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April 28, 2009

Mad Men script writers want to know about Haussner's



I just finished talking to Brett Johnson, research coordinator for AMC's "Mad Men."

His department called out of the blue wanting to know what uniforms the waitresses at Haussner's wore in the early '60s.

The picture I found in the archives is dated later. It's hard to say when it was taken; the caption says it was published in 1984, but one very much like it without the waitress was taken by the same photographer and published in 1970. ...

If Johnson asked me to send it to him, I was going to tell him to check my blog, but he already had this picture.

I made an executive decision and told him I thought it was safe to go with the white nurse's uniform look for the early '60s as well, but I wasn't around then. If any of you were, and still remember, please post below.

Then I asked him how Haussner's was going to figure in the show. He wouldn't tell me, of course, but he did promise to call me and let me know if the scene makes it into season 3.

(Sun archives photo)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 3:27 PM | | Comments (27)


Now aren't you glad we raved about the show until you finally got it on DVD? You didn't have to say "Mad Who?"

I generally loved eating at Haussner's, but it was pretty creepy being served food by a nurse.

(not old enough to answer the question, just wanted to throw that out there).

It would be fun to give him a bum steer, something like leopard-skin pantsuits and propeller beanies. Then when the scene he was researching it for came on we could laugh and laugh.

That's awesome!! I can't WAIT until August!

I wonder if they're going to have an episode set in Baltimore, or if it's just going to be a Haussner's-like place. Show creator Matthew Weiner is from Baltimore.

You know, I really thought they wore pale pink uniforms, not white. But it's been so long, I could be mistaken....

"The Haussner's waitresses -- almost as much a Baltimore icon as the oil paintings -- arrive in crisp white cotton uniforms and push their orders to the tables on wheeled carts draped in snowy napkins."

From a 1998 Baltimore Sun article...

Sheesh, don't you even check your own employer's archives?

No need to be rude. We're trying to figure out what they wore in the early '60s, but I guess you must not watch the show. (And it was a 1999 article.) EL

I just found out that the creator/writer/producer of this show is a Park School alum, so I'm not surprised to hear that a Baltimore landmark would end up in the show!

If you cannot be civil, please refrain from commenting. This is a friendly community and we don't like uncalled-for snark.

(I'm guessing that is how RtSO might have replied.)

Based on his columns about the old charm city days, it seems Frank Rasmussen (sorry about spelling, going from memory) might be old enough to remember what those waitresses wore in the 60s. Has anyone asked him yet?

I really enjoy his pieces. I often save them to supplement my old baltimore history book, also by a Sun reporter, Francis E. Beirne, called The Amiable Baltimoreans, which stops about 1950 or so. The Mobtown chapter is great.

Give him a break PCB, it ain't fun living in Middle Earth

We never went to Haussners but in the early 60's the business lunch spot for the downtown MadMen types would have been Burkes at the corner of Light & Lombard.

Of course I only went there when Dad would be forced to drag my brother or I with him when he went in on the occasional Saturday. I loved the place.

Real Bawlmer Hon types in French's Mustard yellow uniforms.

Just so long as they don't make the waitresses (and they were "waitresses," not servers) hot babes.

OMG -- B>) is right. Orcs tend to be somewhat lacking in social graces.

Might be a question for Jaques Kelly???

He would know if anyone would, but he's such a child he wouldn't have been born then. EL

Unfortunately, my only memory of Haussners is a bad one. My mother came for a visit and we took her to Haussners. As we were leaving she didn't see the small step down as you neared the door and fell, ending up with 2 broken ankles. The staff seemed quite unconcerned and only grudgingly offered assistance. But the one woman did make an off handed comment that, yes, quite a few people have missed that step. There was no sign or marking to warn you of the step. I never had any desire to return.

I've heard that Mader's in Milwaukee is pretty close to the old Haussner's. Now, I've been to Mader's but never Haussner's, so I can't say for certain.

here's something i found...
(taken from this blog)

it looks to be from the late 70s/early 80s (judging by the hairstyles). it MIGHT be close enough...maybe?

I could check with my folks; they both grew up in the city and ate at Haussner's in the '60s. I think that they wore the nurse's-white pretty much consistently, certainly every time my family went there (many, many times from the late '70s through close).

There was a National Geographic piece on Baltimore in the early 70s that featured at least one shot of Haussner's. I cannot recall if there was a server in it, but it may be a lead. Here is a link to the index that has a couple of options (not sure which one had the Haussner's pic):

I'll add an anecdote:
When I was about to graduate from the Masters of Librarianship program at the U of Washington in 1990, and had decided to try my luck in Baltimore, someone referred me to a full professor in the Library Science Department, who was a sort of formal fellow (tweed jacket with leather elbow patches, y'know) who had spent some time here in the 60s. He told me about various libraries he worked in, then surprised me with a comment along the lines of "Of course, when I was in the Navy, we'd go to Baltimore, visit Haussner's for a Hasenpfeffer and then go to the Block for the burlesque shows."

Haussners used to be our favorite family occasion restaurant. From as far back as I can remember, even back to the 1960's, the waitress uniforms were pretty much the same. Burke's was and is another downtown "businessman's" meeting place, as was Mandell's (or Mandell and Ballows, depending on the year) in Pikesville.

That is a very interesting blog. What is the movie about exactly? And where will I be able to watch it?
I am a German living in the USA since August 2006 and I have heard of Haussner's. Unfortunately I am too young to know all that stuff though (24).
I am connected with a lot of other Germans here in Baltimore though. We meet every second week for our Stammtisch meet up. We meet to speak german and people that want to learn german attend as well.
Maybe I can find out something from an older german person there.
Will get back with you if I shell find out anything.

Vera, I was surprised to see how strong German is still here in Baltimore. Half of my people came from Germany, way back before it was Germany, and I'm from an area where most other people's ancestors came from Germany, too. Not a trace, though, anywhere to be found of the language or culture.

Baltimore, however, has Zion Lutheran, a German butcher (sadly inaccessible by bus) and other German stuff. Very cool.

My family really misses the strawberry shortcake.

I worked as a waitress at Haussner's the last foru years it was open. The uniform was always the same: white nurse's dress and shoes, beige stockings, white full slip and white girdle! (for those with ample figures not to draw attention to unsightful movements) beige or neutral nail polish, and hair back and up away fro the face. Everything must be spotless!

BONNIE!! It's me Angela! Bonnie is correct as I was also a Haussner's waitress until closing. She and I were "The youngest antiques in the place". I have been searching the internet for a copy of the photo they took of all of us, the Staff and all. I did not recieve a copy nor did I think to keep the Newspaper release! Bonnie, find me on facebook or send me an email

I also worked at Haussner's from 1986 until Jan 1997. I have nothing but nice things to say. I was also once the youngest waitress there. I was known as Fran 3. Aside from Mrs Frances Haussner and her daughter Fran George, there were 3 waitresses named Fran. From the owners to the staff...we were family. Fran George was a hands on owner! It was nothing for her to scrub a pot if it needed to get done! When I wanted to go to college, I was encouraged to go and they worked around my schedule. When my mom was ill, they worked around my schedule. How many places can you say that about? I have nothing but respect for Fran and Steve George and am grateful and proud to say that I worked there!! ... and yes after 11 years, I could tell you some stories!!!

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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