In addition to all the films, plays, radio and television programs Rathbone
appeared in, his image was also used to sell numerous products, mainly
cigarettes and booze. Because Rathbone was
so identified with Sherlock Holmes, many of the ads picture him as Holmes.
See page 2 for more ads including
radio and television ads.
Rathbone probes the Gentleman's martini: Booth's House
of Lords Gin"
In this ad from 1958 we see Sherlock Holmes himself examining a
martini. He says, "It's elementary that crime does not pay -- This is
true whether the crime is murder, robbery, arson, blackmail or making an
While the last offense rarely results in a man losing his life, it
almost certainly carries the penalty of losing his friends. It should be
well-known--for ignorance excuses no man--that the Martini of highest
social acceptance is the gentleman's Martini. And the key to making it
is Booth's House of Lords Gin.
Just why Booths House of Lords Gin has the uncanny faculty of
producing the gentleman's Martini--or a gentleman's drink even if served
straight, on the rocks--has baffled even me. I suggest you simply look
upon it as a fascinating mystery. All we need know is that the Booth's
people are willing to part with their delectable product for mere money,
and it is available at every bar or liquor store which any
self-respecting person would patronize."
The same ad appeared in
It's Elementary . . . Always Buy Chesterfield."
This cigarette ad featuring "Basil Rathbone, star of Dressed to Kill," appeared in magazines in 1946.
||Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson
examine a bottle of Petri Wine,
the sponsor of the Sherlock Holmes radio broadcasts of the 1940s. Watson
exclaims, "A man of taste, Holmes! He drank the Petri wine."
"Petri took time to bring you good
One of the photos that was used in the 1949 Fatima cigarette ads
|This ad features Rathbone hawking Fatima Turkish cigarettes. Fatima
cigarettes sponsored the radio show Tales of Fatima, which aired
in 1949 and starred Basil Rathbone. On the ad: "Basil Rathbone says:
May I tell you why you'll like smoking the NEW Fatima? The name Fatima has
stood for the Best in Cigarette Quality for 30 years. And now, I
say the new Fatima is the best of long cigarettes. It's the
long cigarette that I know you'll enjoy as much as I do. It's MY
cigarette. Basil Rathbone".
See below for some other Fatima ads that are only slightly different
than the one pictured to the right.
|You can also
listen to Basil hawking Fatima cigarettes on his radio show
Tales of Fatima. This ad is from the episode "A Much Expected
Murder." Click here or click the sound button to the right.
||Apparently Rathbone also likes beer. Here he is enjoying a glass of
Schaefer beer, calling it the "Finest beer I ever tasted!" This
ad appeared in the late 1940s.
|In this Skippy Peanut Butter ad from 1957 Rathbone is unhappy about
being asked to try Skippy. "Peanut butter!" he exclaimed.
"Surely you jest! . . . Peanut butter is only for little kids! . . .
Fah!" But the makers of Skippy gave Rathbone a fistful of money and
he agreed to taste Skippy. "Heavens to Betsy!" he cried. "Can this be
peanut butter?" (I think he likes it.)
||In this ad from 1956 Rathbone is again hawking liquor. This time it's
Deluxe bourbon. Rathbone said his drink was "Marvelous!"
|Here's a Van Heusen shirt ad from 1954. "Van Heusen Century
shirts won't wrinkle . . . ever!"
The shirt that Basil is wearing cost $4.95, and the tie he's wearing
The photo to the far right appears to be one that was taken for
this ad, but not used. Perhaps it was used in a different Van Heusen
||"His Famous CALOX SMILE thrills millions in 'A Date with
Destiny.' Who is he?"
This ad for Calox tooth powder (from 1941) features a masked
Basil Rathbone with a bright smile.
||In this 1945 ad Sherlock Holmes finds Stratford pens to be
dependable performers. The photo caption reads "Basil Rathbone ...
always a dependable performer ... famous for his modern
interpretation of Sherlock Holmes. Soon to be seen in Universal's
"The House of Fear."
||Personnally speaking by Basil Rathbone, star of The Heiress
Sherlock Holmes I can solve every mystery except that of smooth shaving.
2. I solve it with Personna razor blades, which give me smoother,
closer shaves. The only mystery is ...
3. Why all men don't rush out for Personnas and start enjoying
smooth, comfortable shaves!
||Here's Basil Rathbone, looking very comfortable in a Swing King
reclining chair. These ads appeared in 1953 and identify Rathbone as the
star of the Broadway play "Sherlock Holmes." (That play closed after
only three performances on Broadway.)
||A screen villain with a "soft spot" for Shredded Wheat
Rathbone, Ann Harding's leading man in her first British film, "Love
from a Stranger," a Max Schach-Trafalgar production, says:
"What a boon is Shredded Wheat for these quick breakfasts snatched
before leaving for the studios. I am invariably in a hurry on these
occasions, and it fulfils two valuable needs: it is quickly prepared
and served, and at the same time it is nourishing and stimulating to
an astonishing degree. Because I wanted something that would fulfil
these requirements, I found Shredded Wheat. Now it is an essential
part of my breakfast, whether I am playing or not. Do by all means use
this letter of mine if you wish—I am only too glad to put other
people on to a good thing."
Mr. Rathbone, occupying a leading position in a strenuous and
exacting profession, adds to the many sincere and glowing tributes
which are constantly being received from hard-working people in every
walk of life. He confirms the fact that, as a complete health-food
giving strength, stamina and energy to withstand the demands of a busy
active life, Shredded Wheat has no equal. Agrees, too, that Shredded
Wheat is an extremely handy food for the man or woman in a hurry. And
everyone who eats Shredded Wheat knows that no food could be more
appetizing and delicious, with hot or cold milk, cream, honey, or with
fresh, stewed or tinned fruits.
||Basil uses Calgonite dishwasher soap to get his glasses clean
and sparkly. Here are two similar ads for Calgonite.
"You can remove spots with aplomb, but Calgonite
Calgonite gives a hand polished look to all your machine-washed
glassware, silverware and china. No spots, no streaks, no haze. And we
make Calgonite to be gentle, so that fine china makers can recommend
it confidently to everyone who owns pretty things. We make Calgonite
sneeze-free, too....not a kachoo in a carload. We make it so it smells
nice and doesn't leave a chlorine odor. No wonder leading dishwasher
makers recommend Calgonite and sample it in their new machines. Use
Calgonite in your automatic dishwasher."
|Together with Marion McCarroll, Mrs. Ferd Pettinella and
chef John Manuat, Basil recommends Alcoa aluminum utensils. The
text under Basil's picture reads: Basil Rathbone, distinguished star of
stage and screen. A gourmet who delights Hollywood friends with his
cooking artistry, Mr. Rathbone offers lobster thermidor on grill broiler
accompanied by a tossed green salad (with his special dressing) and
grated cheese. He recommends aluminum utensils when preparing meals to
be savored by discriminating palates.
looking at a Columbia Masterworks Records advertisement printed in
the year 1945. It features a prominent photo of conductor Andre
Kostelanetz. This ad also shows pictures of Basil Rathbone (bottom
left), Edward Kilenyi, Lily Pons, Joseph Szigeti and Fritz Reiner.
Rathbone made several records with Columbia: A
Christmas Carol; Great Themes in Poetry; Hansel and Gretel; The
Murder of Lidice; The Night Before Christmas and Little Jesus;
Oliver Twist and Fagin; Peter and the Wolf; Robin Hood; Sinbad the
Sailor; The Stingiest Man in Town; Treasure Island.
|In 1950, Basil Rathbone endorsed Northwest
Airlines, saying, "Travel's always a pleasure on Northwest." The ad
tells us how long it takes for the Stratocruiser to fly to Detroit,
Milwaukee, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Seattle. But it doesn't say
from where! This ad may have appeared in local New York City papers,
so departures from New York could be assumed.
Variations on the Fatima cigarettes ad:
See page 2 for more ads including
radio and television ads.
If you have or find any ads featuring Basil Rathbone, which I don't have
listed here, please send me a scan
and whatever information you have about the ad. If you don't have a
scanner, please e-mail me,
and we'll work out something!