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Famous Pipe Smokers



  • With Christmas upon us, I thought I would bring up actor John Payne. 
    Many stars in the 40s and 50s posed with a pipe, but was it because they really smoked, or it was just in vogue at the time?
    Well, if there was any doubt about Payne, check out one scene he played with the child Natilie Wood in, "Miracle on 34th Street".
    As he lights up his pipe, notice the stem where half of the button is missing from use...

  • Thompson and Pipe Smoking

    It was during this period that Thompson most smoked pipes, though that would later change to his signature long cigarette holders and mostly Dunhill cigarettes, along with cigars. In The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967 (1997), a series of his letters during that time span, Thompson mentions his pipes several times, such as, "Feeling a fit of nostalgia coming on, I hurriedly lit up my charred but tasty pipe." In another instance he wrote:

    I got up about ten, fed the dog, took a bath, and had a huge breakfast while I read The New York Times for news of the end of the world. I then took the dog, my pipe, and a bottle of wine and walked about a hundred yards down the hill to the river, where I spent two hours sitting on a huge rock above the rapids, smoking, sipping the wine, and planning a short story.

    In another letter he describes a typical morning:

    Eat in Old San Juan at six-thirty, out to pick up mail in Rio Piedras at nine. Read your letter on way over here, take off clothes and go naked down to beach with pipe and glass of brandy. Smoke pipe, drink brandy, swim, come back in for shower and to write this letter.

    He mentions his pipe in yet another letter: "I keep applying for jobs and people keep running me out of offices because of my hair and my pipe-thing." The subject of pipe smoking arises again when Thompson relates his attendance at an auto show featuring the famous triple-Olympic skier Jean-Claude Killy:

    Meanwhile, slumped in a folding chair near the Killy exhibit, smoking a pipe and brooding ... I am suddenly confronted by three young boys wearing Bass Weejuns and Pendleton shirts, junior-high types, and one of them asks me: "Are you Jean-Claude Killy?"

    ... "Well," I said finally, "I'm just sitting here smoking marijuana." I held up my pipe. "This is what makes me ski so fast."

    They stared at me — waiting for a laugh, I think — then backed away. Five minutes later I looked up and found them still watching me, huddled about 20 feet away behind the sky-blue Z-28 Chevy on its slow-moving turn-table. I waved my pipe at them ... but they didn't wave back.

    He wasn't actually smoking marijuana at that event, though it wouldn't have been uncharacteristic later. He just liked messing with people. He mentions his pipe again in a letter to someone named Mrs. Boyle: "Thanks for sending the Styron Report; I read it and actually considered, for the first time, that perhaps I might drop the habit. Which really shouldn't be too hard, with a pipe and cigars in reserve. Odd, how language can convince a man, where reason fails entirely."

    E. Jean Carroll, in Hunter: The Strange and Savage Life of Hunter S. Thompson (1993), quotes Thompson about his earlier pipe smoking:

    We all joined the Sunday school class because we could, ahhhh, we had special activities. At night we had all taken up smoking pipes. We would go to the Walgreen's drugstore across from the library. And we got pipes of tobacco. And sneaked out of the Sunday school and smoked our pipes on the stairs of the church.

    Carroll goes on to describe a visit with Thompson:

    I went down on spring vacation and visited Hunter in New York after he'd been up to see me at Yale. He was in a very bleak apartment in Greenwich Village, with absolutely no food except a jar of peanut butter.

    He smoked a pipe. Wore a long overcoat buttoned up to his neck. And he was thin. I think he was enjoying New York, from an impoverished point of view. He drove this old car and parked it with impunity wherever he wished. And wherever he parked the car he'd get a ticket. And he'd just slide that ticket into the glove compartment. At one point I think he had a hundred and twenty-two tickets. I mean the glove compartment was jammed with parking tickets.

    In Outlaw Journalist (2008), by William McKeen, Thompson's pipe is again described as part of his persona: "Gerald Tyrrell was lining up a shot at the pool table of his fraternity house at Yale when he looked up to see Hunter nonchalantly walk into the room, puffing on his pipe."

    "If you're going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you're going to be locked up." (Hunter S. Thompson)

    McKeen also chronicles Thompson's use of his pipe to impress the opposite sex: "When speaking to women, Hunter could make them feel as if they were the center of his universe. His eyes bore into theirs, and while they spoke, he drew thoughtfully on his pipe, often nodding in agreement with what they said. It was an act, his friends said, and it often worked."

    Thompson's pipe was indeed something that he enjoyed in his early years. McKeen records a visit shortly after Thompson lost his newspaper job in the Catskills for vandalizing a candy machine: "The combination bedroom and kitchen made up the other room. The rest of the place was strewn with newspapers, empty beer bottles, and half-downed drinks. He smoked a pipe in those days, so the sweet smell of its tobacco permeated the cabin and drifted out into the fresh air of the Catskill Mountains."

    The only reference to a specific brand of pipe found for this article, aside from a Dr. Grabow that Thompson "stuffed with hash," is from When the Going Gets Weird (1993) by Peter O. Witmer: "He wore his normal uniform for that time period — coat and tie, Kaywoodie Briar pipe."

    However, as Thompson's life progressed, he seems to have drifted away from his pipe smoking, though never giving it up entirely. He loved tobacco, whether in cigarettes, cigars, or in pipes.

  • Was just watching a youtube video from The Professor of Rock. He was interviewing Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Mike Campbell about the song "Boys of Summer" when Campbell lit his corn cob pipe and starting smoking it.

  • @RockyMountainBriar
    Good question.

    From the amount of smoke it produced and the way he was lighting it, I'm thinking tobacco.

    But, I'm not a weed smoker so I don't know.
  • @PappyJoe
    Me neither, that shit smells like a nasty assed skunk.  Two houses down from my mothers, the new neighbors probably grow, and definitely smoke that crap…When I go over to my mom’s to shovel the walks free of snow, the stench almost makes me nauseous….that’s two houses down ~50-100ft.🤢😖
  • Steve Fallon, aka Pipe Stud, listed a page full of famous pipe smokers. Enjoy.
  • Here's an interesting one I just saw on ESPN+ Peyton's Places. 
    He was talking to Lance Alsworth and showed clips from a film of the Chargers back in the 60s. It was of Head Coach Sid Gillman lighting up his pipe on the field during practice. https://www.espn.com/watch/player/_/id/af882dc7-e4cd-491b-8a2e-4489c79683a7#bucketId=43319

  • Mixture 79 in a Dunhill should be a capital crime subject to execution!

  • I know it was only a movie, but.....
  • @mfresa;
    You have me stumped. What was the movie and who is the actor? Great photo, regardless.
  • mfresamfresa Master
    edited December 2022
    @opipeman, the actor is Daniel Day Lewis.  Haven't seen the film but pics like this are floating around the internet.  Seems he struck oil somewhere. By the way, he was in "Last of the Mohicans", and portrayed Lincoln in a civil war movie.
  • @mfresa;
    Me thinks it was in "There will be Blood". Good movie. It was a few years ago.
  • Was helping the spouse put away some Christmas things and saw this Christmas story and song book.
    Glancing through it, I found a couple of pics of a really famous guy.
    The point; no matter what the "trying to change history" people say, Norman Rockwell says Santa smoked a pipe!
    So to those people I say, "Put that in your pipe and smoke it!"😉

  • @vtgrad2003
    Either the perique or else he was rehydrating his tobacco with Absinthe. 
  • Check out https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3262342/

    Investigation into his death done in animated paintings. Covers the ear incident.
  • @Montecristo
    I’m not much of an “painting” guy, but that is cool.
  • Londy3Londy3 Master
    edited January 2023
    William Defoe did an excellent job portraying Vincent. This movie is really good and I as an artist myself, highly recommend you watch it. See the trailer here, even that is good.

  • @Londy3 have you been to that thing where they project his work onto walls and make it move around? Went to it last year I think?
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