Anti-tobacco zealots would have you believe that the mind-control advertising of the cigarette industry fooled everyone until, oh, the 1960s, when the Surgeon General decreed a warning be put on each pack. This fiction is useful for painting those who got smoking-related cancer as victims of Big Tobacco.
I’m old enough to know this is all bunk, but the anti-tobacco crowd knows that most people don’t have that institutional memory. I wonder what those who have bought this line think when they see a movie scene like the one I just saw.
Van Johnson and Robert Mitchum are speaking on the deck of a carrier in “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo.” Johnson observes that cigarettes on board ship cost 60 cents a carton but soldiers will pay $7 in Chunking, China. He said he figures he’ll load his Doolittle bomber “with coffin nails” and make a killing when he gets there.
So if you’re ever on a jury and some Boomer kids of a “Greatest Generation” cancer victim claims their mom or dad had no idea cigarettes represented a health hazard, tell them about “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo.” It was filmed in 1944.
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