Adrian Madlener: Writings
Lucky Light, infamous candy cigarette discontinued at age 90
After years of manipulating impressionable minors to be, Lucky Light was officially taken off of the production line this past week amidst new sales regulations. Filled with gum, chocolate, or simply tapioca, lucky, also known as “Kings,” “Stallion,” or “Just Like Dad” enabled many generations of eager children to look like “grown ups.” Over the years his shape, color, and texture changed, gradually appearing less realistic. What was once his rolled paper exterior became nothing more than a shriveled up and unclothed white sugar stick. So little remained of lucky that the government decided it was time to send him to that great candy store in the sky.
Big tobacco played a key role in his longevity, granting branding permission to companies like Necco and World Candies. Born in the 1900s, Lucky Light was often called by the same names as his tar filled cousins: Lucky Strike, Camel, and Cools. Eventually he branched out from the family business collaborating with characters like Popeye and the gritty ‘Round Up’ Cowboy.
Ever the chameleon, Lucky was forced to assume various disguises as the health risks of smoking began to surface towards the early 1950s. In the form of “Lucky Strike” he legally changed his name to “Lucky Light.” His associate, “Pall Mall” became known as “Kings.” Successful in transformation, he rapidly gained popularity with a new generation. Lucky’s previous generation of fans remained nostalgic especially while lighting their “real” cigarettes.
In fact, years later, when those “real” cigarettes were banned from public buildings and transportation, lucky earned an unexpected promotion. In the 1990s, the airline company Cathay Pacific began handing him out on flights to the United States with the following disclaimer: “Captain’s Warning: flying onboard a nonsmoking flight can be addictive and can lead to increased Cathay Pacific travel.”
Lucky will always be remembered for inspiring millions of aspiring smokers to “light up” with his sweet strawberry flavor. He is survived by “chewing tobacco” baseball gum and the chocolate cigar. Lucky’s relatives in the tobacco industry have organized memorial services in off-kilter candy stores all over the world.