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How Much Hollywood Starts Got for Smoking?

Recent research of cigarettes smoking popularity revealed how close was collaboration between the tobacco industry and movie studios. One of the companies in a single year paid to movies stars over 3 million dollars (modern equivalent).

Experts from the Tobacco Control magazine state that classical movies of the 1930s, '40s and '50s help to market tobacco products even today. Virtually all of the big names involved in the film industry 1930-1950's, were involved in paid cigarette advertising, according to experts from the University of California, San Francisco. The research was made basing on advertising contracts of those times and thus it was possible to identify what payments were made.

According to the study, among the stars who agreed to promote smoke-screen, were Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Spencer Tracy, Joan Crawford, John Wayne, Bette Davis.

In 1927, Al Jolson became famous as one of the first actors and singers to star in "The Jazz Singer", a talking motion picture. The deals made at the very beginning of "sound" movie era, reveal, in particular, that Al Jolson urged the public to buy Lucky Strike cigarettes. "Folks, let me tell you, the good old flavor of Luckies is as sweet and soothing as the best "Mammy" song (popular at the time Jolson's hit) ever written..." - assured performer.

One of the most interesting documents, which felled into the hands of scientists, is a list of honorary paid within one year to various stars by American Tobacco concern, the manufacturer of Lucky Strike brand. Amounts of money which actors received were up to $10 thousands dollars, which is equivalent to modern $150 thousands. Total payments for one year totaled $3.2 millions in modern equivalent. In some cases, tobacco companies paid for creation of the radiobroadcast, in which stars made advertising claims.

Researchers believe that tobacco giants' multimillion investments in Hollywood pay off even today, despite an unofficial ban on the promotion of smoking cigarettes like Marlboro in movies. Such classic movies as "Casablanca" and "Go, stranger!" along with catchy posters helped to build a sense of universal tolerance toward cigarettes smoking on the screen.

Published: Friday, January 04, 2013

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