On this day in 1949: In one of a series of color advertisements on the back cover of The New Yorker magazine pairing a Hollywood star with a North Carolina tobacco grower, actress Joan Fontaine says, “In my home, guests always insist on Chesterfields because they’re so MILD,” while farmer Van W. Daniel of Ruffin says, “Chesterfield buys the best sweet, MILD cigarette tobacco. I have been a steady Chesterfield smoker for over 30 years.”
“Upset at the Chesterfield people for some reason, [Arthur Godfrey] once avoided doing a commercial through the entire program. Just as he was about to sign off, he said, ‘Oh, and today we’re brought to you by Chesterfields. They’re cigarettes’….
“One day he departed from the script he was handed for a Chesterfield ad and said, ‘You know what? Don’t buy ’em by the pack. Buy ’em by the carton. It’s probably cheaper.’ Six months later Liggett & Myers had to build a new factory…. They couldn’t keep up with demand….
“When Godfrey stopped smoking in 1953, he told his longtime sponsor, ‘I can’t sell your product when I don’t believe in smoking any more. I think it’s a terrible thing.’ Millions of dollars left CBS’s balance sheet that day.”
— From “Arthur Godfrey: The Adventures of an American Broadcaster” (2000) by Arthur J. Singer
I’m surprised Godfrey has held up so well on the Ngram Viewer — he was the Oprah of his time, but before the comments from Stephen and Jack in A View to Hugh, I can’t recall the last time I saw his name.
“[Movie producer Mike Todd, third of Elizabeth Taylor’s husbands] had rented a twin-engine Lockheed Lodestar and renamed it the Lucky Liz, which Elizabeth had decorated for him….
“In March 1958 Mike was to be roasted by the New York Friars Club…. Sammy Cahn had written risque lyrics to ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ that I planned to sing at the dinner. Mike wanted me to fly with him to New York on the Lucky Liz, but I had to go to Greensboro, North Carolina, to film a commercial for Chesterfield….
“I was watching television…. when it was announced that Mike’s plane had crashed into the mountains of New Mexico.”
— From “Been There, Done That” by Eddie Fisher [fourth of Taylor’s husbands] with David Fisher (1999)