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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Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.

When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try-out, or audition, to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples to oranges comparison.

At a basketball try-out, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential cast member will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little pay-off for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

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10 Shows To Watch If You're Sick Of 'The Office'

You can only watch it so many times...


"The Office" is a great show, and is super easy to binge watch over and over again! But if you're like me and you're looking for something new to binge, why not give some of these a try? These comedies (or unintentional comedies) are a great way to branch out and watch something new.

1. "New Girl"

A show about a group of friends living in an apartment in a big city? Sound familiar? But seriously, this show is original and fresh, and Nick Miller is an icon.

2. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Ya'll have been sleeping on this show. It's a musical comedy about a girl that follows her ex boyfriend across the country. I thought it sounded horrible so I put it off for WAY too long, but then I realized how incredible the cast, music, writing, and just EVERYTHING. It really brings important issues to light, and I can't say too much without spoiling it. Rachel Bloom (the creator of the show) is a woman ahead of her time.

3. "Jane the Virgin"

I know... another CW show. But both are so incredible! Jane The Virgin is a tongue-in-cheek comedy and parody of telenovelas. It has so many twists and turns, but somehow you find yourself laughing with the family.

4. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"


Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been in popular news lately since its cancellation by Fox and sequential pickup by NBC. It's an amazing show about cops in, you guessed it, Brooklyn. Created by the amazing Michael Schur, it's a safe bet that if you loved "The Office" you'll also love his series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine".

5. "The Good Place"

Another series created by the talented Micael Schur, it's safe to say you've probably already heard about this fantasy-comedy series. With a wonderful cast and writing that will keep you on your toes, the show is another safe bet.

6. "Fresh Off The Boat"

Seriously, I don't know why more people don't watch this show. "Fresh Off The Boat" focuses on an Asian family living in Orlando in the mid 90s. Randall Parks plays a character who is the polar opposite of his character in "The Interview" (Yeah, remember that horrifying movie?) and Constance Wu is wonderful as always.

7. "Full House"

Why not go back to the basics? If you're looking for a nostalgic comedy, go back all the way to the early days of Full House. If you're a '98-'00 baby like me, you probably grew up watching the Tanner family on Nick at Night. The entire series is available on Hulu, so if all else fails just watch Uncle Jesse and Rebecca fall in love again or Michelle fall off a horse and somehow lose her memory.

8. "Secret Life of the American Teenager"

Okay, this show is not a comedy, but I have never laughed so hard in my life. It's off Netflix but it's still on Hulu, so you can watch this masterpiece there. Watch the terrible acting and nonsense plot twists drive this show into the ground. Somehow everyone in this school dates each other? And also has a baby? You just have to watch. It might be my favorite show of all time.

9. "Scrubs"

Another old show that is worth watching. If you ignore the last season, Scrubs is a worthwhile medical comedy about doctors in both their personal and medical life. JD and Turk's relationship is one to be jealous of, and one hilarious to watch. Emotional at times, this medical drama is superior to any medical drama that's out now.

10. "Superstore"

I was resistant to watch this one at first, because it looked cheesy. But once I started watching I loved it! The show is a workplace comedy, one you're sure to love if you can relate to working in retail. If you liked the Office, you'll like Superstore!

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