This is just NUTS. No, I am not quite old enough to remember this late-1960’s advertisement for “Erik” cigars — I happened along a few years later. But I was named for it.
My father told me when I was growing up that he named me after hearing the name “Eric” in a cigar commercial … I guess I was just never 100 percent sure if he was kidding or not. (My parents also came very close to naming me “Christian.”) Just a few days ago, through the magic of the Internet, I finally discovered the ad itself. (Thanks to Youtube user “blegume” for uploading the vintage commercial and solving this longstanding personal mystery.)
The ad itself is actually kind of funny. It makes smoking look entirely slick and telegenic and badass, and it underscores the point metaphorically with footage of a goddam viking ship sailing around Manhattan. (That’s the Brooklyn Bridge you see in the background.)
And, in this politically correct age, the ad manages to be at least mildly offensive to two groups: women and … Scandinavians. (Its product, it boasts, is “the most interesting idea from Scandinavia since the blonde.”)
My self-esteem would be incredibly high if people started proudly proclaiming “ERIK” in the same manner as the robust male narrator. I might try to create a wav. file of that and program my laptop to belt that out randomly like twice a day. Besides, I figure it could be worse — my father could have named me “Newport Menthols” or something. (Maybe it would be fitting; I’m slim and smooth, yet ultimately hazardous to your health.)
The Kirk Douglas lookalike you see in square-jawed profile is actually a Scandinavian named “Erik,” the video’s comments section informs me. He is none other than Norwegian Erik Silju, and his credits include episodes of both “Route 66” and “Murder, She Wrote.”
Here’s the kicker, though — I found four other guys, in the first page of the comments section alone, who were also named “Erik” after their parents saw this ad. That’s gotta be some kind of record.
Life is so weird.