Kids, your servant included, enjoyed nothing more than buying a pack of candy cigarettes and pretending that we were smoking. It seemed cool. When I watch movies made in the 1930s and 40s, what jumps out at me is how often people light up a cigarette. They smoke everywhere. We smoked everywhere but I don’t notice the absence of it because it happened gradually.
What fascinates me about these old movies is how important cigarettes were as a prop and how much an actor could define his character by the way he handled his cigarette. Naturally people in these movies smoked actual brands of cigarettes which were available to the everyday dolt. See your favorite actor smoke a Parliament and go out and smoke them yourself.
Television wasn’t the only place cigarettes were advertised. Billboards advertising cigarettes were everywhere. Big metal signs proclaiming such and such a brand of cigarette were posted in stores. Magazines were filled with cigarette ads. And most everyplace which sold cigarettes gave you free matches and those matches were made by the cigarette companies.
Lots of athletic contests and other wholesome things were sponsored by the cigarette companies. Now the beer and alcohol companies have kindly stepped into the breach. Is this a great country or what.
[Images courtesy of The Society Pages.]