The Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society Presents:
Smoking in the Balcony Only
In a darkened Paris theater on March 22ⁿᵈ 1895, at a meeting of the Society for the Development of the National Industry, a beam of light projected from a fantastic new machine designed by brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière. The Cinématographe Lumière would project the first moving pictures and usher in a new age of artistic expression and new modes of media consumption that led to movies, television, and video. From its inception, the cinema has provided a reflection of the human experience, depicting all aspects of life. From the extraordinary to the mundane, comedy to action, suspense, horror, musicals and more, films offer seemingly everything and anything to everyone. Film created celebrities like never before, where as songs, paintings, and books may have had real life figures that inspired them, the characters featured in these works were figments of the imaginations of the viewer, listener, or reader. While stage plays had actors that were recognizable, film allowed more people to see performances in more places than ever before. These new stars and the allure of movies were used to great effect by advertisers, especially the manufacturers of cigarettes.
Tobacco has since been a permanent fixture of film. Smoking co-opted the glamour of the Hollywood celebrity, touting the dashing leading man or the beautiful starlet to promote cigarettes. Tobacco is featured prominently in films to depict characters traits such as, wealth, sophistication, class, ruggedness, machismo, seduction, and nefariousness. These vintage advertisements, beginning with the dawn of popular cinema at the turn of the 20th century, reflect the close ties of tobacco manufacturers, advertisers, and films.