3/18/2011

item 1 >>> Now Playing…   Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette/Tex Williams Light up and enjoy country music the way it’s supposed to be…yeah, that’s not the greatest job of lip-syncing I’ve ever seen, but what do you want, eggs in your beer?

item 2 >>> LQQK @ †h∆†! The Admiral is Here This video, which may or may not be authentic…everything is suspect these days cuz everything can be so easily faked or manipulated…is supposedly the first cigarette commercial, shown in movie theaters, from 1897…

item 3 >>>  The Smoking Lamp…It’s certainly a sign of the times…fans of The Andy Griffith Show tally the number of times Sheriff Taylor smoked a cigarette. I forget the exact number, around half a dozen…the first time was after he helped deliver that farmer’s baby, when Barney thought something suspicious was going on, maybe growing marijuana. Perhaps some day in the future, while still enjoying the timeless humor of the show, viewers will shake their heads every time Andy eats red meat…or operates an internal combustion vehicle. My podcast on old TV and radio commercials…link below…actually has a few fans, and they were pestering me since I hadn’t done a new installment since Christmas. Sometimes, you simply don’t feel like doing something even when you really do enjoy it…then suddenly, you do again. What shook me from my lethargy was finding a commercial with Jed Clampett and Granny hawking Winston cigarettes…dating from the several years in the 60s when that was the #1 best seller…before Marlboro took over, and has been ever since.

item 4 >>>  What have we here?…Well, the pack of Mapletons dates to WWII…a lot of tobacco was rationed for our fighting forces, and some domestic cigarette makers were left scraping the bottom of the barrel. Thus, flavor additives were tried, to mask the taste of the inferior leaf. Mapletons were one of several to go the rum and maple route. Others included honey (Cookie Jar), coffee (Coffee-Tone), even eucalyptus (Hed Kleer). Seen here next to an early 70s riff on that theme, Lemon Twists which weren’t half-bad, as I recall. And of course, the old standby, menthol. It’s from the mint family, but not peppermint…rather a variety called field mint, corn mint, or Japanese mint. In fact, the pricey Nat Sherman menthol smokes were called “mint” until the federales banned that appellation as “candy-like,” whereupon, without changing the formulation, they simply started calling it “menthol.”

item 5 >>> Spud Me, Baby…In the lower right you see a pack of Spuds. Odd name for a cigarette…made with potatoes? No, it was the first mentholated smoke on the market, a process invented by Lloyd “Spud” Hughes of Mingo Junction, Ohio…an idea he came up with while working as a cashier in his father’s restaurant. He sold his innovation door-to-door starting in 1924, but the brand didn’t take off until he was bought out in 1927 by the Axton-Fisher Tobacco Company of Louisville, one of the many mid-level firms at the time. By 1932 it was in the top 5 best-sellers nationally, prompting Brown & Williamson, one of the “big boys,” to come out with Kool. BTW, the Kool penguin was originally referred to as Mr. Kool, but eventually, he became Willie. Axton-Fisher was acquired by Philip Morris in 1944, and attempts were made to re-launch Spud as a filter-tip in the late 50s-early 60s, but without success.

item 6 >>>  Put  a Cork in It!…Upper right, Hale was one of several chlorophyll ciggies…also Fairfax, there were probably a few others…during the first “Green” fad in 1953-54, which went as quick as it came…leaving a single remnant, Clorets. We also see the “mostly filter” smokes Bruce Willis had to contend with the the futuristic movie The Fifth Element. Ever wonder why filters are colored that mottled tan? It’s meant to simulate cork, thin strips of which were wrapped around one end of straights to prevent the paper from sticking to the lips…seen (above) with Herbert Tareyton, a non-filter. I had heard this as a kid, but assumed it meant a small piece of cork was stuck to the end of a cigarette…even tried inhaling (not smoke, just air) thru a cork, but couldn’t see the appeal…duh. Corn was also employed, as seen (below) in this precious ad…

And actual gold-leaf…here’s an interesting excerpt from my article on David Saville and the Chipmunks, available at Traveling Cyst…see link below…

item 7 >>> Write ’em if you got ’em…Also seen in the bottom right corner is a modern version of the cigarette pen, next to a pack of King Sanos. (Who was King Sano? Nobody, this was just the King-size version of Sano cigarettes.) Today, ciggie pens even have a simulated ash tip…the one I had in the 60s opened differently, a typical one shown below…they were popular as advertising giveaways, especially for hotels. I wonder if a kid could write with one in a Tobacco-free school zone today…after all, it’s just plastic, metal and ink! For some fun, why not bring that up at the next School Board meeting.

item 8 >>> Sticker Shock…Up at the top, we see today’s most expensive cigarette…Treasurer, made in England since 2000. That’s an aluminum case, and it comes in several varieties…Silver, Gold, Black, and the bargain-basement Luxury White. When it first came out, it cost about double what normal smokes do today…price now is around $40 a pack…not a carton, a pack. My birthday’s coming up June 20th…hint, hint…

item 9 >>>  The Long and Short of It…Just below the Kennedy brothers is one of the all-time strangest…Head Play, named after the race-horse who won the 1933 Preakness. Around that time, a cigarette tax was imposed…at first based on the number of cigarettes in a pack…so Axton-Fisher (these guys were always thinking!) came up with the bright idea of an 11-inch long cigarette, perforated to break up into 4 pieces, 5 to a pack, for a total of 20 regular-size smokes, DIY. But the tax was on 5, not 20, get it? Still, they didn’t catch on, except it is said for college fraternity initiations…gasp! This loophole was soon closed, as cigs would be taxed by weight, which is where Class A and Class B come from. Did you think it had to do with quality? Like Class B’s were only fit for farm animals to smoke? No, A’s weigh less than 3 pounds per thousand, B’s more. But hardly anybody made B’s. The last were the 6-inch Fantasias by Nat Sherman…they say they stopped making them in 1995, altho Fantasias are still available today as 101’s…seems to me technically they discontinued Fantasias, and renamed the Jubilees…as seen here from 1979.

But back to Head Play, image a cigarette almost twice as long as these 6-inch Fantasias! That would be about 280mm. To compare, King size are 85mm, old fashioned “regulars” 70mm. At the other end of the spectrum, the shortest ever made were 50mm…examples being Adonis by Batt Bros. and S.P.Q.R by Benson & Hedges…thru the 1920s and 30s. Batt Bros. also made the 54mm Paons. Me, I think the time is right for a shortie…for those quick dashes outside in the freezing cold…my name for ’em would be Whifs…feel free to steal that…

item 10 >>> But What’s that Car?…That’s a 1930 Model A Ford…color was called Cigarette Cream…with contrasting what, Lung Black? They also offered a darker shade called Tobacco Brown. But I’m at a total loss to explain what they were thinking the early 60s with Kentucky Kings and its “all tobacco filter,” what appears to be a different kind of tobacco…and were you supposed to smoke that too, or not? Before filter-tips became popular in the early 50s, King-size straights often touted the filtering action of drawing smoke thru a longer length of tobacco. Fleetwood Imperials were probably the first mainstream offering in 1941…Axton-Fisher again…paraphrasing Bill Murray in Stripes, I wanna party with those cowboys!

Wicked Ballsy

Talk about Cozmik Coincidences. On Wednesday of this week, as part of my peek inside LIFE magazine of 9/18/64, I showed this picture (left) and wondered where they hid the refrigerator. And mind you, that post was completed, except for final editing, around noon on Tuesday. That very same day (Wednesday), the Wall Street Journal headline read: Kitchens Play Hide and Seek…High-End Appliances Go Behind Closed Doors…with the following illustration…

Answer to Yesterday’s Kolor Kwiz…looks right to me, altho there are other geraniums, right?



shameless plugs copied from yesterday, over my shoulder…CUT IT OUT!

Podcasts at http://stolfpod.podbean.com and   http://thewholething.podbean.com

Other Daily blog at http://stolf.wordpress.com (the legendary Stolf’s Blog)

More bloggage at http://travelingcyst.blogspot.com and  http://www.examiner.com/retro-pop-culture-in-watertown/mark-john-astolfi

Resume at http://travelingcyst.blogspot.com/p/resume.html

Audio samples coming soon…or just check the podcasts…twc-rr so still über-blows…


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