"Just let some joy smoke sift into your system"

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In "The Road to Wazoo", I mentioned a striking 1919 advertisement for Prince Albert Tobacco . What was striking was partly the drawing and partly the text:


the national joy smoke

Say, you'll have a streak of smokeluck that'll put pep-in-your-smokemotor, all right, if you'll ring-in with a jimmy pipe or cigarette papers and nail some Prince Albert for packing!

Just between ourselves, you never will wise-up to high-spot-smoke-joy until you can call a pipe or a home made cigarette by its first name, then, to hit the peak-of-pleasure you land square on that two-fisted-man-tobacco, Prince Albert!

Well, sir, you'll be so all-fired happy you'll want to get a photograph of yourself breezing up the pike with your smokethrottle wide open! Quality make Prince Albert so different, so appealing. And, P A. can't bite or parch. Both are cut out by our exclusive patented process!

Right now while the going's good you get out your old jimmy pipe or the "papers" and land on some P. A. for what ails your particular smokeappetite.

AG commented that

That ad is incredible. "Mad Men" is an understatement. That's like something you'd get if a roomful of Wodehouses threw typewriters at each others' heads during a gas leak

The ad's language range some kind of bell for me, and this comment from Catherine Arnott Smith nailed the source:

That ad is purest Babbittry, except that the poet Chum Frink, in Babbitt, had to wait until 1922.

Exactly. From chapter VIII of Babbitt (emphasis added):

The guests were Howard Littlefield, the doctor of philosophy who furnished publicity and comforting economics to the Street Traction Company; Vergil Gunch, the coal-dealer, equally powerful in the Elks and in the Boosters’ Club; Eddie Swanson the agent for the Javelin Motor Car, who lived across the street; and Orville Jones, owner of the Lily White Laundry, which justly announced itself “the biggest, busiest, bulliest cleanerie shoppe in Zenith.” But, naturally, the most distinguished of all was T. Cholmondeley Frink, who was not only the author of “Poemulations,” which, syndicated daily in sixty-seven leading newspapers, gave him one of the largest audiences of any poet in the world, but also an optimistic lecturer and the creator of “Ads that Add.” Despite the searching philosophy and high morality of his verses, they were humorous and easily understood by any child of twelve; and it added a neat air of pleasantry to them that they were set not as verse but as prose. Mr. Frink was known from Coast to Coast as “Chum.”

However intimate they might be with T. Cholmondeley Frink as a neighbor, as a borrower of lawn-mowers and monkey-wrenches, they knew that he was also a Famous Poet and a distinguished advertising-agent; that behind his easiness were sultry literary mysteries which they could not penetrate. But to-night, in the gin-evolved confidence, he admitted them to the arcanum:

“I’ve got a literary problem that’s worrying me to death. I’m doing a series of ads for the Zeeco Car and I want to make each of ‘em a real little gem—reg’lar stylistic stuff. I’m all for this theory that perfection is the stunt, or nothing at all, and these are as tough things as I ever tackled. You might think it’d be harder to do my poems—all these Heart Topics: home and fireside and happiness—but they’re cinches. You can’t go wrong on ‘em; you know what sentiments any decent go-ahead fellow must have if he plays the game, and you stick right to ‘em. But the poetry of industrialism, now there’s a literary line where you got to open up new territory. Do you know the fellow who’s really THE American genius? The fellow who you don’t know his name and I don’t either, but his work ought to be preserved so’s future generations can judge our American thought and originality to-day? Why, the fellow that writes the Prince Albert Tobacco ads! Just listen to this:

It’s P.A. that jams such joy in jimmy pipes. Say—bet you’ve often bent-an-ear to that spill-of-speech about hopping from five to f-i-f-t-y p-e-r by “stepping on her a bit!” Guess that’s going some, all right—BUT just among ourselves, you better start a rapid whiz system to keep tabs as to how fast you’ll buzz from low smoke spirits to TIP-TOP-HIGH—once you line up behind a jimmy pipe that’s all aglow with that peach-of-a-pal, Prince Albert.

Prince Albert is john-on-the-job—always joy’usly more-ISH in flavor; always delightfully cool and fragrant! For a fact, you never hooked such double-decked, copper-riveted, two-fisted smoke enjoyment!

Go to a pipe—speed-o-quick like you light on a good thing! Why—packed with Prince Albert you can play a joy’us jimmy straight across the boards! AND YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS!”

“Now that,” caroled the motor agent, Eddie Swanson, “that’s what I call he-literature! That Prince Albert fellow—though, gosh, there can’t be just one fellow that writes ‘em; must be a big board of classy ink-slingers in conference, but anyway: now, him, he doesn’t write for long-haired pikers, he writes for Regular Guys, he writes for ME, and I tip my benny to him! The only thing is: I wonder if it sells the goods? Course, like all these poets, this Prince Albert fellow lets his idea run away with him. It makes elegant reading, but it don’t say nothing. I’d never go out and buy Prince Albert Tobacco after reading it, because it doesn’t tell me anything about the stuff. It’s just a bunch of fluff.”

In the comments on that earlier post, I cited another Prince Albert ad in the same general style, from the 1921 Saturday Evening Post, with the text:

Yes sir, you'll say a pipe packed with P.A. has 'em all backed clear off the map!

Take it as it's handed out right here, sincere and friendly like: Don't slip another minute on knowing exactly what a jimmy pipe can do for your smoke spirit! Go get one! Pick the pipe that hits your fancy, then stock-up with flock of Prince Albert! And, say — you'll get action that'll just make your little old tank-of-joy bubble over with the longest-geared-smoke-happiness that ever was — Prince Albert's wonderful quality – and, its really and truly fascinating flavor, fragrance and coolness!

And, then you'll know what content P. A. slips into a pipe! And, how P. A. rings true against your taste and makes you wish you could eat the smoke (and the pipe, too) – and, gee — oh, well — go on and get some Prince Albert and a jimmy pipe yourself and find out first-hand that P. A. can't bite your tongue or parch your throat because both are cut out by our exclusive patented process!

And, tell you for a fact, maybe it isn't some job to spread you this joystuff with a friendly old jimmy and a tin of Prince Albert resting out of action close by! You can't do it! You can't keep your mitts off it! Why — it make a fellow's mouth water just to spill this P. A. news! you get so all-fired-pal-pipe-hungry that you must lay-to for a spell — and jam in a load — and go to it! Talk about that inner-urge! Man, man — leave it to P. A.! And say —

Well, anyhow, you go and get a jimmy pipe and some P. A.! And, between us all, when you're smoke-wise-o, what a kick you'll spill about the pipe-and-P.A.-times you've passed up in gone-by days!

You'll bet your hat you won't slip on P. A. the second time — not by a jug-full!

There's plenty more where those came from — here's another:

Prince Albert presents the cheerfullest bundle of pipe and cigarette joy you can figure out — tobacco happiness that means going-to-it-to-beat-the-cards without a comeback! For, Prince Albert is not only delightful in its coolness, flavor and fragrance, but it can't bite your tongue or parch your throat! Bite and parch are cut out by the exclusive patented process by which it is made!

When you open up a package of Prince Albert and fire-a-load you realize that your good money has purchased quality. The dividends of delight P.A. hands out north, east, south and west knock clipping coupons off the Christmas tree.

the national joy smoke

Prince Albert is a revelation in tobacco contentment as well as a revelation in tobacco quality! Why just to think about P.A. makes your mouth water — it pans out such prime-pleasure all-around-the-clock! And you smoke free and easy, and to your heart's content!

Put yourself on the cheery side of some Prince Albert. Puff its pacifying, tasty, fragrant smoke into your mouth and know for a fact you've uncorked tobacco-treasure! Tip your sporting section to buy a package of Prince Albert — tobacco that has simply-slammed-satisfaction into wise smokers in every civilized country on the globe! P.A. will meet your desires at every point of the smoke compass!

And another:

Bang-open your system to some real smoke joy!

It's yours right off the bat, quick as you unlimber that old jimmy pipe or some cigarette makin's papers and nail a few matches and put your faith in a tidy red tin or a toppy red bag of Prince Albert tobacco. Now, you've uncorked the sunshine tank; just let some joy smoke sift into your system!

Get that P. A. flavor? Get that P. A. aroma? Go to it mighty cheerful, because P. A. can't bite! puff away like you hit perpetual motion in the first round! And keep fired-up till the cows come home. For it's surefacts Prince Albert never grouched any other man's tongue and won't grouch yours!

Get jimmypipejoy'us and cigarette makin's happy, then you'll personally understand that no other pipe and cigarette tobacco ever was or ever can be like Prince Albert, because it's made by a patented process that cuts out the bite and the parch. That's why pipe peaceful and cigarette peaceful men call PRINCE ALBERT the national joy smoke.

Certainly does beat the band how much fun can be gotten out of P. A. if you'll stop cutting capers about "I can't smoke a pipe" or "I can't roll a cigarette," and sport-a-bit and take a chance. You've no idea of the bully goodness, of the joy'us satisfaction and that sort of thing that hits every man who get chummy with P. A.

Hammer this home for what ails your smokeappetite, because you've no time to lose getting introduced to this real and true man-tobacco that's ace-high and a yard wide no matter how you swing on it, jimmy pipe or makin's cigarette!

I wonder whether R.J. Reynolds still owns the "national joy smoke" slogan, and whether they're planning to resurrect it for their future recreational marijuana business.



  1. languagehat said,

    January 13, 2017 @ 9:22 am

    MMcM pointed out in this LH comment that the creator of the original ad was presumably William Martin Armistead, who was in charge of advertising for Prince Albert Tobacco (for which he coined the slogan “I’d walk a mile for a Camel” around the same time).

    [(myl) Thanks also for the tip about Upton Sinclair's citation of a version of the smokethrottle ad in The Brass Check: A Study of American Journalism:

    Sinclair goes on to comment: "And now, stop and consider what proportion of the total energies of the community are devoted to the production of poisonous filth such as this. I do not count the people who read and answer the advertisements; I count only those who write them and sell them, those who set the type and manufacture the paper, those who distribute the publications and keep the accounts of the operations. There cannot be less than a million people thus occupied with the advertising business in America; and all of them buried to the eyes in this poisonous filth, all compelled to absorb it, to believe it, to have their personalities befouled by it! It means, of course, that these people are permanently excluded from the intellectual life. These people cannot know beauty, they cannot know grace and charm, they cannot know dignity, they cannot even know common honesty. To say that they are bound as captives to the chariot-wheels of Mammon is not to indulge in loose metaphor, but to describe precisely their condition. They are bound in body, mind, and soul to vulgarity, banality, avarice, and fraud."

    And then he lets go and tells us what he really thinks…]

  2. Cervantes said,

    January 13, 2017 @ 9:35 am

    The ad campaign for Prince Albert tobacco, initiated in 1907, was handled by N. W. Ayer, an agency founded in Philadelphia — though all copy was personally approved by R. J. himself. To him, the key word in "national joy smoke" was the first one: the campaign succeeded in making P. A. the first "national" tobacco brand — quite an achievement when you consider that R. J. was at this point working against Duke and his American Tobacco monopoly.

    Incidentally, Ayer created a number of marketing icons still with us today, including the Morton Salt girl. Their last success was "Be all that you can be," the recruiting slogan they came up with for the (post-Vietnam) US Army. Due to a variety of shenanigans perpetrated against the Army (bid-rigging, over-charging, kickbacks), the firm was banned from subsequent federal contracting, a set-back that preceded its decline and eventual demise.

  3. rootlesscosmo said,

    January 13, 2017 @ 10:27 am

    I think Ayer-style copy must have been what S. J. Perelman had in mind in his collage of advertising prose, "Entered as Second Class Matter" which includes "Boy, you haven't felt shave-ease on your old shave-surface till you've discovered Shav-Komfy, the shave-secret of the Aztecs!" I had always thought this was exaggerated for comic effect but it seems positively demure alongside the Prince Albert ads. Note "joy'us" for "joyous." These must surely sound exactly alike–the apostrophe, as far as I can tell, is a signifier of "down-to-earth" or "reg'lar" speech.

  4. languagehat said,

    January 13, 2017 @ 10:42 am

    I think "Armistead-style copy" is preferable to "Ayer-style copy"; why give the firm the credit rather than the person who actually created the ads? I'll bet Ayer's other accounts had much more staid copy.

  5. Bob Ladd said,

    January 13, 2017 @ 10:49 am

    Is anyone else curious what a "Jimmy pipe" is? A little googling suggests that it's only found in the weird advertising language for Prince Albert, but could it have been a more general term?

    [(myl) I was curious about this as well — I couldn't find it in any dictionaries, but there are quite a few other examples in non-P.A. ads, e.g. this one from Popular Mechanics in 1913:


  6. DWalker07 said,

    January 13, 2017 @ 12:12 pm

    "… breezing up the pike with your smokethrottle wide open"?

    Huh? That's some weird language there.

  7. languagehat said,

    January 13, 2017 @ 12:48 pm

    "… breezing up the pike with your smokethrottle wide open"?

    Huh? That's some weird language there.

    And the rest of the ad seems perfectly normal to you??

  8. Adrian said,

    January 13, 2017 @ 1:09 pm

    Meranto? Mined in Scotland? What could that be? I wonder if they just made this stuff up?

  9. Lazar said,

    January 13, 2017 @ 2:24 pm

    @rootlesscosmo: Sound-alike eye-dialect ("yer", "ta", "tha") has always left a bad taste in my mouth.

  10. David Morris said,

    January 13, 2017 @ 3:18 pm

    Presumably this style of advertising worked, if they kept doing it.

  11. zafrom said,

    January 13, 2017 @ 4:11 pm

    At least fondly remembered. However reliable, Printers' Ink of March 23, 1911, page 52, in "Ireland Agency Changes, Donovan & Armstrong Formed", (https://books.google.com/books?id=FrEpAAAAYAAJ&pg=RA10-PA52&lpg=RA10-PA52), and The Tobacco World, February 1, 1936, page 4 (https://archive.org/stream/tobaccoworldv5656phil/tobaccoworldv5656phil_djvu.txt), credit Theodore B. Creamer with the "jimmy pipe" copy for Prince Albert. Per TTW: "Theodore B. Creamer, creator of the jimmy pipe copy for Prince Albert and of the accompanying character portraits so well rendered by the late Fred Morgan, may truly be said to have blazed the trail for a new advertising technique. Others before him had used slang, but 'Dory' Creamer was among the first, if not the very first, to introduce the vernacular into national advertising."

  12. DaveK said,

    January 13, 2017 @ 4:20 pm

    I take it the pipe ad is using " jimmy" in the slang sense of "handy device" (like the burglar's tool). Interesting that the word resurfaced in the 1990's as slang for a condom.

  13. languagehat said,

    January 13, 2017 @ 5:15 pm

    credit Theodore B. Creamer with the "jimmy pipe" copy for Prince Albert.

    Aha, so not Armistead after all! Thanks for that research.

  14. David Marjanović said,

    January 13, 2017 @ 5:19 pm

    In retrospect, the well-intentioned add for the Jimmy pipe is terrible. The horrible thing about smoking isn't the nicotine – it's the smoke!

  15. Jerry Friedman said,

    January 13, 2017 @ 5:41 pm

    An article from 1916 says "'Jimmy pipe' doesn't mean a blessed thing (or didn't when it was first coined)…"

  16. AG said,

    January 13, 2017 @ 8:12 pm

    @ DaveK – I remember condoms being called "jimmy hats" on several mid-90s hip hop tracks… I always assumed the Jimmy in question was an alias of that rascally fellow also known as Willy, Peter, John Thomas…

  17. D.O. said,

    January 13, 2017 @ 8:38 pm

    It seems that jimmy pipe was a creation of advertisers. Something like Marlboro man.

  18. Chris C. said,

    January 13, 2017 @ 9:04 pm

    From context I'd assume "meranto" was a kind of clay, but Google knows not of it. The only hit I got for it that wasn't someone's surname was a copy of that very ad in the July, 1913 issue of Popular Mechanics.

  19. The Other Mark P said,

    January 13, 2017 @ 10:35 pm

    Interesting that the word resurfaced in the 1990's as slang for a condom.

    Best you not look up what a "Prince Albert" is, when not being a member of a royal family called Albert or a city in Canada.

  20. Alex said,

    January 14, 2017 @ 12:24 pm

    In a weird way, it reminds me of the Dr. Bronner's castile soap label: http://dev.null.org/psychoceramics/collection/bronner.html

  21. Brett said,

    January 14, 2017 @ 2:16 pm

    @The Other Mark P: About ten years ago, there was a meme about asking people, "Did you get a Prince Albert in the can?"

  22. “Just let some joy smoke sift into your system” | ExtendTree said,

    January 14, 2017 @ 6:13 pm

    […] Read Full Story […]

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