On January 1, 1971, the last cigarette commercials were aired. To celebrate the occasion (or perhaps ‘squeeze the life out of the opportunity’ is more accurate) Phillip Morris, that noble institution, bought an hour of airtime to jam as many cigarette ads into as possible. Above is a mash-up of the event; on the evening news Harry Reasoner, an anchor of the day who proudly smoked until he got lung cancer in 1987, bids a fond farewell to the TV cigarette ad and what follows is a montage of ads from the previous 25 years. Viewers of the bowl games got their last glance at Marlboro Country earlier that day and later in the evening when, at 11:50 pm on Jan. 1, 1971, the last television ad for cigarettes – Virginia Slims: “You’ve come a long way, baby” – ran on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. At the end, two non-cigarette ads from the same broadcast invite you to settle down with The Partridge Family (all non-smokers…except for Danny possibly?) and to take a walk with Dyan Cannon & the American Heart Association. Question: at three minutes in two women are shown with black eyes with the song ‘You’ve Come a Long Way Baby’ playing behind it. Is the use of this imagery while the cigarette/women’s lib anthem plays designed to show the great progress women have made since wife-beating was culturally acceptable? Jesus!


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