Thursday, October 02, 2008

Smoke smoke smoke that cigarette!

Cinema Retro writers are among the best on any website dealing with the entertainment business. In a long review of the new Honey West DVD collection here's a very interesting insight for those of us who grew up watching ads for tobacco products:

"VCI has done a good job of remastering the episodes, which look crisp and clean. Sadly, Ms. Francis is not interviewed on the set perhaps due to the fact that she is said to be in fragile health. However, the packaging is impressive and there are extensive liner notes listing prominent directors and guest-stars. Not incidentally, a highly enjoyable aspect of the set is the inclusion of an abundance of TV commercials from the 1960s. None relate to the show and most are for consumer products ranging from laundry detergent to cigarettes. One realizes how much revenue the TV industry lost when cigarette ads were banned in the early 1970s. I hadn't seen these in decades, but such was their impact on a child, that I could still recall the dialogue and tunes in certain episodes. It's amazing how smoking dominated popular culture during that era. In one ad for Sucrets throat lozenges, the ad advises you to take a tablet and feel free to smoke if you're suffering from a sore throat! There are also spots with George Burns ensdorsing the "luxury" of El Producto cigars- at least until the announcer mentions you can buy them at two for 25 cents! There are also promos for women's cosmetics, Edie Adams shilling another brand of cigars and some vintage ads for The F.B.I., A Man Called Shenandoah, The Legend of Jesse James and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. If you can't get into Honey West, these ads should be worth the price of the set alone. - Lee Pfeiffer"

5 comments:

August West said...

I guess it's nostalgic. I also remember famous athletes doing the commercials-the message was different then, a different time.

As for the Honey West DVD Collection, It's on my wishlist for Christmas. (The family said I never ask for anything for Christmas. Now that I'm older and almost done paying for everyones college education, they can start buying me things...)

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Did Edie Adams shill for Dutch Masters? I'm extrapolating because DM was Ernie Kovaks' sponsor and she was his wodow. I do recall her line, "Why don't you pick one up and smoke it sometime?" Made me want to try one and I was just a kid.

Ed Gorman said...

Bob-I can't remember who she shilled for but the commercials sold a lot of cee-gars.

pattinase (abbott) said...

People not alive in the sixties think Mad Men is over the top in terms of smoking. But I worked in a office of nearly 100 people in 1968 and all of them smoked. Including me. And we smoked all the time. I can't imagine what that office must have been like for the ones who didn't.

Mike Doran said...

The Consolidated Cigar Co. was the manufacturer of Dutch Masters (pitched in some memorable silent spots by Ernie Kovacs), Muriel (Edie Adams accompanied by major jazz and pop music talents of the time), and El Producto (George Burns being George Burns). I believe this is what is now called 'corporate synergy'; whatever, the guy who ran Consolidated Cigar was a major comedy fan - it was his sponsorship that gave Kovacs carte blanche on his '60s specials.