What was the (cigarette) smokingest TV show ever?

I’d have to say Dragnet. Jack Webb as Joe Gannon must have sucked down 3 packs a day while busting smart mouthed hippie punks.

I realize, however, that at 47 I’m young enough to have missed some of the 50’s and early 60’s shows where a smoking cast was often the norm.

Any show more smokin’ than Dragnet?

Well, I’ve only heard the radio program, but the Jack Benny TV show was also sponsored by Lucky Strikes cigarettes, so I imagine they puffed away fairly regular on that one.

When they were in syndication they never showed the original commercials, but I Love Lucy, The Flintstones (!) and others had custom commercials that showed the main characters smoking the sponsors’ products.
My vote for the smokiest? The Twilight Zone, of course. I don’t think writer/host/creator/narrator Rod Serling ever appeared on-screen without a lit cigarettte.

I nominate See It Now and Person to Person, solely for the presence of Edward R. Murrow.

Murrow had a four-pack-a-day habit, which killed him in 1965. He smoked constantly on screen.

I remember watching The David Suskind Show with my grandparents in the 1960’s. The host and, it seemed, all the guests smoked.

In relativelt recent TV there was The Morton Downey Jr. Show. The guy aways seemed to be inhaling.

It’s kind of funny, but unless you see one of those old shows in rerun, chances are you (at least I) overlook the amount of smoking going on. People who became aware in the days after the Surgeon General’s warnings are much more likely to notice those things.

That said, I’d expect it to be one of the cop shows or one where the film noir influence was pretty strong. I saw Out Of The Past (Kirk Douglas and Robert Mitchum and others) not extremely long ago and was amazed that hardly a frame of film goes by without heavy smoke. The outdoor scenes (of which there are very few) don’t have that feature, but most of the interiors do. In some scenes everybody is smoking or at least fondling a cigarette.

Just nitpicking here, because it doesn’t answer your question, but Jack Webb’s character was Joe Friday. His partner in the second Dragnet TV show, Harry Morgan’s character, was named Gannon.

I dunno about TV shows, but I’m pretty sure Constantine was the smokingest movie ever.

Wait Wasn’t he Joe Friday? Anyway I’ve been watching the Dragnet 1967 (to 1970) reruns and have never seen any episode with Joe Smoking. He may have smoked in the eariler days but not in the colourful hippie days of the later Dragnet series.

Just the fact’s.

You’re right. He did smoke occasionally, mostly in the first season of the 1960s “Dragnet,” but only occasionally. However, in the 1950s series, he, and everyone else, smoked a lot more.

Just about everybody, main cast and guests, smoked a lot in the WB formula dectective series, “77 Sunset Strip,” “Hawaiian Eye,” “Surfside 6,” and “Bourbon Street Beat.”

Then there’s Patty, Selma, Edna & Krusty.

I nominate The Sweeney

I understand he smoked as much as four packs a day. My lungs hurt just thinking about it …

As I didn’t remember watching Dr. Kildare, I googled “dr kildare smoking” and found this.In 1961, “Dr. Kildare” played by Richard Chamberlain offered cigarettes to one of his troubled patients, and "on the show, cigarettes convey the pervasive assumption that all good doctors smoke…Whenever Dr. Kildare is faced with a grim alternative, he pulls out a cigarette."The site references an article from the New York Times of August 24, 1977 as the source of the quotation.

Again, as with Murrow, this likely did him in. Serling died of complications after a coronary bypass. He was only fifty-one.

Lay off those cigarettes, kids.

They smoked on the old game shows, too. I remember watching To Tell The Truth and seeing the celebrity panel smoke, seemingly non-stop. Same for The Hollywood Squares, the really old version with George Gobel in the center square. IIRC, Paul Lynde smoked on Hollywood Squares, too. Yeah, I’m dating myself.

When you watch reruns of Match Game on GSN, many of the celebrities are smoking. Richard Dawson smokes a pipe.

The early days of The Tonight Show made no bones about the smoking. In later years you could see Carson fanning the air with his hand when they came back from commercials. This would date from about the time of the Surgeon General’s warnings I would guess.

One of the funniest archives that they used to replay whenever the occasion allowed was Dean Martin flicking ashes into George Gobel’s cup. It’s funny just to think about.

Maybe so, but I remember seeing a still from the old “Ben Casey” series (probably about the time Vince Edwards died) where Dr. Ben Casey is giving a patient a light in a hospital room. (Not saying that the article is inaccurate, though. Just supplying another source for the same sort of thing.)

Well, there was a Ripley’s where a guy smoked like a hundred cigarettes at one time. Does that count.
The old shows were amazing not only because of the omnipresent smoking, but also because (at least in films) they drank hard liquor like water. Most characters spent most of their time with a cigarette in one hand and a highball glass in the other. Then they’d hop in their cars and drive off after draining half a liquor cabinet.