Movie star joins farmer in touting Chesterfields

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.”


The view south from West 43rd Street

The New Yorker’s supercilious first mention of North Carolina in 1925 proved to be typical of those for decades to come:

“The depressing motto of the Charlotte Theatre, Charlotte, North Carolina, is ‘Attend the Movies Regularly. In No Other Way Can You Get So Close to Life for So Little.’ ”

— Aug. 30, 1947

“Overheard in the Metropolitan Museum, a lady in front of Whistler’s ‘Mother: Arrangement in Grey and Black’ (speaking in a deep Southern drawl): ‘I don’t see why there’s all this fuss about Whistler’s mother. She’s just one of those old McNeills from North Carolina.’ ”

— May 1, 1954

“The Sears, Roebuck store in Charlotte, North Carolina, recently advertised ‘Plastic-like Leather Handbags.’ ”

— April 15, 1961

My bedside stack of  New Yorkers (with blow-in cards in situ) is as high as anyone’s, but the editors’ dismissive depiction of pre-Sun Belt  Southerners often made me wince…. OK, sometimes I also laughed.