National wanted an ad, but didn't want to spring for too much color. You got a red that reminds people of ham? Okay, use that.

Are we supposed to think that the fellows on the right are having an amusing side conversation about the ham? Mr. Second-from-the-right looks like he's finishing up something he read in Playboy's Party Jokes.

As for semi-hammered Van Heflin on the left: Just try to imagine a ham ad today that has a middle-aged man in a party hat and a skinny tie, holding a cigarette.

It's a merry scene, but at some point hats became optional when the ham was presented, and I think we're all glad that happened.