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Carmel Magazine Digital Edition SU16

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C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • S U M M E R / F A L L 2 0 1 6 115 today so many feature matchbooks are intact. Fifty to sixty percent of the population smoked back then. Smoking was sophisticated and sexy. A lit cigarette on the lips of a matinee idol sym- bolized mystery, sensuality, sophistication, intellect. For the most part, Americans simply did not link smoking to ill health. The attitude was that smoking was a normal part of society. As more studies came out warning of the health risks, smoking went into an inevitable decline. And thus, the golden era of advertising match- es also flamed out, taking those extravagant feature matches with it. I'm not a matchbook collector, or as they are dubbed, a phillumenist. But over the years, I have accumulated Vegas feature matches merely for their great graphics and for all the memories of living in that dusty desert town most of my life. It's a bygone era. Smoking is also becoming a bygone habit, and with that absence, advertising matches are becoming obsolete and with it, those sexy, silly 1930s ads have gone up in smoke. They say you can't live in the past, but of course you can. I have noth- ing left from those early days. My white halter dress is long gone and I no longer smoke. But tucked away in an old cigar box, my collection of matchbooks from the casinos are all that remain, reflecting the unfading legend of the Rat Pack influence that conjured up a mood and a spell. Marjorie Snow is a writer and photographer with a vast knowledge of antiques and their history. Snow was the owner of Terra Cotta in Las Vegas, an exclusive architectural vintage gallery, which was featured in numerous West Coast magazines. L e ft to r i ght: Bi g S ur L odg e de pi c ts tal l re dw oods on e ac h m atc h; hi gh- k i c k i ng sal oon gal s on Hote l L ast F r onti e r; hi ghl y c ol l e c ti b l e fi shne t stoc k i ngs fr om R e d S l i ppe r R oom ; E l R anc ho Ve gas Co w bo y s i n Cha ps; and N ak e d D anc i ng G i r l s pe r f or m be f ore an audi e nc e. Left: "Contour" match books, which are not straight-sided, but extend outward, and are as collectible as the features. Right: Matchbooks from casinos that are long gone, but carry memories of old Vegas.

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