Ready? Sing with me now!

"Winston tastes good, like a cigarette should!"

If you are approximately my age (which I will now call VINTAGE MOD, thank you) or older, you are hearing that tag line from Winston cigarette commercials playing in your head at present, from the days when Johnny Carson would chain-smoke all through the "Tonight Show" and exploring the social impact of television advertising was still in its academic infancy. Even though the Surgeon General famously delivered in 1964 the news that smoking is actually quite, quite seriously bad for your health, it took several more years before the idea came around that it might be a poor and unethical idea to allow the promotion of cigarettes on television.

So, I spent my Wonder Years watching people smoke on TV, and if I turned my head, I could watch my dad smoking his Salem's right behind me. My kids can't even comprehend this. They have never even had any friends whose parents smoked, much less seen beloved cartoon characters tell them about the smooth-yet-robust cancer sticks popped in their animated mugs. Fortunately, there remains video proof of these cultural oddities, and they are hilarious, head-shaking, absurd, and sad as well.

HAHAHA! Good god. Granny and Jed from "The Beverly Hillbillies" enjoying a Winston at the kitchen table:

Dick Van Dyke reminds us that Kent cigarettes are a fine Christmas gift:

Lucy and Desi shill for Philip Morris:

Tough guy actors Steve McQueen and John Wayne make smoking mas macho:

(print ad substituted for pulled video)

And in the most-appalling case, Winston and The Flintstones:

The last cigarette commercial shown on American television was on the first day of 1971, during the "Tonight Show."

Let's do a round-up.

Irene Ryan: chain-smoker, died 1973, brain tumor, aged 70

Buddy Ebsen: unknown, died 2003, pneumonia, aged 95

Dick Van Dyke: former smoker, alive, aged 84

Rose Marie: smoker or former smoker, alive, aged 86

Lucille Ball: chain-smoker, died 1989, aortic aneurysm, aged 77

Desi Arnaz, Sr.: chain-smoker, died 1986, lung cancer, aged 69

Steve McQueen: former smoker, died 1980, mesothelioma, aged 50

John Wayne: former chain-smoker, died 1979, lung/stomach cancer, aged 72

Johnny Carson: chain-smoker, died 2005, respiratory arrest arising from emphysema, aged 79

Last word goes to John Wayne. I remember this commercial more than any other.