I’ve made it no secret over the years on this blog that I’m a huge fan of old time radio. One of my favorite joys during the holiday season is listening to Buck Benny’s OTR podcast and hearing the Bing Crosby radio shows that took place through the months of November and December from various by-gone years in the late ’40s & early ’50s. Not only do you get to hear great Christmas music sung by Bing and guests but you also get fun commercials pushing cartons of Chesterfield cigarettes as Christmas presents to give to your friends & family.
Chesterfield is a cigarette brand that was popular in the first half of the 20th century. They are still manufactured to this day (Phillip Morris bought the brand in 1999) but are hard to come by in the United States and most of their sales now come from Europe. Anyway, they sponsored a number of radio shows and would go all out around the holidays by sprucing up their cigarette cartons with a holiday theme and or the faces of the celebrities they were sponsoring at the time. They would even include a nice little gift tag on the box so the person you were giving it to knew who bought it for them.
Can you imagine a cigarette company doing this now? There would be outrage! No way would the tobacco industry have the balls to encourage giving cartons of cigarettes to your friends & family for Christmas. You’d only see something like this these days in a Saturday Night Live skit. Ah, smoking. It was so innocent back in those days (just like suicide)!