Morley Cigarettes

Morley Cigarettes

The Made-Up Brand That Sells Better Than the Real One

In the vast, incomprehensible world of American advertisement, thousands upon thousands of unique brands and logos are lost in the overcomplicated jumble and never become as recognizable as others.

One product that has never seemed to suffer from this lack of a specific identity is Morley Cigarettes. With their white-and-red boxes, ambiguously European family crest ornament, and selling claim that “More doctors smoke Morleys than any other cigarette,” this brand has definitely stood the test of time in terms of its ability to remain consistently recognizable throughout the years.

This may very well be because Morley Cigarettes never actually existed.

The first major appearance of this very-nonexistent brand was in none other than Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic 1960 film Psycho, in which Simon Oakland’s character is seen shaking a single Morley out of a pack. No attention is drawn to the fictional cigarette within the narrative of Psycho, and neither was any explanation given behind the scenes as to the origins of the brand.

Although Psycho is often considered the first appearance of Morley Cigarettes, it has been noted that, since no one has taken credit for the creation of the brand, there is every possibility that the tradition of using that name in place of a real-life cigarette extends even farther back than 1960.

However, citing Hitchcock’s world-renowned film as the beginning of this silent, fifty-year running joke would certainly be fair, as following the release of Psycho, Morley Cigarettes began appearing in hundreds of films, television shows, books, and other forms of media. Some of the highest-profile appearances of Morley Cigarettes can be spotted in The X-Files, Breaking Bad, Friends, LOST, The Twilight Zone, and The Walking Dead.

One may wonder exactly what is the purpose in such a long-running inside joke? Why would thousands of filmmakers and screenwriters slip the same fictional brand into their totally separate fictional worlds? The best answer to this would be a resounding “No reason.”

Morley Cigarettes function almost as little purpose as an icon of the film and television industry as they do actual cigarettes. Despite appearing in thousands of films and TV shows throughout the past fifty years, the Morley brand is nothing more than a glorified running joke through countless cinematic universes.

One of the charms of a running joke such as this is that very few are actually aware that it exists. If any ordinary American were to hear the name “Morley Cigarettes,” they would likely assume it denoted nothing more than a brand of which they were not previously aware. Only a select few know the truth about Morley Cigarettes and even less know the details of their existence, or lack thereof.

Occasionally, the presence of Morley Cigarettes will be recognized within a film or series, although the characters never reference the brand’s nonexistence in the real world, as doing so would cause a break in the fourth wall. For instance, in an episode of the popular American science fiction series The X-Files, leading characters Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are sent to investigate the mysterious death of a Morley Tobacco employee and discover that the corporation has been using alien biology to enhance the addictive nature of their product.

In this instance, the fictional Morley cigarettes company is used as cover for a storyline with which no real tobacco distributor would want to be associated. The producers of The X-Files figured that neither Marlboro, Old Gold, or any other cigarette company would condone their product being associated with the negative connotations of alien biology, and thus created their own made-up brand to fit the role; it just so happened that there already existed a named cigarette that had been used in countless series and films before The X-Files.

Although Morley cigarettes are not associated with any existing brand, their packaging and in-world advertisements are heavily based on Marlboros, one of the most popular real-life brands. In fact, even the name — Morley — is a vertical derivative of the slang term for Marlboros: Marleys. Additionally, the iconic Marlboro packaging is emulated in that of its fictional counterpart. In most post-Psycho appearances, Morley boxes are white with a red top, decorated with the Crest of Great Britain. They look so similar to Marlboro boxes that, if someone had an idea to produce Morleys in real life, they would no doubt be under fire for patent infringement.

The existence of a fictional brand that spans more than two hundred different films, TV shows, and other forms of media may be news to anyone who doesn’t happen to work in Hollywood. But even more surprisingly, Morley cigarettes are not the only name brand to appear onscreen, but never in real life. For instance, the Google-inspired search engine Finder-Spyder is used all across television, most notably in Breaking Bad, Weeds, and The X-Files. Another of these companies that won’t be seen in our world is Oceanic Airlines, the go-to plane service when a crash or other accident is called for, most specifically in ABC dramas LOST and Fringe.

Although very few American consumers are aware of this host of fictional companies that spans across various forms of media, those that are aware can look on the existence of such made-up brands as proof that, although films, television shows, books, and other works of fiction are separated by any number of factors, they are all created by human being with similar ideas, ideals, and dreams.

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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