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Chesterfield is a brand of cigarette made by Altria. It was named for Chesterfield County, Virginia. It was one of the most recognized brands of the early 20th century, but sales have declined steadily over the years. Chesterfields were originally produced by the Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company. In 1999, Liggett sold the L&M, Lark and Chesterfield brands to Philip Morris Companies Inc. The brand is still being made today; it is still popular in Europe, but has been absent from U.S. advertising for many years.
Liggett & Myers sponsored Dragnet, both on radio and on TV, during the 1950s. The 1954 theatrical version of Dragnet also had Chesterfield product placements, such as advertisements in scenes taking place at drug stores and news counters, or cigarette vending machines. Jack Webb as Sgt. Joe Friday was seen smoking Chesterfields in the movie and TV series. Also in the 1950s, Gunsmoke on both radio and TV was similarly sponsored primarily by Chesterfields and L&Ms. At the end of The Twilight Zone, for several seasons Rod Serling frequently smoked and promoted Chesterfields.
In the 1940s and 1950s Ronald Reagan, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Perry Como, and Arthur Godfrey were among Chesterfield's official spokesmen, Chesterfield being one of the primary sponsors of the radio and TV programs of these stars during that time.
In popular culture
When the novel version of James Bond wasn't smoking a specially made Macedonian blend with three gold rings around the butt, from Morlands of Grovenor Street (Ian Fleming's real life cigarette), he smoked King Size Chesterfields.
The title track of Donald Fagen's 1982 album The Nightfly features the lyrics "I've got plenty of java and Chesterfield Kings." On the album cover, a pack of Chesterfield Regulars is sitting on the table.
Jawbreaker refers to Chesterfield cigarettes in the song "Chesterfield King" on their 1992 album Bivouac with the lyric, "said my chicks they smoke these things, handed you a Chesterfield King."
Ian Frazier's The Cursing Mommy's Book of Days referenced these cigarettes throughout the book via the main character's recollections of her grandmother.
In Quentin Tarantino's film True Romance, in the so-called "Sicilian scene" between Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper, Walken gives a Chesterfield cigarette to Hopper shortly before shooting him, also in 'Reservoir Dogs', Harvey Keitel offers Steve Buscemi a Chesterfield.
In The Blues Brothers, Jake Blues (John Belushi) holds a pack of Chesterfields upside down as his identification card while posing as Jacob Stein with the American Federation of Music Union, Local 200 outside of Bob's Country Bunker.