Thursday, 25 September 2008
Old Hollywood and the Cigarette Industry
The BBC has this on their website where they discuss that the stars of yesteryear received large payments to promote cigarettes. I don't smoke but I don't particularly care if people smoke on screen or on stage (on the other hand, very grateful for smoking ban in restaurants here in the UK). Personally don't think it's nice, sexy or agreable, but some of my best friends still smoke, so I try to live with it. However two thoughts came to me while reading this:
1. The amounts given are a rather interesting reminder that those who have some posterity are not always the most popular. I mean Fred MacMurray received more money than Henry Fonda, and Myrna Loy (who I absolutely adore) and Carole Lombard (who I often love) have been certainly forgotten by most of the population, despite the first been crowned Queen of Hollywood to Clark Gable's King of Hollywood and the second having been Mrs Gable and a huge star in her own right.
2. The article doesn't mention the amount given to Bette Davis. Whatever much it was, it wasn't enough... and probably wouldn't cover more than a couple years of her cigarette bill... She was, is, and will probably always be the first name I think when someone mentions smoking and film in the same sentece. As she herself said, "If I didn't lit a cigarette, they wouldn't know who I was".