This is the first in a series of blogs I’m calling “Mashup Storypitches,” where I take two or more stories from popular culture–movies, books or TV shows–that share a trivial commonality, and envision what it would be like if they were mashed together. Nothing is sacred and stars, writers or concepts from different eras, genres or universes can coexist. Consider it “metaphorphic fanfic,” if you will!
Today’s Source Material: The Apartment (1960 movie, directed by Billy Wilder); Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961 movie, directed by Blake Edwards, based on a novella by Truman Capote); Mad Men (AMC television series, 2007-2014).
Trivial Commonality: All take place, or have a segment that takes place, in New York City in 1960.
Manhattan, 1960. Lula Mae Barnes leads a double life. By day she thinks she is Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), an elevator girl for Consolidated Insurance Company, who spends her days shuttling executives up and down a large midtown office tower. At night Lula Mae transforms into her alter-ego, glittering socialite Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn), who imagines herself as a glamorous young Bohemian who cavorts with rich men in limousines and gets paid for visiting mobsters in prison.
Lula Mae is having two separate affairs with married men. As Fran Kubelik, she is the mistress of Consolidated executive Jeff Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray), who’s had a “ring-a-ding-ding” with numerous secretaries and support staff in the building. As Holly Golightly, she is having an affair with Madison Avenue ad executive Donald Draper (Jon Hamm) who happens one night to come to a wild party at her friend’s apartment. To make things simpler, Lula Mae/Fran/Holly decides to carry on her affairs with both men at the same borrowed apartment owned by low-level Consolidated clerk C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon), who is secretly in love with Fran Kubelik. But when Baxter comes home and spies Holly Golightly leaving the building with Don Draper, he suddenly becomes smitten with her, not realizing that she and Fran are the same person.
The situation is further complicated when Don Draper happens to meet Jeff Sheldrake at a midtown bar and Sheldrake mentions that Consolidated is not happy with its current advertising agency. Don takes the initiative and goes to the Consolidated offices to pitch for their ad business. Fran Kubelik carries him in her elevator. Don also does not realize that Fran and Holly are the same person, and he hits on Fran, to whom he is attracted. Fran is deeply troubled because she realizes that Don is a player who will hit on anyone and is incapable of being faithful to any woman, including Holly. That night, as Holly, she meets Don in Baxter’s apartment and tries to break it off with him, but cannot because she realizes she is in love with him. She leaves her coat behind, but is careless and in the pocket of the coat is Sheldrake’s key to the executive washroom in the Consolidated building.
Baxter comes come, after Lula Mae/Fran/Holly has been there, finds the coat and the key and suddenly realizes that Fran Kubelik and Holly Golightly are the same person. Curious about who the “real” woman is that he has fallen in love with, Baxter hatches an ingenious plan: by sending a series of notes and messages through inter-office mail, he makes Sheldrake believe he will be meeting Fran that night at Baxter’s apartment, and also makes Don Draper believe he will be meeting Holly in the same place, but then as Baxter he calls each of them and switches their appointments. Sheldrake goes first and arrives at the apartment thinking he will meet Fran, but instead he finds Holly. He realizes that Fran has been leading a double life and feels insulted when she confesses that she loves Don Draper. He breaks it off with her and walks out. He also calls Don to tell him that Sterling Cooper is fired and that if he ever tries to see Lula Mae/Fran/Holly again, he (Sheldrake) will call Don’s wife and tell her he’s running around on her.
The next night Holly goes again to Baxter’s apartment, expecting to meet Don. Instead Baxter is there. He confesses the elaborate ruse and Lula Mae/Fran/Holly realizes that both Sheldrake and Draper are cads, and the person she should really be with is Baxter. They decide to move out of New York and start over somewhere else, and begin playing gin rummy. As the record of “Moon River” begins to play, Lula Mae/Fran/Holly says to Baxter, who is shuffling the cards, “Shut up and deal.”