The late great Nick Tosches (author of ‘Dino’, ‘The Devil and Sonny Liston’, ‘Cut Numbers’ and much more) was a friend of mine way back at the end of the last century and over lunch would occasionally describe ideas for books he knew he’d never get around to writing. One was a guidebook to restrooms in bars in New York City, the idea being that you could consult the book for the nearest bar to both take a piss in and grab a drink while you were at it. (As I recall the big idea was for it to eventually lead to a major walking tour with participants all winding up plastered by the end of it). Another of his unwritten books–probably my favorite–was a children’s book titled ‘Johnny’s First Cigarette’. Honestly, I can’t remember the plot as I would inevitably be laughing too much as he recounted the story of getting a young innocent boy hooked on cigarettes. In tribute to this unfulfilled vision I offer the above reel of cigarette ads from the early 1960s. They’re mostly Newport and Kent ads–Joey Bishop is all over the place since Newport was his show’s sponsor–but there’s also an intriguing brand that I’ve never heard of called York. The gimmick is that York is the longest cigarette made and thus doesn’t need a filter since the smoke is so far away from you. Whhhaaaatttt? I don’t know. Here’s to Nick, a confirmed smoker who never quit and never gave a damn. As for myself, it will be twenty-two years this Thanksgiving since I’ve had any form of smoke pass my lips…


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