"Sounds funny, don't it," the ad begins:
"but that's just what somebody's going to do during the next ten days.
"Some fellow is going to pull the picture of his favorite film star out of a package of Strollers Cigarettes, write a verse about him or her and win the $300.00 Movie Limerick prize. Same thing as pulling $300.00 out of a pack of cigarettes isn't it..."
You should be able to read the rest in the fascinating advertisement shown above. The copy of the ad I found was discovered in the Manitoba Free Press of Winnipeg, dated February 5, 1923.
Mae Murray is pictured and as you can see by the image on the right Strollers used the same image that appeared on the actual tobacco card. Under Murray's image, in case you can't make it out, is a sample limerick:
Said a friend to Mae Murray one day,
Your husband seems always so gay;
The reason, said she,
Is because he has me,
And he always smokes Strollers--I'll say.
"Beat this and win $300.00" comes the dare just below the limerick.
Well, I could have stopped there but as I started to put this together it occurred to me that a contest should have a winner. So it was back to NewspaperArchive.com to see if Strollers ever announced the lucky limerick writer who claimed the three hundred bucks.
They did. Not only that, but the Mae Murray ad was one of a few appearing weekly in the same Manitoba Free Press in promotion of the contest. I've captured and cropped the entire ad campaign for you below.
It should be noted that these ads were placed by the Tobacco Products Corporation of Canada and are highlighting the C142 Canadian Strollers issue. That set is very similar, though not quite identical, to the more popularly collected T85 series of cards issued in America at the same time.
The February 5 Mae Murray ad above was published in the middle of the campaign. We'll take it in order from the start here:
Above: January 15, 1923
"As happy as seems Evelyn Greely,
I think I can go her one better,
For when I smoke Strollers quite freely
I feel that the world is my debtor."
Above: January 23, 1923
When interviewed Harold Lloyd said;
"I'd rather stay single than wed,
For when I'm at home
Through the house I may road
With Strollers till I go to bed."
Above: January 31, 1923
When out on location one day,
Art Acord was injured they say;
But Art, all undaunted,
Just got what he wanted--
A Stroller--and then rode away.
Above: February 3, 1923
Gladys Walton may single abide,
Whom to marry she cannot decide;
She explained to her dad,
Who answered: "How sad,
To the man who smokes Strollers get tied."
The February 5 Mae Murray ad would come in this space and then:
Above: February 19, 1923
No poem. "Gimme Time" calls for an extension "because of the many requests from the Stroller Limerick Writers for more time."
Extended two weeks. Until:
Above: March 16, 1923
The winner, George David Dye, is announced!
Mr. Dye would receive his $300 prize for the following Movie Limerick:
A marvelous actor is Denny,
Whose talents are varied and many,
When asked, "Will you Smoke?"
He said, "Rather, old bloke
Gimme Strollers or dont' give me any."
That'd be Reginald Denny. I'd have kind of liked the chance to have read J.S. Woodward's $100 runner-up entry. Mr. Dye didn't impress me as much as the Strollers ad men did.
By the way, did you noticed the stick-figure cigarette character in the first few ads? Anyone know who he is? Kind of reminds me of Reddy Kilowatt.