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Yesterday in La Crosse

The last day for cigarette ads on U.S. TV, 49 years ago

Brad Williams



You could have heard the theme from “The Magnificent Seven” in ads for a certain cigarette on New Year’s Day of 1971.  But the next day, those regular ads would be banned from American TV and radio.  Months earlier, President Nixon had signed a law to ban those commercials as of January 2nd.  So, on that first day of the new year, you could still hear pitches for cigarettes during “The Partridge Family,” “Love American Style,” and the college bowl games, but the last ad on network TV aired during Johnny Carson that night.  You could still see cigar commercials for many years after that.   

The superintendent of schools in La Crescent had died.  William Stetzler Senior was 56, and had been named the first head of the village’s school system in 1964, building the first official high school in La Crescent.  

A new FM radio station signed on in La Crosse that January.  WLSU-FM was run by employees of the state university, but students made up most of the on-air staff.  Big hits on the radio early in the new year included George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord,” “Tears of a Clown” by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, and the Badfinger song “No Matter What.”  Pop music from 1971, yesterday in La Crosse. 

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