‘Smoke Without Fear’: The industry strikes back

“Reports linking the death rate from cancer with cigarette smoking were ridiculed this week by Donald C. Cooley, author of  ‘Smoke Without Fear,’ a 32-page booklet published by True Magazine.

“Cooley, managing editor of Your Health and Your Life magazines, has one piece of advice to persons who enjoy smoking and who have been unsuccessful in their attempts to give up the habit — quit trying.

“Cooley pointed out that consumption of cigarettes in the United States has increased 456 percent since 1920, and lung cancer deaths in men have increased 411 per cent since 1930.

“A graph, he adds, would show cigarette smoking and lung cancer deaths shooting up at the same frightening rate.

” ‘However,’ Cooley said, ‘you can make a similar chart showing that the cost of living has increased in about the same proportion as has male lung cancer. A debater might argue that four times as many men now have cancer because coffee now costs $1.20 a pound, as against 30 cents in 1930.’

“By the same token, he pointed out, life expectancy has risen with the increased use of cigarettes.”

— From Billboard magazine, September 18, 1954

Donald C. Cooley is actually Donald G. Cooley, otherwise best known as author of  “The New Way to Eat and Get Slim” (1941) and founding editor of the magazine that would become Mechanix Illustrated.

tobacco.org reprints Cooley’s sophistic booklet , which was the brainchild of Hill & Knowlton, the industry’s PR factory.


Military finds use for banned pinball machines

“North Carolina newspapers recently carried stories about pinball machines helping win the war…. The Army Air Force Training Command discovered that the electrical switches, relays and complicated circuits in the machines are of value in testing the mechanical aptitude of trainees.

“With manufacture having been banned for the duration, such equipment proved difficult to obtain until confiscated pinball machines were rounded up and sent to Atlantic City and Greensboro basic training centers. Both cities have license laws, and evidently the machines in the hands of law enforcement had been seized for violations.”

— From Billboard magazine, March 27, 1943


A songwriter’s tribute to ‘Atomic Power’

On this day in 1945: The day after Hiroshima, country musician Fred Kirby composes “Atomic Power,” the first song to acknowledge “The Bomb.” Billboard magazine calls it “the greatest folk song in 20 years.”  The chorus: “Atomic power, atomic power… It was given by the mighty hand of God.”

Other versions will outsell  the original by Kirby, who goes on to become a longtime kiddie-show cowboy at Charlotte’s WBTV.