Stan Sawyer, Salem Cigarettes, & “Space Funnies”
In May 2021, Los Angeles family physician Howard Sawyer, MD, contacted the Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society after reading the cover story in the May 7, 2021 issue of The Cancer Letter, “The unKOOL, unfiltered history of menthol cigarettes” which led him to the Center’s exhibition Of Mice and Menthol: The Targeting of African Americans by the Tobacco Industry. Dr. Sawyer revealed that the announcer’s voice on the Salem cigarettes TV commercial in the exhibition is that of his father, Stan Sawyer, a radio announcer and actor in New York City who was known as “the man of a thousand voices.” Around the time he was recording commercials for RCA Victor televisions and Salem cigarettes, he also starred as Captain Jet in “Space Funnies,” a popular local New York children’s TV show. According to the website “TV Party!” the program aired on WCBS-TV, Channel 2, from 1953 to 1960. Sawyer appeared on Saturday and Sunday mornings from July 5, 1953 to June 12, 1955. A boy or girl was chosen from members of “The Space Hopper Club” who had written in to join Captain Jet on the show as his co-pilot in an adventure in outer space. The show also featured craftmaking, games, interviews, Laurel & Hardy films, and other old movies.
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