Twas the night before Christmas

Arthur Godfrey

Arthur Morton Godfrey (August 31, 1903 – March 16, 1983) was an American radio and television broadcaster and entertainer who was sometimes introduced by his nickname, The Old Redhead. No TV personality in 1950s America enjoyed more clout or fame than Godfrey until an infamous on-air incident undermined his folksy image and triggered a gradual decline. At the peak of his success, Godfrey helmed two CBS-TV weekly series and a daily 90-minute television mid-morning show, but, by the early 1960s, his presence had been reduced to hosting the occasional TV special.

Arguably the most prominent of the medium’s early master commercial pitchmen, he was strongly identified with many of his many sponsors, especially Chesterfield cigarettes and Lipton Tea. Having advertised Chesterfield for many years, during which time he devised the slogan “Buy ’em by the carton”, Godfrey terminated his relationship with the company after he quit smoking, five years before he was diagnosed with lung cancer. Subsequently, he became a prominent spokesman for anti-smoking education.

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