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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 and mid 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.
Radio & TV sponsorships
In the 1930s through the 1950s, Chesterfield sponsored popular radio programs. An early one was the radio series Music That Satisfies which was broadcast in 1932-1933. The Chesterfield Hour (1939–1944) featured big bands such as those of Paul Whiteman and Glenn Miller and Fred Waring. It was followed briefly by Johnny Mercer's Chesterfield Music Shop (1944) and then the Chesterfield Supper Club (1944-1949) which featured Perry Como and Jo Stafford with Peggy Lee replacing Stafford on some episodes beginning in 1948. Johnny Mercer originally wrote the pop standard song "Dream (When You're Feeling Blue)" as the theme song for his Chesterfield radio program; the theme for Como's Chesterfield Supper Club was the basis for "Smoke Dreams", covered by Jo Stafford, k.d. lang, and other artists.
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
Ian Fleming frequently makes references to different smoking products in his famous James Bond novels. The Chesterfield brand of cigarette are portrayed as one of Bond's favorites as seen in the 1959 book Goldfinger. In this novel, James Bond demands of Goldfinger's servant, "Oddjob, I want a lot of food, quickly. And a bottle of bourbon, soda and ice. Also a carton of Chesterfields, king-size..."
Longtime college football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant smoked unfiltered Chesterfields, often two to three packs per day. The habit was the main contributing factor to his fatal heart attack in 1983 at age 69.
In Quentin Tarantino's 1992 movie Reservoir Dogs, Mr. White offers Mr. Pink a Chesterfield cigarette in an attempt to calm him. In another Tarantino-penned movie, 1993's True Romance, Clarence Worley's father, Clifford, smokes a Chesterfield before his execution at the hands of Blue Lou Boyle's consigliere, Vincenzo Coccotti.
In the 2005 film Memoirs of a Geisha, after Pumpkin has immersed herself in World War II American soldier culture, she tells Sayuri that she only smokes Chesterfields anymore.
The 1992 Jawbreaker song "Chesterfield King" is named for the king-sized chesterfield. The song refers to the cigarette twice. First, the singer shares a chesterfield with a woman he meets in a parking lot. Later, at the end of the song, the singer gives a chesterfield king to the woman he has been singing about.
Jake Blues (John Belushi) smoked Chesterfield cigarettes in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers. Near the end of the scene at Bob's Country Bunker, Jake is seen briefly flashing a flattened and nearly empty pack of Chesterfield cigarettes, pretending it is his musician's union ID card.
The Chesterfield Kings are a rock band named after the cigarette.
- "Music: New King". Time. November 27, 1939. Retrieved July 22, 2011.
- Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press. p. 152. ISBN 978-0195076783. Retrieved January 2, 2015.[better source needed]
- Gilliland, John (1994). Pop Chronicles the 40s: The Lively Story of Pop Music in the 40s (audiobook). ISBN 978-1-55935-147-8. OCLC 31611854. Tape 1, side B.
- Fleming, Ian (1959). Goldfinger. London: Jonathan Cape. p. 194. ISBN 9781612185507.