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Johnny Philip Morris Smoker’s Stand*

Item Description

This is a rare smoker’s stand made in cast iron for the American Philip Morris tobacco company in the 1930’s and the story behind it is quite fascinating.

Based on Johnny Roventini who was an Italian-American dwarf actor less than four feet tall.  In 1933, Johnny was a bellboy at the New York Hotel when an advertising executive working for Philip Morris encouraged him to page the company’s name in the lobby of the hotel.   His melodic “Call for Philip Morris” became his trademark and he purportedly repeated these same words more than a million times after signing a lifetime contract with the company.

His fame spread and he became hugely well known on radio and television as an advertising spokesman for the brand, representing the company for over 40 years until his retirement in 1974.   He died in 1998.

These smoker’s stands, with Johnny holding a box of matches in his left hand and cigarettes in a container in his right, together with a removable brass ashtray in the centre, would be positioned in hotel lobbies and other chosen situations and proved to be a very effective advertising medium.

Standing 90 cm tall and with the base around 19 cm square, it is still in excellent condition and is a real piece of Art Deco era memorabilia.

Ref: 12529

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