Posted Bykurt on September 29, 2002 at 11:55:11:
In Reply to: Re: Jack Benny and Smoking posted byBobR on September 29, 2002 at 10:43:28:
Actually, Benny smoked cigars for most of his life. Occasionally, mentions of his cigar were made on the air in the 1930s.
Mary Livingstone smoked cigarettes, but not Lucky Strikes, and it was written into the contract with American Tobacco Company that she could continue to smoke whatever she chose. George Washington Hill (immortalized in "The Hucksters") was the master of the hard sell, which is why those Lucky Strike commercials sound as oppressive as they do.
Cigarette companies sponsored a wide range of radio programming in addition to Benny's program. Benny took the American Tobacco deal because it was considerably more money.
He almost left General Foods in 1941, according to contemporary accounts. But he got a new contract that gave him more time off, plus his second broadcast on Sunday nights was permitted to be a recording (on glass disc, I think) of the East Coast broadcast. That was six years before Bing Crosby started transcribing his program on tape "for broadcast at a more convenient time."