Print ad featuring Merle Haggard (RIP) for George Dickel Whisky, 1986.
Most of the time when our favorite musicians or celebrities appear as though they have “sold-out,” we all breathe a collective sigh of sadness. Such as the time that John Lydon shilled for Country Life Butter (the proceeds from which the crafty Lydon used to fund the creation of PiL’s 2012 album, This is PiL. Take that haters!), or when a part of you died after seeing Bob Dylan in a strange television commercial for Victoria’s Secret in 2004. As was the case with Lydon, it’s not always a bad thing. I mean, even I couldn’t hate on The Cure’s “Pictures of You” (from the band’s brilliant 1989 album, Disintegration) playing in the background of a Hewlett-Packard commercial back in 2003.
Dennis Hopper and John Huston for Jim Beam.
But back to the point of this post—if there is a more perfect pairing when it comes to commercial endorsements than badass celebrities and musicians pimping out booze, I do not know what it is. And I’m quite sure that many of these vintage ads will have you checking your watch to see if it’s already noon. However, if you’re like me and go by the guideline that it’s always noon somewhere, then congratulations! Because you’re probably on your second Bloody Mary, rationalizing that it’s okay because it’s almost a meal as long as it’s served with olives and celery. Tons of vintage ads for Jim Beam, Smirnoff, Colt 45 and other party liquids, held lovingly by folks such as Merle Haggard (pictured at the top of this post, RIP), Chuck Berry, Dennis Hopper (seen above with director John Huston), Telly Savalas, and two badass ladies—Joan Crawford and Julie Newmar—follow.
Julie Newmar in an ad for Smirnoff Vodka, 1966.
Telly Savalas for Black Velvet, a Canadian Whisky.
Chuck Berry in an ad for Christian Brothers Brandy (my Grandmother’s favorite!), 1988
Benny Hill for Black & White Scotch Whisky, early 1970s.
A cartoon image of Sammy Davis Jr. in a Japanese ad for Suntory Whisky.
Actor and former professional baseball and basketball player, Chuck Connors for Kentucky Tavern Bourbon, 1966.
Joan Crawford for Rheingold Beer, 1952.
Ernest Hemingway for Ballantine Ale, 1951.
Yul Brynner for Lauder’s Scotch.
Jack Palance for American spirit maker, Heublein.
Sean Connery for Jim Beam, 1974.
Redd Foxx for Colt 45.
A buzzkilling vintage anti-alcohol ad from the 1970s.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Famous boozers and their favorite liquid vices