Sunday, January 03, 2010

Ah, the 1950s

Back in 1959, before I was born and a year after my parents emigrated to Canada from the UK, my Dad worked as a salesman for an evil cigarette empire (I'm no fan of cigarettes... both my parents died of smoking-related illnesses, and I suffered through a childhood of second-hand smoke.)

But in the 1950s, people were less concerned about smoking, and the neighbours didn't seem to mind the company car my Dad got to drive:

Ah yes: the sexy Belvedere cigarette-mobile with the giant SMOKE sittin' on top!

My Mum had to get up there and post for a photo. Hilarious but also a bit sad, since she died of lung cancer in the end.

And Dad seemed to be having a fine time balancing on the giant coffin nail! They don't make cars like they used to, eh? If I plonked a giant cigarette on my Mazda Protege 5 and sat on it, the roof would probably cave in!

I wonder what ever happened to this car??!


  1. Pretty cool pictures . . . I smoked like a hellbent chimney but somehow had the sense to quit cold-turkey when I was 25. I'm so glad! It's the most useless form of addiction known to humankind.

    My dad smoked until he died, over 70 years' worth, but he REALLY got off lucky. The smoking no doubt cut him 8 years short but he died of natural causes.

    Brigitte quit shortly after I met her because I wouldn't stand it and it's now a year and a half . . .

  2. great pictures. Forget the roof caving in, imagine the uproar it would cause to have a cigarette on your car!

  3. Love the giant ciggy. Wish you had it now so I could pose with it for my "Big Things" series!

  4. Ronna, I could Photoshop you in there! ;)

    Sue, I think there would be quite the outcry about a cigarette car these days.

    Chef Nick, I'm glad you two quit. Brigitte must reeeeeally love you to have made that sacrifice! I'm glad your Dad did okay despite the ciggies. My FIL quit after some 40 years, about 20 years ago, and is now 82 and doing great.

  5. Love the car with the giant cigarette even if it is not P.C.
    Wonderful tacky stuff is hard to find these days. And the 50th station wagon.. a hoot!

  6. Smoking was very sophisticated in those days.Every young woman wanted to imitate Bette Davis (with her long cigarette holder), Joan Crawford, even Grace Kelly. My (much older) sister smoked in the bathroom to hide from our mother. When I did my training, all the young nurses smoked. Nobody knew the danger. The only reason I didn't smoke is that I couldn't inhale, and everybody laughed at me. I never had to quit!!! It's very difficult to give it up. Truly sorry about your Mom and Dad, Knatolee. Take care!

  7. That cigarette car is quite an artifact and a symbol of post WW II life-style. Too bad it was also a weapon of mass destruction. When I was growing up everyone smoked, doctors, teachers, priests, my grandmother. I did too, for many years. I quit during pregnancy but started up again practically in the delivery room. Ciggies can really make you a slave.

  8. My poor mother started smoking in 1949 at 16 after her mother died and a DOCTOR gave her a cigarette to calm her nerves! My Dad started smoking as a kid in the 1940s. Mum quit about 15 years before she died, but Dad tried many times without success, only stopping for good three months before he died. She was 64, he was 61.

    But that aside, I still get a laugh out of the cigarette car. Funnily enough, Dad went from working for a tobacco empire to working for Johnson & Johnson, perhaps the opposite on the spectrum!

    Claudia, I'm glad you couldn't inhale. :) And Fran, at least you quit! I know how hard that is from watching my parents try so many times.

  9. Your photos are in wonderful condition. Similar to what Claudia said, back in the 50's you weren't cool if you didn't smoke. Thank God we have gotten smarter (even if it took a few decades) and thank goodness that our cars have gotten smaller!

  10. Amazing. Times surely were different.


Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!