Smoke Smoke Smoke That Cigarette

What smoking has given entertainment and popular culture?

Where would Hollywood be without the lingering plumes of seductive smoke that helped convey intimacy, contemplation, bravery, rebellion, companionability and independence… or a mixture of some or all of these? What would the likes of Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Joe Strummer do to convey that same sense of effortless nonchalance towards their craft if they were not able to have the ubiquitous cigarette dangling from their mouth, or propped in the machine head of their guitars. And if the smoking bans begin to make an even greater impact on our habits, will the audiences of tomorrow lose a whole language of rich symbolism? Voyager and The Big Sleep where cigarette smoke was not just an essential and beautiful part of the cinema but also, clearly stood for sex. When Sharon Stone crosses her legs in that famous scene in Basic Instinct and taunts her interrogator with “What are you going to do? Arrest me for smoking?” – will audiences of the future wonder why he hasn’t already done that? The symbolism and semiotics of smoking in the 20th century must be decoded. We should ask ourselves whether we might be in danger of losing a useful prop in the 21st.This is not a celebration of smoking or indeed a condemnation of it, rather it is a look at the special part cigarettes have played in the popular culture of much of the 20century… and a chance to explore where the likes of Dave Allen, Albert Camus, Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, Winston Churchill, Bette Davis, Pete Doherty, Serge Gainsbourg, Clark Gable, Lew Grade, the Joker in Batman, Maigret, Princess Margaret, Jean-Paul Sartre, (the list goes on) would be without their little sticks of burning leaves.

Mizoram: cigarettes, tea, and the wild wild hills

In the Mizo custom, when a girl likes a young man, she rolls a cigarette for
him, tying it with a strand of her hair. This is a quiet mark of special
attention, amidst the clamor of half a dozen people. The young man then makes a
visit with his friends, formally asking for the hand of the girl in

Mizoram. The land I was born in, left when I was 6, and am returning to after 17 years. I was prepared for the journey: the dramatic change in scenery, the extreme change in food. What I wasn't prepared for was the colour of the sky.
We start at mid afternoon from Guwahati, 'gateway' to the north east. You can immediately feel the difference as we leave the river plains of Assam and head into the hills of Meghalaya. Meghalaya, where the clouds come home ... but that's another story. We stop at Shillong, the state capital, for the night.

'Mizoram' literally means land of the Mizos (in Mizo). They are a small group, living in the southernmost state of India's northeastern region, and some parts of Myanmar (Burma). Of Mongoloid extraction, they are supposed to have a close affinity with the Thais and the Burmese. Originally headhunting animists, they were converted to Christianity by Welsh missionaries about a hundred years ago.
Rahul is madly in love with the hills, and extremely impatient with anyone who is not. Thank goodness we are on a bus, he would have us cycling in! He may have the will and the spirit, but the body is after all, mine; and it certainly couldn't take such a trip. He says he wants to go to Samlukhai, my grandfather's ancestral village. Samlukhai literally means 'head hanging by hair'; and if the inhabitants are anything like the name of their village, I would rather give it a wide berth.

We catch the sunset bus from Shillong. Though this means we are going to miss a lot of the scenery, I am happy. For one thing, I like travelling at sunset. And I'll be able to sleep. Rahul was so excited about the trip I didn't get a wink last night. As we pass through the rolling hills on top of the Shillong plateau, a bit of Rahul's enthusiasm infects me.
We reach Mizoram early in the morning. I am woken up by the conductor gently shaking my shoulder. We troop out of the bus, bleary eyed and bushy haired. This is Vairengte, the border outpost. The police check the passengers and the bus for liquor. Mizoram has banned liquor, and smugglers try hard to supply a consistent demand.
The roads are narrow, the hills are steep, but there is a freshness, a feeling of space, a wildness that ... but no. Let Rahul sleep. Breakfast in the small township of Kolasib (I don't know what it means) and I come face to face with the food. Rice, with boiled mustard leaves and smoked pork ... interesting. The Mizos don't like spicy food, though green chilies are served with all meals. They seem disappointed when I don't take a second helping of rice. First time I saw the hospitality thing at a commercial eatery. The food is simple, but filling. Rahul is too busy looking around to eat. The people seem poor, but hardworking and happy.
It is a few hours before we hit Aizawl, and I find out that we are behind schedule. No one really seems bothered, though, least of all Rahul. Most of the passengers are heading home. The old lady in the seat next to mine occasionally smiles at Rahul's enthusiasm. I smile back. Finally, Aizawl. We enter the town through a steep pass cut into the hill. There is a large cross at the entry, built in memory of the many who have died there. Sombre.
We will be spending Christmas in a small village called Nisapui, and Rahul and I looking forward to that. But first, family. Hello, hello, hello, howareyou, finethankyou.... oof! But the wind is fresh, the day is young, and it is almost Christmas.

We'll be leaving for Nisapui tomorrow. It looks like we can't make it to Samlukhai after all.
Nisapui is not far from Aizawl, and will not take much time to reach. The taxi driver has to fill up the tank, and we buy petrol off the black market. Even though there are plenty of vehicles in the town, petrol is a scarce commodity, as it has to be transported all the way from the plains. We pass the cross, and are soon in the countryside. No traffic, no shouting, just the quiet sounds of a village preparing for Christmas. And, of course, playing vaguely on the wind, Eminem.
The evening meal is normally around sunset. After that, the older people sit around the fire and talk. Young men go 'nula rim'ing, courting girls in groups. At any given time there will be about half a dozen young men in a girl's house. It is a matter of embarrassment if a girl's house is empty after dinner. Though this practice is not very popular in the communities outside Mizoram, in the villages it is definitely alive. In the Mizo custom, when a girl likes a young man, she rolls a cigarette for him, tying it with a strand of her hair. This is a quiet mark of special attention, amidst the clamor of half a dozen people. The young man then makes a visit with his friends, formally asking for the hand of the girl in marriage. I am not too sure whether the practice is still around. Must find out.
We sit outside after dinner. Someone brings out a guitar and starts singing. A small charcoal stove is lit and we all sit around the fire.
There are times when life just rears up and hits you in the face. Everything suddenly looks different. Suddenly you are happy. Rested. Things don't really matter; the only important thing is being totally absorbed by the moment. Not going anywhere, not doing anything. Just being.

Cross-Cultural Smoking Etiquette

Prague. Two local girls are sitting in a packed local cafe, drinking coffee and chain smoking. Two Americans at a table next to theirs start eating and politely ask the girls if they could stop smoking while they eat. The girls are visibly annoyed, but they do stop smoking. For the rest of the lunch hour, they talk about being fed up with foreigners who bring their healthy-living, assertive attitudes and impose them on the locals. Why don't they stay at their smoke-free homes, they said. The American guys were thinking in terms of "your freedom ends where my freedom begins."

Mind you, it is virtually impossible to find a smoke free restaurant in Prague and about one half of the adult population smokes. Unlike the US, smoking is still kind of cool here. Is it OK for a foreigner to ask a local to stop smoking in a place where smoking is allowed? What's a health-obsessed American to do?

Marlboro and Formula N1

Marlboro is also well known for its sponsorship of motor racing, starting with its sponsorship at Formula One with BRM and the less successful Iso Marlboro-Ford in 1972, which the former took one win at the rain-trodden Monaco Grand Prix. It wasn’t until the 1974, Marlboro dissolved sponsorship of both teams and became famously associated with McLaren, which it took its first constructor champion and its drivers title for Emerson Fittipaldi, the team became successful through to 1978, which it went through its dry patch until under its new owner, Ron Dennis, it started to become successful again in 1981 through to 1993, with the departure of Ayrton Senna. Until its split in 1996, Marlboro sponsored McLarens has dominated F1 with Niki Lauda and Alain Prost as well as Senna taking drivers’ championship each year between 1984 to 1991, with the exception of 1987.

Marlboro and Formula N1

As well as this Marlboro sponsored Scuderia Ferrari as secondary sponsor from the mid 1980’s as a result of company president Enzo Ferrari, who refused to allow "outside" sponsor brands to appear on his team cars. After his death in 1988, Marlboro began to take over as the primary sponsor which they would be later officially branded as Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro. Marlboro also sponsored the Alfa Romeo Formula One team between 1980 and 1983, although unable to match up to its pre-war and 1950s heydays, the team only achieving one pole position, one fastest lap and four podium finishes.

Since their start in Formula One, Marlboro has also sponsored numerous teams and races, from Joest Racing in Group C in 1983 to Toyota at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1999 (despite a tobacco ban in France) and Marlboro Masters Formula Three race in Zandvoort.
Penske PC-22 driven by Emerson Fittipaldi in 1993.
Penske’s car in 2007.Marlboro sponsorship in Champ Car (also known as ‘CART’ and ‘IndyCar’ at that time) dates back to 1986. The Penske cars in the Indy Racing League (IRL) currently run in Marlboro’s distinctive red and white colors. In 2006, a Marlboro-sponsored car won the Indianapolis 500. However for the 2007 season, Marlboro have ceased their sponsorship of the Penske Cars, their place being taken by Kodak. The team will retain the colour scheme, but the Marlboro Red replaced by a more orange-like red. Where ‘Marlboro Penske’ appeared on the side of the cars, ‘Team Penske’ replaced it.

Marlboro also sponsored the Australian Marlboro Holden Dealer Team from 1974 through to 1987.
The Marlboro branding gave rise to some of Australia’s most prominently recognizable race cars such as the L34 and A9X Torana, as well as the famous VK Group C "Big Banger" Commodore of Peter Brock and Larry Perkins Bathurst winning fame.
As well as this, in Motorcycling Grand Prix, Marlboro sponsored the Kenny Roberts run Yamaha team in 500cc as well as one of his former rider, Wayne Rainey’s team in the 250cc class. As a result of their sponsorship, Marlboro decals on race replica bikes became one of the most popular decal kits that were available. Marlboro nowadays sponsors the Ducati MotoGP team whom Casey Stoner rides for. Also with a long history in rallying sponsorship, Peugeot World Rally team as well as previously to that Mitsubishi and Toyota, run with the iconic Marlboro livery, and in some GP2 rounds on the back of the ART cars Marlboro logos can be seen. Marlboro are generally credited as being among the most important of sponsors to the world of Formula-1 (and motor racing in general), having provided financial backing to countless young racers who may not have otherwise been given the opportunity to compete. In mid-2006, special "racing editions" of Marlboro Red were sold in the UK, with a Ferrari-inspired design, although the Ferrari name and badge were not used.Marlboro and Holden

The Marlboro Man 1954-1962.

During the early 1950’s there were six filter cigarettes on the market: Winston, Kent, L&M, Viceroy, Tareyton and Parliament. Many American men considered filter tips effeminate, and together, these six brands totaled just 10% of all cigarette sales. Philip Morris had been making their non-filter tipped "Mild as May" Marlboro since 1924. The brand name had been picked from early trademarks that the original English firm had registered. Marlborough and Poland streets was the location of the first Philip Morris factory in London. In 1936 a red ‘beauty’ tip, meant to hide those tell tale lip stick smears, was added to the line. This "beauty tip" line extension was advertised with the slogan: "to match your lips and fingertips." Men thought Marlboro a brand for women or sissies, and in 1954 sales were less than one quarter of one percent–a brand with a dim future. With little to lose, Philip Morris decided to name a new filter tip cigarette Marlboro. Beginning May 1954, Marlboro with a recessed "selectrate filter" was test-marketed in Texas.Marlboro Man N2
Marlboro Man N1
Cecil & Presbrey, a small advertising agency who’s main asset seems to have been the Marlboro account supervisor, who just happened to be the son of the Chairman of the Board of Philip Morris, was responsible for the initial Texas newspaper ads. Packaging was the new crush proof flip-top box, which looked pretty much like it does today, except that a solid red color wasn’t used. Leo Burnett was the head of the advertising agency that was awarded the Marlboro account in November 1954, and he thought that the red and white stripes looked pink, and that the pack had an effete look. At Burnett’s request, Philip Morris switched to a solid red chevron. Burnett had asked his employees to identify a masculine image, and one of his copy writers suggested a cowboy. A stock photo of a cowboy was dug out of their files, and the phrase "Delivers the goods on flavor" added. This first Marlboro Man ad was used in the Dallas/Fort Worth test beginning January 1955. Burnett decided that men other than cowboys, men who were tough but with a polished air about them, could also be rugged Marlboro Men. With a simple military tattoo inked onto the back of his hand, the hunter, gardener, sailor or pilot became Marlboro Men. The tattoo supposedly signifying an adventurous past, became the Marlboro Man’s signature until replaced by a "Marlboro Country" cowboy in 1962. The Magnificent Seven movie music you are listening to was sequenced by Mr. Gary Wachtel. Philip Morris purchased the rights to Elmer Bernstein’s classic movie soundtrack, The Magnificent Seven, in 1963. This superb Academy Award nominated score was then used as background music for their Marlboro TV commercials. Jingles plus the music from the Magnificent Seven .

Marlboro-You get a lot to like 1955-1962.

The first Marlboro Men weren’t professional models, just good looking guys. These men came from all walks of life—garage mechanics to white collar businessmen. Each had one thing in common: they were tough looking with a worldly, successful air about them. The first was a US Navy Lieutenant. Later, advertising executive Leo Burnett’s own art director was used. However, the most successful were pilots. Little wrinkles around a pilot’s eyes made them particularly appealing to both men and women. The newspaper ads produced by Leo Burnett for the Texas test were also used when Marlboro began to go national. The advertising campaign opened in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. The Marlboro Man took New York by storm, and Marlboro quickly became the number one selling filter tip cigarette there. Sales went from the 18 million Marlboros sold in 1954, to 6.4 billion in 1955.

Marlboro Gardener Marlboro First Xmas Marlboro Hunter Marlboro Swimmer

Lady Marlboro 1957-1963.Beginning with his first cowboy ad in January 1955, advertising executive Leo Burnett gave Marlboro Filters an exclusively male personality. Positioning the new brand to appeal to just one half of the smoking population was considered risky. As it turned out, though, this was the right decision. Marlboro sales for 1957 were 19.5 billion cigarettes, up from almost nothing in 1954. However, sales slowed in 1958 because of an anti-smoking article published in Readers

Marlboro Woman Derby
This article was the first public documentation of just how bad cigarettes were for the smoker’s health, and how ineffective most filters were. The Kent Cigarette is a high filtration brand, and the only cigarette Readers Digest felt had a worthwhile filter. Kent sales rose dramaticly, while Marlboro sales leveled off at 20.7 billion cigarettes. Philip Morris executives decided to keep Marlboro filters a full-flavor brand, but did improve the filter. Another change was that Leo Burnett was allowed to produce TV commercials featuring Julie London singing "You get a lot to like with a Marlboro," and a few magazine ads picturing women in Marlboro country.

D. W. Lights up Marlboro Country 1970’s.

Five or six times a year rancher Darrell Winfield would receive a telephone call that sent him to majestic "Marlboro Country." Pictured in the classic advertising campaign more often than any other Marlboro Man, Mr. Winfield’s bushy mustache, the fine crow’s-feet around his eyes, plus a noble chin, made him a genuine 1970’s personality. Once, he was invited to attend a Chicago party. Winfield had a good time, but he really didn’t care that much for city life. What the Marlboro Man did enjoy was shooting the bull with cronies while passing around a bottle of brandy. Yep, a tailgate party held in a dusty rodeo parking lot was truly Marlboro country. This real life cowboy owns a horse ranch in Wyoming, roped steers in rodeos, and modeled for Philip Morris.

Marlboro Man DW Photo
Cowboy Marlboro NOW!

Marlboro Cowboy Now