Classic Tobacco Deals

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Claudette Colbert Ad

Claudette Colbert served three cigarette companies while under contract to Paramount Pictures. This Lucky Strike ad plugs Paramount's 1937 film Bluebeard's Eighth Wife. While Paramount received free advertising, Colbert was paid $10,000 in advertising fees, worth more than $150,000 today. (American Tobacco agreements, 1937-8) Lucky Strike ads also plugged two other Paramount films starring Colbert in 1937: Maid of Salem and I Met Him in Paris. Paramount is now part of Viacom; American Tobacco merged into Reynolds American.

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Stanwyck

Stanwyck later appeared in ads for Chesterfield (1950) and L&M. Both are Ligget & Myers brands, now owned by Altria.

 

 

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Spencer Tracy Ad

Tracy received at least $10,000 (more than $150,000 in today's money) from American Tobacco. His Lucky Strike cigarette ads also plugged the MGM films Captains Courageous and Mannequin in 1937. Tracy died of lung and heart disease at 67.

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Bette Davis Ad

Bette Davis personally edited her endorsement agreement with the tobacco company. This tabloid ad also mentions other actors under contract to Warner Bros., who purportedly share Lucky Strikes with Davis "at the studio lunch room."

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Myrna Loy Ad

Myrna Loy, co-star of The Thin Man film series, was voted a Top 10 moneymaker by US theater owners in 1937 and in 1938. Paid $10,000 by American Tobacco (more than $150,000 in todays dollars) Loy signed a testimonial text: "It's always easy for me to get a Lucky Strike from Joan Crawford or Clark Gable, or even most of the newcomers to the studio...So, all in all, you can see I'm really enthusiastic."

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Rita Hayworth

Hayworth, a screen siren, was portrayed as a smoker in films including Gilda (1946) and The Lady from Shanghai (1947). "I used to have to punch a time clock at Columbia," she later complained. "Every day of my life. Honey, I was under exclusive contract—like they owned me. Pose with that head of state, that kinda soap, this kind of cigarettes...and they get the stuff! I never saw any soap!"