Early Radio with Dean and Jerry

by Jack Keegan


We were taping the first show. Before we were on two minutes, Dean pulled out a pack of Luckies from his inside jacket pocket, lit one, and began smoking as we went on with the program. In radio you worked with scripts in your hands and read the material, so your eyes were constantly on the pages. Unbeknownst to both Dean and me, the clients' booth went bonkers at the sight of a pack of Luckies!

Following the show the sponsors had a meeting with the head of NBC, warning them that NBC could lose them as sponsors if they didn't get Dean's head on right (Cool- Hand Luke syndrome).

When Dean heard about the child-like nonsense of the folks at Chesterfield, we both agreed it was sheer nonsense since the radio studio only held about 250 people, tops. How could Dean's smoking Luckies hurt a multi-billion-dollar company? So, instead of recognizing that a mere 250 people all thought it was a joke in the first place and that it wasn't doing anyone any real harm, Chesterfield demanded that Dean not smoke unless it was their product - Chesterfield.

Upon hearing the ultimatum Dean bought a new pack of Chesterfield's and a new pack of Luckies. He then dumped the Chesterfield cigarettes in the waste basket (but kept the package) and loaded it with all the Lucky cigarettes, and off we went to do the second Martin and Lewis radio show!

The show was great! Dean smoked. The sponsors were happy. NBC was happy. Dean even held the Chesterfield package (with the Lucky cigarettes inside) and showed it to the sponsors in the clients' booth, and they applauded. NBC was thrilled! The sponsors and their families were thrilled! The orchestra was thrilled. (They almost lost 39 weeks of work.) Everybody was happy. All the ultimatums stopped, and for the next 39 weeks Dean smoked Luckies in a Chesterfield package, and no one was ever the wiser!


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