In Brief

A New Film Studio Aims to Replace On-Screen Cigarettes with Kazoos

In an effort to raise awareness of the dangers of tobacco use, Cignature Films releases the pilot episode of Mad Men featuring kazoos instead of cigarettes.

<em>Mad Men</em> with kazoos (all images courtesy Cignature Films)
Mad Men with kazoos (all images courtesy Cignature Films)

Imagine Mad Men — but instead of the ubiquitous cigarettes, picture kazoos. As bizarre as that seems, that’s exactly what Cignature Films plans to do with the television series, which originally aired back in 2007. Cignature Films is the latest project of MSCHF Internet Studios, which, as they say on their website, “create[s] internet for the internet.” MSCHF is the creator of Times Newer Roman and a number of other online ventures.

<em>Fight Club</em>
Fight Club

Cignature Films dubs itself “a new production studio with a single goal: to completely remove smoking in Hollywood movies and television.” To do so, they plan to take major films and TV episodes and replace each featured cigarette with a kazoo. Their mission begins with Mad Men. In the show’s first episode, titled “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” — which is, ironically, about advertising cigarettes — Don Draper and the rest of the iconic characters are frequently seen with cigarettes in hand.

“In an effort to better the world around us,” Cignature Films states in their press release, “the studio will obtain films and TV episodes which feature significant tobacco use, replace each cigarette with a harmless kazoo and then re-release them to the public.”

<em>Stranger Things</em>
Stranger Things

Other titles Cignature plans to transform are Stranger Things, Fight Club, and The Godfather, says Daniel Greenberg, a member of the MSCHF team. The first episode of Mad Men with kazoos aired on the Cignature website here, and they plan to eventually convert the entire series and stream it on their site.

“We just want people (especially adolescents) to know how smoking in media affects the world,” said Greenberg in an email to Hyperallergic. “If a film studio sees this, and it makes them want to remove cigarettes from their projects, that would be amazing.”

<em>The Godfather</em>
The Godfather

The Center for Disease Control has found a resurgence in on-screen tobacco use in recent years, and Cignature Films hopes that this project will raise awareness, causing film studios to think twice before featuring a cigarette. Whether this project will actually make a difference is unclear, since cigarette use has been a staple of Hollywood films for years. But it at least makes for some funny visual imagery, making iconic figures like Michael Corleone appear more silly than threatening. For now, stream the kazoo-filled Mad Men episode on Cignature Films’s website, kazoo sounds and all.

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