Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hemingway's Booze Advertisement

There was a time in America where the great writers were huge celebrities. It was a simpler time. One where men and women were famous for their talents and achievements. Not releasing a sex tape and getting their picture taken in a Starbucks.

The great Ernest Hemingway, my favorite writer and one of my heroes, was known to take a few easy bucks when he could. It was how he financed new homes and safaris. Papa never had to go to Hollywood and write scripts like some of his contemporaries. Faulkner, Chandler, Fitzgerald, others. Instead, Hemingway would sell the rights to one of his books head to Kenya.

I would speculate that when Ballantine Ale called Papa and offered him a few bucks to shill a booze he may have drank anyway, he may have said, "What the hell, send the check."

John Steinbeck put his stamp of approval on Ballantine ale as well. See his ad here.

Here's the enlargement of the copy, supposedly written by Papa.

I would wager Hemingway did not write the letter. The sentences are too long. Though he was fond of starting sentences with "but" or "and."

He wouldn't have written "we keep it iced in the bait box with with chunks of ice around it." It probably would have read something like "She rests in the bait box, cooled with chunks of ice."

My guess would be Papa signed off on a ghostwriter, not really caring what it read. He probably didn't read it anyway. This is only my educated guess.

Conjecture aside, it is an interesting piece of literary history.

Thanks to my boy Chris Baier for bringing this to my attention.

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