Fred and Barney: Death Merchants

I never saw cigarette ads on television.  They'd already been banned.  I've seen video of some of the old ones, with Ronald Reagan, John Wayne, and Mike Wallace endorsing smokes, but two of cartoondom's most beloved? Not only do they not help out with the chores, they…well, watch for yourself.

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3 Responses to “Fred and Barney: Death Merchants”

  1. Hah!!!! I remember them — sort of — for ex., when talk shows incorporated the ad and the smoking right into the show itself, etc. Scary, hunh?That's a hoot though — FRED and BARNEY??????

  2. I can remember seeing this and other cigarette ads on TV. My favorite was the Marlboro man, probably because I wanted his horse. But there was something profoundly disturbing about seeing Wilma light up. Maybe because she was always such a good mother to Pebbles? Or there was something kind of tart-y about the way she gave that coffin nail a puff after Fred lit it for her?I shouldn't talk, having quit some 15 years ago and wishing I could still light up with impunity. But we were pretty innocent, or stupid back then, depending on your perspective. A much-missed friend died after having smoked a pack a day for 45 years—he started when he was a teenager, and he admitted he did it to perfect his James Dean look, complete with leather jacket and motorcycle. I told him he was cool without the butt in his mouth, but by that point he was so addicted he couldn't stop. A pox on AJ Reynolds Tobacco Co.

  3. Wilma did look a little tart-y after Fred lit her Winston! That was creepy. It would've disturbed me more, though, if it had been Betty. She seemed so sweet and innocent. I may have missed TV ads for cigarettes, but I remember when everybody seemed to smoke constantly. My elementary school PE coach smoked Lucky Strikes in his office–I recall seeing an overflowing ashtray on his desk. Granted, we students generally went into his office, but he was a friend of my dad's, and I had to drop something off. When we visited my grandmother in Georgia, people were smoking in the grocery store. It seems so weird today, but that's how things worked back then, I guess. It took me going in the hospital for five weeks to be able to quit, and I still miss them, even if I feel better without them. Again, though, at least it wasn't Betty. That would've been a jolt of disillusionment.

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