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The Man Who Sold His Face

Sailor

Our exciting 'recontextualised serialisation' of  "The Shocking History of Advertising!" continues:

[On Likeness Rights]

At this period there was a noticeable tendency to associate girls with cigarettes, without going so far as to put the cigarette between their lips. If people choosew to assume that these girls were smoking, well and good.

[Not really part of the main point but too good to leave out.]

Player's famous bearded sailor had a predecessor, also framed in a lifebuoy. He was a very young sailor and the new face, adopted in 1898, was undoubtedly an improvement. It came as a surprise to many, in the summer of 1951, to learn that this was the portrait of a real sailor, Thomas Huntley Wood, who died in that year.

Wood's likeness first appeared in the Army and Navy Illustrated in 1898, whence it was borrowed for advertising purposes. A friend of Wood's wrote to the firm suggesting payment of a fee of £15; Wood reduced this to a sum of two guineas 'and a bit of baccy for myself and the boys on board.' The firm paid, in case and kind.

Some time later, tiring of people pulling out a packet of Player's and asking 'Is that really you?' Wood shaved off his beard.

An O. Henry or a Damon Runyon could have built an enchanting whimsy round the story of Thomas Wood - the man who sold his face for a song, only to be haunted by it ever afterwards.

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