This glamorous portrait of Carole Lombard, from the December 1935 cover of the Spanish-language film magazine Cine-Mundial, would be infinitely more glamorous to many were it not for what she's holding in her hand...a cigarette. Like many of her time, Lombard was a smoker -- something that today might seem to be at odds with her personality, given her love for sports and activity -- but back then, few (if any) recognized the health hazards endemic to tobacco. (We don't know when Carole took up smoking or why, though in the 1920s, it became fashionable for women to smoke.) Only since the 1960s has the public been aware of the dangers from smoking.
We've discussed Carole's ties to cigarettes in the past (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/260044.html), but a new website from Stanford University's School of Medicine, "Stanford Research into the Impact of Tobacco Advertising," provides insight into just how pervasive -- and in retrospect, insidious -- this practice was. The site includes a huge array of tobacco ads (http://tobacco.stanford.edu/tobacco_main/main.php), and one of the 28 categories presented are nearly 470 ads featuring celebrities from movies, TV, Broadway and even opera.
Here's one I haven't seen before, an Old Gold ad from late 1934 or early '35 featuring director Cecil B. De Mille and a half-dozen stars, including Carole:
Note that all six stars, in addition to De Mille, were based at Paramount (and "The Crusades" was a Paramount production), leading one to believe that this ad was some sort of studio tie-in with P. Lorillard, maker of Old Golds. Nearly two years before this ad ran, Lombard and Lyle Talbot were shown in an Old Gold ad promoting their "No More Orchids," a Columbia film:
And in the fall of '34, while her Paramount film "Now And Forever" was in theaters, Carole dressed -- in gold, appropriately -- to hawk the smoke in magazines:
A few years later, Lombard "switched" from Old Gold to Lucky Strike. (I have no idea what brand she smoked in real life, or whether she had any brand loyalty at all. According to the Stanford site, Carole's friend Lucille Ball was an inveterate Chesterfield smoker; in the early '50s, when rival Philip Morris sponsored Ball's breakthrough sitcom "I Love Lucy," she placed Chesterfields in Philip Morris boxes during the filming of episodes.) Lombard appeared in this 1937 ad, saying that her singing coach suggested a "light" smoke (a frequent angle of Luckies ads at the time, particularly those directed towards women):
And the Stanford site doesn't take into account cards used as premiums in tobacco packages, though to be fair that practice -- at least involving film stars -- was rare in America after World War I:
Just something to think about the next time you watch "Mad Men."
Tourney update: After falling far behind early, Carole is within striking distance of Ginger Rogers, trailing 82-64; a surge can put her back into contention. Go to http://mythicalmonkey.blogspot.com and vote; the deadline is 10 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday.