|This article does not cite any references or sources. (February 2007)|
Fatima Cigarettes (pronounced fa-TEE-ma) was a brand of cigarette produced in the United States by the Liggett & Myers (L&M) tobacco company. The brand dates to the 19th century, and was marketed as an exotic blend of Turkish tobaccos. The name Fatima, a common Turkish or Arabic woman's name, helped bolster the Turkish image. Before around 1950, the package design included a stylized image of a veiled Middle Eastern woman.
The brand is perhaps best remembered today by old time radio buffs. In the late 1940s, L&M converted the brand to a king-sized version and began an extensive radio advertising campaign. Fatima was the sole sponsor of the early years of the Dragnet radio series. The creator and star of Dragnet, Jack Webb, voiced a number of on-air pitches for the brand and appeared in print advertising as well. There was also a short-lived mystery anthology series called Tales of Fatima, hosted by Basil Rathbone. (Anecdotally, a Boston pharmacist who had smoked Fatima's for years, after WW II noted a lack of Turkish tobaccos and wrote the manufacturer with his concerns. They apologized and sent a carton of some other brand they manufactured, even more lacking in any exotic leaf.)
The brand's old-fashioned image caused it to lose market share from the mid-1950s onward, and L&M eventually phased it out by around 1980.