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Attn: Dunhill Experts

(33 posts)
  1. cacooper

    cacooper

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    Greetings all,

    In my never ending research of the film "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House", I came across this 1947 publicity photo on Ebay and immediately purchased it. The photo captures the scene where "Bill Cole" (Melvyn Douglas) is pilfering yet another pipeful of tobacco from his friend "Jim Blandings" (Cary Grant). It is an incredibly sharp photo and probably the best view of this scene in existence.

    I enlarged the tin of tobacco that Douglas is holding. It appears to me to possibly be a Dunhill "My Mixture", possibly #175. Or the number could be the price, about $19.00 in today's money. Unfortunately, the tax stamp is covering part of the label so it's hard to see, but the "ure" is visible, as is the beginning of possibly the M in "My".


    Do any of you Dunhill experts know if there is/was a My Mixture #175? I would love to solve this mystery.

    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

    CACooper

    Posted 5 years ago #
  2. dmcmtk

    dmcmtk

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    Well, I would say it is definitely a Dunhill tin. From the John Loring Pages.

    Dave
    Duke Street Irregular
    Posted 5 years ago #
  3. misterlowercase

    misterlowercase

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    Damn!
    Good work there,
    and it is an excellent resolution.

    Judging from the #10 that Dave provided an image for, I'd say indeed the Blandings tin would be #175, judging from the area of the # on the MM 10 tin, it's difficult to find many images of those old MM cutter tops.

    175 is not listed in the Loring index,
    http://loringpage.com/pipearticles/duntob2chart.htm
    but since it's a MM, then it would have been made for a specific patron, it would seem that each individuals blend would go in sequential order from the time it was created? I'm sure this info is still on hand because Dunhill kept meticulous records, for instance, we know that 965 was the personal blend of E.A. Baxter Esq., No. 27 was for Capt. Rogers, No. 10 was for B. Turner Esq., No. 288 was for W.R. Parker Esq. -- this info was listed in an old catalog,
    http://www.finepipes.com/gallery/dunhill-about-smoke.html
    the pic on p93 show a blank space to the left of the logo, alotted for # inscription, but the Loring example shows that perhaps it changed over the years?

    It would be really cool to discover whose blend was 175!
    Could it be Cary Grant's?
    Or Melvyn Douglas?
    Or maybe the producer?
    ---edit---scratch that, if it is actually 175, it would have been an early MM, in 1927 they were already up to #965...I don't really know if they did go in numerical order???? Or skipped around???

    Interesting stuff!

    thanks for posting and congrats on your find,
    btw is that the only available screenshot involving the tin?
    On the dvd could an alternate scene be paused to look for additional info?

    Posted 5 years ago #
  4. cacooper

    cacooper

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    I have the DVD and have reviewed that scene over and over. The film is not nearly as sharp as the photo and you can't see any detail. This is the only photo I've found of that scene to date. I'm always looking for Blandings memorabilia. The search is, like I said, never ending.

    From what I can tell so far, the tin is definitely Dunhill My Mixture. The 175 is most likely the price as Dunhill didn't have a #175 so far as we know. The area on the tin where the number would be is on the back side, and dammit, isn't visible. Confounded again!

    CACooper

    Posted 5 years ago #
  5. dmcmtk

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    Troy, great link to FPI, I never browsed through that Dunhill Catalog before!

    Dave

    Posted 5 years ago #
  6. dmcmtk

    dmcmtk

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    cacooper, try contacting Dunhill about MM175, an email can't hurt. I think what Troy said is relevant, It could have been made for a single patron.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  7. misterlowercase

    misterlowercase

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    Ah, yeah, FPI has some really good stuff there, not only the pipes which are most excellent of the highest order, but the info too, and that knife he has is one I've often contemplated getting...

    ...I did eventually go ahead and get the BriarBook Press edition of that catalog and I'm glad I did, the reprint is finely done and has additional info, and the 2nd edition has some full color pages too, it's really nice.

    I agree with Dave, wouldn't hurt to email and ask about #175, and explain that it's a question centered on MR.BBHDH, they may already know the info surrounding the film, perhaps they provided gratis props like is often the case with movies?

    If you do end up contacting them, let us know, hopefully they would respond, I think they might actually have a historian-type person on the staff who is well-familiar with such things?

    Al Pascia has an image of the old MM book, too bad it ain't on the right page for us!!!

    http://www.alpascia.com/moments/d/Dunhill-i24649.html

    ...kinda weird though, it looks like #55 was 3 parts 965 + 1 part 10, that would be quite a stout blend it seems, but in the Loring index it describes #55 as a very mild Scotch blend?

    It'd be damn interesting looking at that book!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  8. latbomber

    latbomber

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    Check out the double barrel pipe on page 37 of that Dunhill catalog. Sooo cool!

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    drew

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    The hookah that attatches to the dash of your car is interesting...

    Posted 5 years ago #
  10. misterlowercase

    misterlowercase

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    If it ain't 175,
    my second guess would be #10, which later became known as Cuban, I think?

    I say this because in the photo in that blank box on the left which is nearly invisible appears to be the faint outline of a 0,
    I don't have any fancy photoshop stuff, but perhaps if you turned it negative or supersaturated it or fiddled with the tint or something it might become more clear, if it is actually a 0 zero then chances are likely that it is #10 because that was a very popular blend...

    ...found another image of an old MM cutter-top:

    Also, about the MM book, I don't know what I'm talking about, I have no idea how to decipher it, that image turns out to be half of an image from the Balfour book and getting a better look, I just don't know how they've got it arranged, it seems strange, there's also another image of it in the book, but I couldn't discern enough of anything, sadly the text doesn't really expand too much into much detail about the tobacco...

    Posted 5 years ago #
  11. cacooper

    cacooper

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    Well, I sent an email to Alfred Dunhill along with the photos. Here is the text:

    Greetings,

    I'm Craig A. Cooper from the United States. I'm conducting a bit of historical research of the 1948 motion picture "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House" starring Cary Grant, Melvyn Douglas and Myrna Loy. Throughout the film, both Grant and Douglas smoke their pipes in virtually every scene, especially Douglas. I recently obtained a publicity still from a particular scene in which Douglas is filling his pipe from what appears to be a "My Mixture" tin. A #175 is written on the label (please see attached photos).

    My questions are:

    Did Dunhill offer a My Mixture #175, circa 1947-48?
    If so, what is the description of the blend?
    Did Cary Grant have a personal My Mixture on file with Dunhill, possibly at the Los Angeles store, perhaps #175?

    I really would love to solve this mystery which has vexed me and my fellow pipe enthusiasts for years. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.

    Best regards,

    Craig A. Cooper
    Parker, Colorado U.S.A.

    I'll keep you posted if they reply. Fingers crossed.

    CACooper

    Posted 5 years ago #
  12. cacooper

    cacooper

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    Fingers uncrossed. The email got bounced back as "undeliverable". Seems their email address, adpl@dunhill.com is dead. Long live the queen.

    The research continues...

    CACooper

    Posted 5 years ago #
  13. dmcmtk

    dmcmtk

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    Craig,

    After reading about your email coming back, and having the same thing happen to me as a test, I called Dunhill in NYC. The helpful gentleman of course informed me Dunhill had sold the tobacco business. He did give me an email address, and I copied and pasted your email (without the reference to photo attachments) and sent it. It went through, we'll see what happens.

    Dave

    Posted 5 years ago #
  14. misterlowercase

    misterlowercase

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    That'll be cool if they respond.

    I was wrong about #10, it was not Cuba,
    it was more like 965xtra
    http://www.tobaccoreviews.com/blend/2399/dunhill-my-mixture-no10

    I also misread the Loring tin because the seal stamp covers up the line of the border, when wrapped around the tin that blank square space would be like the others.

    I think more than likely that the 175 is a price, especially after looking at this 1949 RTDA Almanac,
    http://pipepages.com/49rtda8.htm
    I think $1.75 was the msrp?
    Note that it lists 3 blends, #10 amongst them, so it was indeed popular and in distribution.
    I think if the photo is manipulated to make that area stand out you'll see a partial 0 zero,
    and since #10 was an off-the-shelf blend, I'd reckon it'd be most likely.

    It's weird how these things go, Dunhill came out with the actor Alan Ladd's Mixture in 2000, but the blend was created in the 1940's, presumably it just went under whatever MM# was on the books up until that point?
    http://www.tobaccoreviews.com/blend/2237/dunhill-alan-ladds-mixture
    It does make one curious about what's in the vault, as far as all the specific personal MM blends, many famous people were Dunhill patrons. The Ladd MM does follow how the book lists them, apparently it was part #10, part Royal Yacht and part secret, a stout blend it seems.

    Maybe the mystery will remain, but it's been fun digging into it!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  15. foggymountain

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    lowercase: I had my own mixture. Don't remember the number, but it was 900 and something. It wasn't any good, so I never re-ordered. It was mixed in the 1950s, maybe 1957 or 58. If they were up to 965 in 1927, it seems that they used the numbers again or that they were recipes that were assigned to different customers.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  16. mso489

    mso489

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    It is kind of wonderful, in an existential sort of way, that foggy's Dunhill blend "wasn't any good,"
    the firm wears such a halo in the pipe world. I am interested in the compulsive pilfering of tobacco
    in the Cary Grant film. We had a slightly senior enlisted technician on my Navy minesweeper who
    chain smoked cigarettes entirely bummed from others. The pop psych folks would say he felt
    unloved and was trying to impel others to give him "gifts." I think he was just mean spirited.
    Happily, I have never smoked cigarettes so didn't fall prey.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  17. misterlowercase

    misterlowercase

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    foggy - wow, that's cool!
    ...and like mso, I appreciate your honesty. What was the process like? Did you just tell them what you liked and they mixed something together? I think maybe each shop had their own books with different numbers, but I'm not really sure...

    ...the Balfour book says that by the end of the century over 36,700 individual blends had been recorded in the Duke Street shop My Mixture Book, and I don't doubt it, pretty damn incredible ain't it!

    Loring talks a little about the MM's

    However, even from very early on most of those individual My Mixture recipes were somewhat less then ‘bespoke’ and more like a custom tailored ‘pre cut’ suit, that is rather then recorded in terms of raw ingredients, for the very great most part the Duke Street “My Mixture Book” records them as mixtures of existing blends, e.g. “2x127 2x128”, or “2x965 1x77 1x27” or as variants of existing blends, e.g. “3x144 1xLat[akia]” with an occasional extra touch, e.g. “cut short & dry”.

    ...and he provides a great little snippet interview of Alfred Dunhill likening his MM's to "prescriptions", I really like that!

    “The senses of taste and smell are distinct senses in each separate person …. It is impossible for a ready-made mixture to exactly suit the individual senses of taste and smell. Consequently the only method available is the scientific method whereby the tone of the sense of taste, and the quality of the sense of smell, is accurately determined and assured …. No method avails save that of individual test …. by personal interview.

    “(The shop) is not in any way like the ordinary tobacco shop.

    “’A particular mixture cannot be expected to suit the tastes of all and sundry, any more than one medical prescription can be efficacious in all diseases. I (Alfred Dunhill) therefore make it my business here to prescribe (if I may be allowed to use such a term with reference to tobacco) a special mixture to suit each individual customer. If my first attempt does not quite attain the ideal, I alter the proportions of the mixture until absolute success is achieved.’

    “A few skilful questions from Mr. Dunhill soon enabled him to assort the tobaccos for the mixture I (a customer) longed for. Taking a bunch of the weed from one cell, a mere pinch from another, and so on, for the world like a chemist making up a prescription! Then a few rapid movements of the hands and the different tobaccos were uniformly blended and the mixture wrapped up. … In my case I must say that Mr. Dunhill hit the right thing first time. … The prescription was duly registered in a book and I was given its number.”
    1910 Dunhill About Smoke Catalog

    Posted 5 years ago #
  18. dmcmtk

    dmcmtk

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    Craig PM sent!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  19. rmbittner

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    dmcmtk:

    Dave:

    Yeah, the 5th Avenue Dunhill store in Manhattan hasn't sold tobacco for maybe six years or more. I visited one year in the mid 2000s, and they had stored a half-dozen cigar boxes, a small shelf of pipes, and some tinned blends in a poorly lit back room on the second floor. The next time I stopped in, even that was gone.

    Bob

    Posted 5 years ago #
  20. dmcmtk

    dmcmtk

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    I'm on the case, I received an email reply from Dunhill London today from the Alfred Dunhill Museum-Archive. I provided Craig with the contact details. Stay tuned!

    Dave

    Posted 5 years ago #
  21. misterlowercase

    misterlowercase

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    I'm tuned in.

    Any updates?

    Posted 4 years ago #
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    Anonymous

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    I had not seen this thread before... I'm quite curious as well. Very interesting read.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  23. beardedbassguy

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    Inquiring minds want to know!

    Posted 4 years ago #
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    jrtaster

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    Fascinating, just fascinating. Would like to learn what follows.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Posted 4 years ago #
  25. mikestanley

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    I don't know which mixture is being used in the movie but wasn't MM 10 London Blend? Either that or Nightcap but I believe Nightcap was MM 73.

    Mike S.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  26. mayfair70

    mayfair70

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    Bump

    Whatever happened with this mystery? Read Cary Grant's autobiography a couple weeks ago after reading this thread. Really liked the movie and even appreciated "Money Pit", the kinda re-make. Was anything resolved?

    The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made. -Groucho Marx
    Mouse-catcher on The Black Frigate
    Posted 3 years ago #
  27. stanlaurel

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    Wow! Thanks for pulling this thread forward. "Mr. Blandings" is an all time favorite of mine.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  28. tslex

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    What fun this is. Need to watch the movie again.

    There was some old B&W English detective thing on some weeks ago and the inspector smoked this one Dunhill bent bulldog through the entire movie (maybe a Group 3 size). I didn't solve the mystery becuase I was so fascinated looking at the pipe.

    (We are kind of an odd lot here, you know.)

    Posted 3 years ago #
  29. ssjones

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    How did we lose track of this one? What was Dunhills response?

    Al

    Posted 3 years ago #
  30. mayfair70

    mayfair70

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    Just for future reader reference.

    From the OP (cacooper):

    "As far as the search for Dunhill MM #175: Dead end. No one seems to know or I get no response from inquires. The search goes on."

    Posted 3 years ago #
  31. misterlowercase

    misterlowercase

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    Of no help here,
    but here's an interesting pic from the Balfour book...

    Posted 3 years ago #
  32. okiescout

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    You guys would make Mr Holmes proud.

    "Work as if you were to live a hundred years. Pray as if you were to die tomorrow."
    Benjamin Franklin
    Posted 3 years ago #
  33. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    On the off chance someone will see this and have some new input....

    I know that you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
    Posted 7 months ago #

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