Beer In Ads #2146: Jean Hersholt For Pabst


Wednesday’s ad is for Pabst Blue Ribbon, from 1949. In the later 1940s, Pabst embarked on a series of ads with celebrity endorsements, photographing star actors, athletes, musicians and other famous people in their homes, enjoying Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. This one features Mr. & Mrs. Jean Hersholt. He “was a Danish-born actor who lived in the United States, where he was a leading film and radio talent, best known for his 17 years starring on radio in Dr. Christian and for playing Shirley Temple’s grandfather in Heidi.” So he’s probably not too well known anymore, but apparently was well-known enough in his day that even today the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences still gives a Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Oscars. In addition to acting, he also translated over 160 fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen into English — such as The Little Mermaid, the Emperor’s New Clothes and The Snow Queen (which Disney loosely based Frozen on — which were published in six volumes as “The Complete Andersen,” for which he was appointed a knight of the Order of the Dannebrog in 1948. And one las bit of trivia, he was the paternal half-uncle of Leslie Nielsen.

In the ad, the Hersholts, Jean and Via, are in their extensive library, sitting at a table surrounded by shelves of books. Two beers are on the table and Jean has a book and his pipe, though he looks much more comofrtable in this room than his wife does. He looks relaxed and is looking at her; she’s sitting up straight and staring into space.

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