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Winston Cigarette Advertising Metal Sign. On metal stand.

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    Posted 4 years ago

    (88 items)

    This old metal sign on a metal stand goes back a few years.
    The Surgeon General’s Warning started appearing in Nov 1970 and I found some “Storm Searcher” Winston Man ads online dated 1983, so I’m guessing, based on that, my sign dates to around early 1980s.

    What looks like small damaged spots all over the sign are actually flakes of white latex paint that was used at some point to paint over the cigarette ad so the sign could be repurposed to hold placards with gasoline prices at my dad’s gas station.
    It looks like some black adhesive numbers, “1988” were stuck near the bottom of the repurposed sign and some of that numbering hasn’t all flaked off yet.

    The sign measures about 3’ X 6’ and is very heavy.
    Near the bottom of the sign are vertical slots to hold price placards. (Pic 3), Probably for “pack” and “carton” prices.
    The base of the frame has springs that allow the sign to flex. Several screws have been pulled thru the sign edges, probably from this sign being moved and mishandled. There is some rust damage on the base horizontal legs.

    A bit of history: the Winston Man was Alan Landers (legal name Allan Levine). 1940-2009.
    Mr Landers died at age 68 from the combined effects of throat and lung cancer, emphysema and heart disease.
    He smoked since age 9.
    He smoked as much as 2.5 packs of cigarettes a day in posing for his advertisement work glamorizing cigarette smoking.
    His modeling heyday was 1960-1970s.

    In his final years, he sued tobacco companies and spoke out against smoking, hoping to save the lives of others.

    I’ve never smoked and do not advocate smoking but I like my sign as a historical record of how smoking has been glamorized to make it look appealing, rather than the deadly habit it can become.

    Thank you for reading all this!
    Comments welcomed.

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    1. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 4 years ago
      kwqd, thanks for the love!
    2. Newfld Newfld, 4 years ago
      Nice vintage cigarette ad, story of Mr Landers and thoughtful commentary Watchsearcher. I grew up with two parents who smoked pretty heavily so the temptation to even try smoking was never there for me. It's sad that my parents generation (they married in the 50s) were unenlightened about the serious dangers of smoking, and once hooked they never quit, & mom had a ten year struggle with COPD til it took her. I have nothing against smokers & living with secondhand smoke for so many years being around it doesn't bother me, so I never judge, I'm just glad in a way that the glamour never attracted me. Great post
    3. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 4 years ago
      Thank you, Newfld, for the beautiful comment.
      I’m so sorry your mom suffered like that.
      It is so unfair/unfortunate/just plain wrong that stopping smoking is so hard to do.
      Advertising made it seem so appealing.

      My son and daughter-in-law are currently making a renewed effort to give up the habit.

      My maternal grandfather was the only smoker I knew during my childhood. He rolled his own cigarettes using those thin papers and Prince Albert tobacco. I sat in his lap while he rolled and lit his cigarettes then he let me blow out the match.

      Thank you again for sharing your family’s experience.

    4. AnythingObscure AnythingObscure, 4 years ago
      What a great story/history to go with this post Watchsearcher! I well remember similar signs all over the place at what then existed as gas stations mostly...the whole concept of "c-store" hadn't quite fully kicked in yet. Most were likely provided free of charge (at least) to station owners by the cig distributors -- by the late 80's cigarette advertising indeed became much more 'regulated'.

      My personal experience with 'em is more like yours growing up in a mostly non-smoking home, but unlike Newfld and you I thus became curious/enamored of the d*mn things (as a 'rebellious teen') and to this day spend/consume far too much on the nasty habit. It IS so truly SO most difficult to kick the habit once one gets it <sigh> but fortunately enough for me, so far, I still remain generally healthy...

    5. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 4 years ago
      AnythingObscure, thanks for the love and the response. I think you are correct about the cigarette companies providing these big signs for free.....the frame was really built to last and the advertising panel screws on so they probably periodically updated that part.

      I wish you success whenever you give quitting another try. My son is using Nicotine patches now; he says it’s very difficult.
    6. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 4 years ago
      Wow, so many loves for my old sign! And I had to dare my grandsons to touch it when they wanted to make a target out of it! I will have to show them this!
      Thanks to crswerner, leighannm, mtg75, EJW-54, Niceface, Officialfuel, Fortapache, and Vetraio50 for the loves!!
    7. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 4 years ago
      One of my collecting favs are floor ashtrays, particularly airplane ashtrays. Though I never really smoked at all, I love all the advertising this guy put out to glorify cigarette smoking. I collect floor ashtrays and particularly the ones that were made in Canada. I even sold them for a time and even now don't want to get rid of my favourite ones. I love to see that your ad sign has a nice substantial stand that is amazingly still with the sign. Must have been a nicely constructed substantial stand to still be there.
    8. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 4 years ago
      Thank you, PhilDMorris, for the comment. I’ve seen your posts of your floor ashtrays - they are very nice!
      My grandfather kept a floor ashtray beside whatever chair he chose to sit in. His was very plain compared to yours. I recall being allowed to take the brown glass insert out of it to empty and wash it for him. I don’t know what became of it after he passed one else in the immediate family smoked so I suppose it was passed on to a friend.

      You are right about my sign’s was built to last! And so big it’s taking up too much space in my shed. My plan is to clean it up and sell it before my grandsons turn it into a target (they’ve been warned not to even entertain the thoughts of riddling it with bullets!).
      So far, I haven’t found any others to give me an idea of value.
    9. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 4 years ago
      I’ve wondered at times about that name - it really named for the cigarettes?!
      As a teenager, I was conscripted labor in my dad’s convenience was a real eye opener to see how much money was spent on cigarettes!
    10. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 4 years ago
      Wow! Incredible—I had no idea!
      Back in the early 80s, I worked at a hospital in Macon Ga and had coworkers whose husbands worked at some cigarette manufacturer there....along with their paychecks every week, the guys received a free carton on cigarettes .... they had no chance of kicking the habit.
    11. Trey Trey, 4 years ago
    12. brassnut brassnut, 4 years ago
      I actually smoked these cigarettes in 1977
      Thanks for the memories
    13. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 4 years ago
      brassnut- glad I could help!
    14. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 3 years ago
      21 Loves for the old sign! Thank you, to everyone who took the time to look it over and leave a “love note”.
    15. Trey Trey, 3 years ago
      Did you watch the Flintstones Winston commercial link I posted ?
    16. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 3 years ago
      Trey, I apologize! Somehow I overlooked that…so I just now watched…thanks for the nudge. :^)
      I don’t remember seeing those before now.
      I really could identify with poor Fred when he put the cat out of the house but the cat dashed back inside.
      Those ads were really targeting a very young audience!!

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