'Mad Men' to Receive Los Angeles Conservancy Preservation Award

Mad Men Draper Desk 2011

The AMC drama, whose fifth season was delayed until early 2012 on Tuesday because of contract negotiations with creator Matthew Weiner, will receive the media award for sparking "an explosion of interest in all things 1960s."

Not all of this week's news about Mad Men has been bad.

Though it was announced Tuesday that the AMC show's fifth season would be delayed until early 2012 due to ongoing negotiations between creator Matthew Weiner and the network, the show got some good news with the Los Angeles Conservancy's announcement of the 30th Annual Preservation Awards winners.

Mad Men won the organization's media award, for sparking "an explosion of interest in all things 1960s, including architecture, bolstering efforts to save greater L.A.'s rich, yet highly vulnerable, legacy of sixties resources," the group noted Monday in its awards announcement. The L.A. Conservancy is a nonprofit advocacy organization that works to preserve and recognize the historic architectural and cultural resources of Los Angeles County.

Though set in New York, Mad Men is produced in Los Angeles and uses locations across the city -- and particularly in the downtown area -- for filming. One Season 4 episode, for example, used a longtime Vernon eatery, La Villa Basque, for a barroom sequence.

The show has also filmed at Andy's Coffee Shop in Pasadena, Bob's Big Boy Broiler in Downey and the Millennium Biltmore Hotel and Casey's Irish Pub in downtown, among various other venues.

"We've focused on L.A.'s 1960s architecture for the past couple of years, since it's coming of age and needs preservation," says Linda Dishman, executive director of the L.A. Conservancy. "We didn't plan it, but the timing aligned perfectly with the smash success of the show. People would raise their eyebrows when we talked about sixties buildings being historic. All we had to do was say 'Mad Men,' and people got it."

Weiner has taken an interest in L.A. preservation, standing alongside the Conservancy in its call for the owner of La Villa Basque to not alter its 1960s design. The proprietor has plans for a remodel that would modernize the aging eatery.

The restaurant features a Googie-style coffee show and swank martini lounge. In a March 24 Los Angeles Times story on the fight to preserve the building, Weiner said: "It is a fact that destroying it or 'updating' it is the worst thing to do both for shooting purposes and the commercial life of the restaurant."

The award will be presented at the Conservancy’s awards ceremony May 12 at the Biltmore Hotel.