Monday, August 10, 2015


The far side of fifty
and he still doesn't inhale

Gotta light?
Secondhand smoke irks the hell out of me. If you blow your used, stale, putrid smoke in my direction, I'll deck you. Stay inside and blow it on yourself.

I don't smoke now, but there was a time when I thought smoking was hot and tough. And sexy. I was a faux smoker for years. I smoked but seldom inhaled. Sounds like bull but it's the gospel truth. I assumed the image but didn't exactly partake.

I started smoking when I was sixteen. It was sinfully easy to get a pack of smokes back then because cigarette machines were everywhere. Fifty cents a pack.

My favorite cigs were Cools. Loved them. Later, I advanced to Krakatoa and Shermans. Krakatoas were made with cloves. Shermans looked chic and unique (they came in colors) - - but they smelled lousy.

Nowadays Big Brother is watching your ass and you have to get a written consent form from God before you can buy a pack of cigarettes. And you have to smoke fifty miles away from Earth. What does a pack cost nowadays, ten bucks? Hell if I know.

Whether you like smoking or not, I prefer the good old days, when having a smoke wasn't a sin and the Commie Bureaucrats weren't eroding our freedom. That will probably freak  some sensitive people, but political incorrectness is one of my specialties.

Let's cut through the smoke and get to the crux of the matter. I dug through my photo files and found pictures of celebrities with cigs. I had initially planned to post them on my photo blog Cabinet of Curious Treasures.
Since I have so many smoke photos, however, I've decided to post some here and others over there.

Grab your lighters and ashtrays. Here we go.

Few people know that Shirley Temple was a heavy smoker from an early age. She tried to be discreet because of her fans, but occasionally photographers caught her indulging in her nicotine habit.

Jackie Kennedy Onassis was another heavy smoker who tried to keep her habit away from public scrutiny. She was known to smoke  three packs a day. Here's a photo of her puffing in 1954.

Smug and Smokey

It was no secret that Bette Davis smoked. In fact, she smoked until she croaked. She doesn't look too fond of the kitty in this photo.
Come to think of it, the kitty doesn't look too pleased, either. 

Gloria Swanson, looking pretty cool with a cigarette.
"I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille."
(if you haven't seen the film Sunset Boulevard, you won't know what I'm talking about)

Smoke and Rudolf Valentino
This is one of my favorite photos of Rudy.
He made one film with Gloria Swanson, Beyond the Rocks (1921). Smoking had nothing to do with it.

Gary Cooper
young, hung, and tobacco-prone

Humphrey Bogart
almost unrecognizable in this early Hollywood shot. A life-time heavy smoker who succumbed to throat cancer.

Lauren Bacall
another heavy smoker - - that's why her voice eventually sounded just like Bogart's.

Hedy Lamarr

Heck, some stars were just too beautiful to be seen in the company of a cigarette......

Martha Raye
not exactly beautiful, but I love this photo

 Cary Grant
a smoke and an attitude

 Here's a rare photo of Elizabeth Taylor.
Blonde and smoking.

 Montgomery Clift
Liz Taylor fell in love with him while they were filming A Place in the Sun (1951) Too bad he was gay. (heck, we all fell in love with Monty....)

Smoke Screen
an extremely rare photo of James Dean

 Marlene Dietrich
the original Blue Angel
cigarettes were merely a prop.......

Marlon Brando
I was never really a fan, but I love hearing him yell "STELLA!!!!!"

 Marilyn Monroe
didn't exactly need a cigarette to smoke.....

 A rather unflattering photo of Sophia Loren.
Looks like the morning after.......
A little more Max Factor under the eyes, please.

 An unusually unflattering photo of Audrey Hepburn puffing. A far cry from My Fair Lady.

 Ronald Reagan
puffing a pipe
pure Hollywood fluff......

Barry What's-His -Name
our esteemed President smoking weed.
 Aw, lighten up! If this was a photo of George Bush, you'd be laughing your ass off!


  1. What a coincidence. The old ad, "Smoking more but enjoying it less?" popped into my head the other day. There was another ad that had doctors recommending a certain brand.
    Didn't the brown Sherman's have sweet tasting paper? That's what I recall, anyway. I'd forgotten about the colors and I believe gold trim on some of them. I think you're right that a pack of cigarettes is close to ten bucks. I used to pay less than that for a carton.

  2. I think Shermans did have a sweet tasting paper. I usually smoked the brown ones, but I liked the colored ones. It's almost unbelievable how the price of a pack has gone up. And a cigarette doesn't seem to last as long as t used to. I wouldn't be surprised if they now use cheap fillers instead of pure tobacco.

  3. When I smoked cigarettes, between 1967 and 1970, a pack cost about as much as a loaf of bread or a gallon of gas and was an indicator of a sound economy. When they got up toward 50 cents a pack I switched to a pipe. Still keep one out in the pumphouse in case I need nicotinic meditation but never smoke in the house, car or in public any more. I don't think new cars even have ash trays --which is good. Drivers have more than enough gadgets to distract them without dropping combustibles between their legs.

  4. Pipes seem a lot more intimate, meditative, and reflective than cigarettes. You're absolutely right - - new cars no longer have ashtrays or cigarette lighters, which is actually a good thing. I got burned playing with a car cigarette lighter when I was a kid.

    Now if we could only do something about those pesky drivers with cell phones.....

  5. I've never understood the habit. In literally seems like it would be easier to simply put your money in a bowl and set light to it. It would certainly be better for your health. I think that a pack is around £8 here which equates to around $12! The irony is of course that it's the least well off in society who usually smoke. Great collection of photos!

    1. I never really understood the habit, either - - and it's even more baffling nowadays when cigarettes are so incredibly expensive. And you're right - - the poorer people seem to smoke the most.

  6. Jon, I, too, prefer the good old days where the PC Police didn't exist. Today, you're taking a major risk just giving an opinion, especially when you encounter the mean-spirited comments on the internet when someone feels offended.

    Wasn't Monty stunning! Never understood how Catherine could climb those stairs and leave Morris pounding at the door. I would have left it wide open.

    1. I always TRY to watch what I write on my blog - since people nowadays seem to be hyper-sensitive. I think most of my readers understand that my bark is far worse than my bite.

      Monty was in two of my all-time favorite films - - "The Heiress" and "A Place in the Sun." I agree wholeheartedly. I would have never left "Morris" pounding at the door........

    2. It was probably due to his name. Who hangs the moniker "Morris" on a kid.

    3. I agree. Morris is a name for cats....... (remember the commercial?)

  7. Jon,
    Yet another in a long string of fascinating blog posts. I too smoked but had to force myself to smoke. I never took to it right away but I wanted to be part of the "in" crowd. I started to smoke when I was 18 years old while in the Army. I didn't want to be the only person not having a cig hanging out of my mouth. I smoked a pack a day (Marlboro filters, flip top box) for seven years. I quite July 15th, 1967 because when cigarettes when up to 35 cents a pack, double (19 cents a pack) what I was paying when I started to smoke in the Army. I paid $1.90 a carton. When I got out I was paying $2.68 a carton. Darn if I was going to pay over $3.50 a carton. Funny now, what does a carton cost? $50 and up?

    1. I'm surprised at the amount of people I knew who forced themselves to smoke because it was the "in" thing to do. And I imagine the pressure was even worse in the Army. It's hard to believe that cigarettes were ever 19 cents a pack or $1,90 a carton.
      We've come a long way from the good ol' days, Ron.

  8. Makes me think of when I first graduated high school and was working for an insurance company. They actually let companies give out samples. We girls would take them and pretend we were smoking on the way home from work. I'm glad I didn't pick up the habit.

    1. It's a bad and expensive habit. Neither of my parents ever smoked - and I only did it to be a wise guy.

  9. How I wish I hadn't tried so darn hard to smoke! One of my proudest moments came the first time I could inhale without choking and turning red. Yes, at the time it was all about sophistication and sex appeal. If anyone was offended, they kept it to themselves. (And where did everyone's allergies come from all of a sudden?)

    Obviously, I was compelled to give up the habit two years ago. In all honesty, however, there's not a day that goes by that I'm not sorely tempted. This collection of pictures is great!

    1. Well, I hope these photos don't tempt you - - and I'm delighted that you were courageous enough to give it up. For what it's worth, I know far more female smokers than male ones. Perhaps irritating men drive women to smoke???
      Hey, it's merely a thought......

  10. I had never seen a picture of a young and good looking Humphrey Bogart. He does not look anything like he did when he was older.

    1. I honestly don't remember seeing a photo of a young Bogart, either. It seems like all of his films were made after he lost his youthful looks.....

  11. My parents were chain smokers
    So i hated the habit from a small child...... I have never smoked a cigerette ever

    1. I applaud you for never smoking - - it's an extremely unhealthy (and expensive) habit.

  12. I think Rudy looks better with a cigarette than without. More than I can say for some of the others though, no wonder they hid their habit! I wonder JUST how old SHirley temple was when she started ? She always seemed to have been born at the age of 15.

    1. I heard that Temple was around seventeen when she started smoking.

  13. up here, cigs are 7-8 bucks a pack. too expensive for my blood. I tried them in college, but never got hooked. and to die from lung cancer is an ugly death (ask my FIL, but he's dead).

  14. Smoking is a serious health risk and it's a good thing you never got hooked. I don't know who would ever buy cigs for 7-8 bucks a pack. That's incredible!!

  15. Great pictures and a unique post. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I appreciate that, Angela - thanks!


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