors Vincent Kartheiser and Rich Sommer get in their 1960s characters to promote, in a roundabout way, development of high-speed rail in America in the 2010s in this amusing video, a joint effort of the U.S. PIRG and Funny or Die. Kartheiser, as Pete Campbell, has read that the Japanese are moving forward with high-speed trains, and he pitches to Sommer’s Harry Crane some harebrained ideas for selling the concept to America. No need, Crane replies. “Trains make sense,” he says. “They’re efficient, they’re convenient, they’re good for jobs. Hell, I’d rather take a train than fly or drive anywhere. We don’t need to sell trains. We are paid to sell cars, floor wax and brassieres.” The video directs viewers to MadFastTrains.com, which does, in fact, try to sell the concept of trains to Americans—mostly on environmental grounds. (The site also offers a form letter you can send to your senator in Washington.) For Kartheiser, who’s simply one of the best actors working in television today, this is a labor of love. Though he lives in Los Angeles, he famously gave up his car years ago in an effort to simplify his life and live ascetically.

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.