Marshall McLuhan at the Ryerson Institute of Technology, Toronto, ca. 1967. Photo: Bernard Gotfryd/Getty Images.

THE TELEVISION DRAMA MAD MEN—featuring advertising-agency creative director Don Draper as the hero whose outer cynic is locked in combat with his inner existentialist—was first set in the late 1950s; it has now reached 1966. When the parents of Megan Calvet, Draper’s new wife, arrived in New York from Montreal, it was hard to see Calvet père as anything but a wave to Marshall McLuhan, the ultimate media savant as media celebrity in the mid-1960s. McLuhan was so big that in 1977, years after his moment had passed, he could still offer Woody Allen a great coup, allowing the actor-director to pull him into a scene in Annie Hall to correct a misquoting movie-queue blowhard who’s getting on Alvy Singer’s nerves: “You know nothing of my work,” says the tall, handsome, utterly composed professor of English from the University of Toronto to the comb-over bragging that he teaches

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