The Winston Churchill's Britain At War Experience, in South-East London, confessed to being astonished to discover that the image may have been doctored...I'm a nonsmoking ex-smoker, and I'm frankly tired of this kind of manipulation of history for the sake of modern political correctness. The United States did the same thing when they honored Bette Davis on a postage stamp, using an image with a deleted cigarette:
So just who did pinch the great man's Havana?
It wasn't the anti-smoking lobby, which has had no known contact with the museum; it certainly wasn't Churchill's family - his grandson Nicholas Soames said 'it doesn't matter one way or the other'; and it wasn't the museum itself - in fact it's got wartime posters advertising cigarettes on the walls.
But intriguingly the museum, which gives all profits to charity, declined to name who put together the display and, crucially, who enlarged the image for the poster.
Museum manager John Welsh was astonished to be told the image was missing one vital ingredient.
Depriving Bette Davis of her cigarette reminds me of Soviet revisionism, when disgraced party officials disappeared from official photographs. Might as well strip away the toupees of Fred Astaire and Jimmy Stewart...
...Movies can't rewrite reality. The MPAA cautiously mentions smoking in their descriptions of movie ratings (even if it's the Cheshire Cat and his hookah). If, by the time you're old enough to sit through a movie, you haven't heard that smoking is bad for you, you don't need a movie rating, you need a foster home.