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Here’s an advertisement for a vintage Babe Ruth tobacco advertisement. Advertisement advertisement.

March 13, 2013


Ah, the good old days, when professional athletes could promote cigarette brands without any hint of shame or irony. Hence this ad for a vintage ad, from the back of yesterday’s reprint of Will Eisner’s Golden Age baseball failure. It recalls those sepia-toned days when your tobacconist was ranked someplace close to your doctor on the hierarchy of important people in your life.  And really, could there be any ballplayer better tailored to endorse a cigarette brand than George Herman Ruth? The man’s appetites were so voracious, chain-smoking would barely register on the seismograph. Old Gold Cigarettes? What the hell — why not?

By the look of the ad-within-the-ad’s inset, either Ruth is participating in a blind taste test, or he’s taking a last drag before facing a firing squad — which is appropriate. “Not a cough in a carload.” Yeah, those carloads are saved for an emphysemaed ripe old age, should you make it that far before cancer kills you. Like it did Ruth. (It wasn’t lung cancer that got him, but still…)

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