Friday, September 08, 2006

The tobacco industry helped launch television’s golden age

This week free Camels go to Veterans Hospitals North Little Rock Arkansas and Omaha Nebraska……….

That bit of irony was spoken by Anne Jeffries hawking Camel cigarettes at the close of a 1950s episode of Topper. Video files of this and other cigarette commercials (including John Wayne shilling Camels, and years later urging viewers to fight cancer) are archived at TV Party.

Television was dependent on the tobacco industry in the early years. A blockbuster network show typically had only one or two sponsors, and the sponsor was often a tobacco product. As the medium matured it became less dependent, and tobacco commercials were finally banned on January 2 1971.

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