The Grammarphobia Blog

A Lucky Strike extra

Q: While dating my wife-to-be 14 years ago, I was introduced to a new phrase: “Lucky strike extra.” Her family used it for a bonus gift that’s given at Christmas along with the main gift. Can you tell me something about this phrase?

A: A “Lucky Strike extra,” something given as an unexpected bonus, got its name from Lucky Strike cigarettes, sponsor of “Your Hit Parade” on radio and television during the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s.

The show regularly played the top 10 or 15 songs then current (the number varied over the years). But it also threw in other notable tunes, often old favorites, that the producers felt deserved air time.

These songs were called “Lucky Strike extras” in a nod to the show’s sponsor.

Later, the phrase became a synonym for any kind of bonus or extra goodie, particularly in advertising when a star improvises an additional comment or two in delivering a commercial.

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