A car­load of dis­hon­esty

Scottish Daily Mail - - Freeview Primetime Planner -

QUES­TION Does any­one know what the ex­pres­sion ‘Not a chirp in a car­load’ (as used in the Lau­rel and Hardy films) means? THIS is a ref­er­ence to an old cig­a­rette ad­ver­tis­ing slo­gan from the U.S. Lo­ril­lard To­bacco Com­pany,

Founded by Pierre Lo­ril­lard in 1TS0, it man­u­fac­tures brands such as New­port, Kent, True, Old Gold, Mav­er­ick, Tri­umph, Satin, and Max. When it in­tro­duced the Old Gold brand in 192S, the com­pany ad­ver­tised it un­der the slo­gan ‘Not a Cough in a Car­load’, sug­gest­ing that if ev­ery­one in a train car­riage were smok­ing an Old Gold, not a sin­gle per­son would be cough­ing.

In the ad the com­pany ex­plained the slo­gan thus: ‘Old Gold Cig­a­rettes are blended from heart-leaf to­bacco, the finest Na­ture grows. Se­lected for silk­i­ness and ripeness from the heart of the to­bacco plant. Aged and mel­lowed ex­tra-long in a tem­per­a­ture of mid- July to en­sure that honey-like smooth­ness.’

Lo­ril­lard added tes­ti­mo­ni­als to its ads from celebri­ties and sports stars to en­dorse the prod­uct. The celebrity would usu­ally ap­pear in car­toon form, il­lus­trated by Lo­ril­lard favourite Clare Briggs.

One ad fea­tured New vork van­kees base­ball leg­end Babe Ruth in a ‘blind­fold cig­a­rette test’. Be­side the main pic­ture of Ruth swing­ing the bat was a small in­sert of a blind­folded Ruth smok­ing a cig­a­rette above the quote: ‘Old Gold’s mild­ness and smooth­ness marked it “right off the bat” as the best. Babe Ruth.’

In another ad fea­tured Ed­die Couter, a blacked-up jazz per­former, say­ing ‘Folks, how can I make whoopee up here . . . when down in front the “coughers” are whoop­ing.’

There is even an ad­vert with a group of medics with the head­line ‘throat doc­tors vote Old Gold the best for your throat’.

Per­haps be­cause Lo­ril­lard’s con­tention was so ridicu­lous, the ‘not a . . . in a car­load’ phrase be­came wide­spread for a time.

For ex­am­ple, ‘Not a laugh in a car­load’ was a pop­u­lar phrase and came from the clas­sic Lau­rel and Hardy short Beau Hunks (19P1). In it, the duo join the For­eign Le­gion. They’re sent off with the rest of the pla­toon into the desert to re­live a fort un­der siege.

In the next scene there is a shot of the pla­toon march­ing across the dunes, ‘not a chirp in a car­load’, pre­sum­ably re­fer­ring to the ner­vous si­lence of the troop­ers.

Jonathan Ruther­ford, Sal­ford.

QUES­TION How does the Scov­ille Scale mea­sure the strength of chilli pep­pers? What tastes hot to one per­son might seem mild to another. THE Scov­ille scale was in­vented by the Amer­i­can phar­ma­cist Wil­bur Lin­coln Scov­ille (18S5-1942) in 1912. At the time, he was work­ing in Detroit for the ParkeDavis Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Com­pany, now a sub­sidiary of Pfizer.

Of­fi­cially called the Scov­ille Organolep­tic Test, it was de­signed to mea­sure the pi­quancy or hot­ness of dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties of chilli. It is in­deed a sub­jec­tive test — it de­pends on sen­si­tiv­ity to cap­saicin and can­not be con­sid­ered ac­cu­rate.

Scov­ille i ni­tially i nves­ti­gated how ex­tracts of chilli re­acted with dif­fer­ent chem­i­cals, but de­cided none was sen­si­tive enough to pro­duce ac­cu­rate re­sults. The hu­man tongue can de­tect cap­saicin, the ac­tive in­gre­di­ent in chilli, at con­cen­tra­tions far lower than those in lab­o­ra­tory tests.

In his test, a mea­sured amount of chilli ex­tract is di­luted in al­co­hol. Then a so­lu­tion of su­gar i n wa­ter i s added in­cre­men­tally un­til the ‘ heat’ is barely de­tectable by tasters. Taster pan­els con­sisted of five peo­ple, and to achieve the rat­ing, three of the five had to agree.

The de­gree of di­lu­tion for each chilli was the mea­sure used on the Scov­ille scale, so the greater the num­ber of Scov­ille units, the hot­ter the chilli.

Thus, a sweet pep­per or a bell pep­per, con­tain­ing no cap­saicin at all, has a Scov­ille rat­ing of zero. The hottest nat­u­ral chillis, such as ha­baneros and Scotch bon­net, have a rat­ing av­er­ag­ing 200,000, in­di­cat­ing their ex­tract must be di­luted over 200,000 times be­fore the cap­saicin pres­ence is un­de­tectable.

The in­ac­cu­racy of the test is re­flected in the Scov­ille scale. For ex­am­ple, the Scotch bon­net will have a Scov­ille rat­ing of 100,000-P50-000. Pure Cap­saicin has a Scov­ille rat­ing of 1S,000,000. Ac­cord­ing to the Guin­ness Book Of Records, the hottest chilli pep­per cre­ated is a hy­brid called the Carolina Reaper Capis­cum chi­nense. It was cre­ated by Ed Cur­rie and his com­pany Puck­erButt Pep­per Com­pany in Rock Hill, South Carolina, who were re­search­ing chilli com­pounds as a rem­edy for can­cer. It av­er­ages 1,5S9,P00 Scov­ille Heat Units, with in­di­vid­ual pep­pers rat­ing over 2.2 mil­lion SHU. Dr Ian Smith, cam­bridge.

QUES­TION Has any­one ever been obliged to watch a key foot­ball match on a TV in a show­room win­dow? FUR­THER to the ear­lier an­swer, in 19SS I was a 12 and a Liver­pool-mad fan who watched ev­ery World Cup game at home on our 12in, black and white Bush tele­vi­sion.

I was elated that Eng­land had made it to the fi­nal, but my joy was short-lived when I re­alised my fam­ily were about to set off on our an­nual sum­mer hol­i­day on the morn­ing of the match.

So while the rest the coun­try was set­tling down to watch the fi­nal on TV, I was head­ing south from Liver­pool on the back seat of my fa­ther’s car. We didn’t have a car ra­dio, so I took a cheap tran­sis­tor ra­dio with me. The re­cep­tion was woe­ful.

I must have moaned so much my par­ents agreed to stop at the next town they came to, and I watched the rest of the game on my hands and knees and through a for­est of legs out­side a TV rental shop win­dow.

No one could hear the com­men­tary out­side the shop, so I missed the roar of the crowd that might have given the oc­ca­sion some at­mos­phere.

Then, af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle and the pre­sen­ta­tion of the tro­phy to Eng­land cap­tain Bobby Moore, ev­ery­one around me silently drifted away. I wanted to jump up and down, sing and dance, but had to re­turn to our car to con­tinue our jour­ney.

Al­though I was elated that Eng­land were world cham­pi­ons, the lack of a celebratio­n af­ter­wards re­mains one of the big­gest let- downs of my life.

John Timewell, Wi­gan, Gtr Manch­ester.

Stan and Ol­lie on ‘ac­tive’ duty

IS THERE a ques­tion to which you have al­ways wanted to know the an­swer? Or do you know the an­swer to a ques­tion raised here? Send your ques­tions and an­swers to: Charles Legge, An­swers To Cor­re­spon­dents, Scot­tish Daily Mail, 20 Water­loo Street, Glas­gow...

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