Thursday, May 9, 2013

Jon Hamm, the Kent-Smoking Man

I think we may have walked this way before. But it's time to walk it again. This is the Kent Man, with the gleaming skyscrapers of Madison Avenue towering above him. Though the ad copy refers to "scientists and educators", my first thought was, "Like fuck!  He's an ad man."

The ad is circa sometime in the early '60s, when medical experts were beginning to grumble about the negative health effects of smoking. Imagine the panicked discussions in boardrooms across the nation! "How are we going to put a positive spin on this so people think it's GOOD for them to smoke?" One astonishing television ad from the era had a bellicose man with a cigarette in his mouth proclaiming, "I want a treat, not a treatment."

Unfortunately, his "treat" all too often DID lead to a "treatment", usually received too late.

The ad guy puffing away on his Kent ("For the best combina-tion of fil-ter and good taste/Kent satisfies best!" went the cheery little jingle) looks so startlingly like Don Draper of Mad Men, it's downright eerie. I wondered if I could get Don's head into the Kent ad, and was almost successful.

Of course it's never perfect. Head shape and angle, skin color, all that stuff, will never match up exactly.
Besides, in the ad the guy is looking up, squinting actually, in a cool Madison Avenue sort of way.

Kind of like this? Looks a bit like Rod Serling on a bad day. One eye looks more or less OK (these are the Kent Man's eyes, by the way) but the other one, well. . . It would have been best to have that eye in shadow, but I don't have those kind of skills.

Here Don stares into nothingness in his typical God-how-misunderstood-I-am-because-I-was-poorly-mothered-if-in-fact-I-was-ever-mothered-at-all expression. I guess he stares at the sidewalk when he lights up.

DEFINITELY not mothered. At all. Ever.

Plus it looks like he's going to throw up.

This is my personal favorite. His hands have suddenly turned into brown oven mitts, but never mind.
At least he looks happy.