Television: The Selling Point

It is time for the TV commercial. Two people appear, standing casually in their kitchen, drinking coffee and making talk so small that it might as well be inaudible. The dialogue doesn't matter, however. The two people are Lauren Bacall and Jason Robards Jr. The coffee is Instant Maxwell House. And those are the elements that Maxwell House wants you to notice. In gratitude, Maxwell House has paid Mr. and Mrs. Robards $200,000 for the two days of work involved.

Other stars, hearing this, scarcely look up. They are too busy making...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!