Saturday’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 Charles Laughton. He “was an English stage and film character actor, director, producer and screenwriter. Laughton was trained in London at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and first appeared professionally on the stage in 1926. In 1927, he was cast in a play with his future wife Elsa Lanchester, with whom he lived and worked until his death; they had no children.
He played a wide range of classical and modern parts, making an impact in Shakespeare at the Old Vic. His film career took him to Broadway and then Hollywood, but he also collaborated with Alexander Korda on notable British films of the era, including The Private Life of Henry VIII. He portrayed everything from monsters and misfits to kings. Among Laughton’s biggest film hits were The Barretts of Wimpole Street, Mutiny on the Bounty, Ruggles of Red Gap, Jamaica Inn, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and The Big Clock. In his later career, he took up stage directing, notably in The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, and George Bernard Shaw’s Don Juan in Hell, in which he also starred. He directed one film, the thriller The Night of the Hunter.
Laughton has been seen by one actor as one of the greatest performers of his generation. Daniel Day-Lewis cited him as one of his inspirations, saying: ‘He was probably the greatest film actor who came from that period of time. He had something quite remarkable. His generosity as an actor, he fed himself into that work. As an actor, you cannot take your eyes off him.'”
In the ad, Laughton’s relaxing, up against a tree, at the Ojai Valley Inn and Country Club. Beer in his hand, he’s in Southern California but still wearing a wool jacket and tie, even though it’s most likely on the warm side. Hopefully the beer will help keep him cool.