AND THE COMING OF THE
ANTI-MEDICAL MARIHUANA LAWS
1938 / 1941 - THE YEARS OF CHANGE
When exactly did the Federal Government pull the plug on the Reefer Madness campaign?
Here there is much debate with some claiming it occurred shortly after the passage of the Marihuana Tax Act (Oct. 1937), while others saying that NO; -- the campaign (as orchestrated by the Bureau of Narcotics) went on until the beginning for the Second World War. But be that as it may, one thing is certain, at some point in between those two dates, Anslinger pulled the plug and the Bureau STOPPED all assistance to film makers wishing to make sensational films about the subject.
Why did the bureau STOP? The answer is obvious, now with the anti-Medical Marihuana laws in place, it was time to cover things up a bit. Give everyone a chance to forget exactly how those laws got on the book in the first place. Thus it served no purpose to go around helping to create even more sensational films.
In addition, America’s entry into the second world war marked yet another turning point in the history of narcotics. And for a good reason: The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor forced America’s entree into the Second World War. And with the war (after the fall of the Philippines) came a need to restart growing Industrial Hemp in this country yet again. Much has been said about this subject elsewhere, here it is enough to state that even members of the 4-H’s (an agricultural youth organization) were now being encouraged to grow Industrial Hemp for the war effort. THUS the Reefer Madness Campaign, by hook or by crook, had to be put on hold, at least for a while anyway.
Thus Anslinger was not only NOT HELPING, but he was now obstructing. But here even Anslinger (the evil genius that he was) was dumbfounded by an unexpected factor. It seems that the war (among other things) created a great Porno shortage within the film industry. Yeah, you hear right, P-O-R-N-O shortage. It appears that everyone in Hollywood was busy either in the war itself or making pictures about heroic war heroes or something like that, and there was no time left over to make any other kind of movies. This forced (those kind of theaters) to recycle older movies and what better material to use then those old Reefer Madness movies.
WARNING: For the most part we have NOT actually seen the films mentioned below and are relying on the words of others. Thus some of these movies, newsreels etc., may NOT EVEN have any reefer madness content associated with them. In addition (as in other cases) no pretense is made that this listing is in any way complete. In fact it should be seen solely as a starting point for scholars of the era.
[Possible Reefer Madness Film]
1940 - SMOKE DREAMS
1940- Film Society Award Given to Youngson for "Smoke Dreams"
Article in “The Harvard Crimson” - Published On Wednesday, May 29, 1940
“ Winner of the spring competition of the Harvard Film Society is Robert G. Youngson 1GB, it was announced yesterday.
Youngson received a prize of $50 for his film entitled "Smoke Dreams," adjudged the best amateur 16 millimeter film submitted. Bruce L. Greiner, of the Law School, was runner-up with a four-reel color film dealing with a lumber camp.
The winning film depicts a girl seated before a triangular mirror lighting a cigarette which later turns out to be marihuana. She is then transported to a country of changing landscapes and dream sequences.
For the best essay dealing with any phase of the motion picture industry, Robert G. Nassau '42 was awarded a prize of $25. “
1942 - THE DEVIL'S HARVEST
THE DEVIL'S HARVEST
Oliver sells marihuana and hot dogs to high school students from his stand across the street from the local high school. Feeling guilty over the marihuana sales (but not the hot dogs), Oliver tells Sam, a henchman of gang lord Larry McGuire, of his intention to quit the marihuana dealing.
Meanwhile, naïve student Kay is asked to dance at a new night club run by Cliff, one of the gangsters.
Tom, Kay's high school sweetheart, is aghast at this prospect, and meets her at the nightclub to protect her "innocence." Etc., etc., -- One of the lesser known marihuana exploitative films, and certainly not one of the best.
The Movie Poster however is one of the best.
1943 - YOUTH IN CRISIS
YOUTH IN CRISIS
According to Time Magazine (Nov 15, 1943 pp94) - [Cinema] -- Youth in Crisis - Deals more with the cause and extent of the problem than with the cure. The film shows the lack of emotional security in homes robbed of their parents by the war plants and rocked by the immeasurable restiveness created by war itself. Babies wake screaming in siren-haunted blackouts. Boys just below draft age go on alcohol, marijuana and obscene-book jags. Shrug off the discipline of parents who earn no more than they do. Mothers find it next to impossible to ad Origin of Youth in Crisis: MOT's distributors (10th Century-Fox), needled by distressed exhibitors, asked whether anything might be done on the screen to discourage juvenile vandalism in movie theaters of some 150 social agencies consulted only three doubled the advisability of making the film. Vise teen-age daughters who, erotically, are almost as experienced as Mothers.
1949 - WILD WEED
aka: THE DEVIL’S WEED
aka: SHE SHOULDA SAID NO
This film follows the exploits of Captain Hayes and the LAPD Narcs as they battle the evil menace of marihuana. Markey, an infamous "dope dealer," sells marihuana cigarettes to some teens, who promptly go out and get into a car accident, killing one and demolishing the legs of another. . . . . . Note: This film's working title was The Devil's Weed. The film was exhibited in certain areas under his title. The closing titles include the following written statement: "No one seeing this film could be easily tempted to so-wreck their mind and body. But millions won't see it. To enlighten them-is your job."
1950 - BORDERLINE
This has to be one of the first undercover narcotic agent movies. Two undercover agents, including Johnny Macklin (Fred MacMurray) infiltrate a marijuana smuggling ring in Mexico. Source Marijuana in the Movies. --- Borderline. 1950. While they don't know it, both Fred Macmurray and Claire Trevor are government agents after drug smugglers. They nearly turn each other in before discovering their mistakes. AT the time, MacMurray was something of a major leading man (he was the model for the original "Captain Marvel") before becoming a Disney stalwart and father on My Three Sons in the 1960s. This film co-starred Raymond Burr
MUSEUM COMMENT Don't let the fact that Fred MacMurray is the led man fool you. Before he became the father in the TV program, My Three Son's, McMurray was known as an action figure. Sort of the James Bond of his day, and Reefers are 100 percent in this movie.
[Possible Reefer Madness Film]
1950 - FEDERAL MAN
William Henry and Pamela Blake in story of a narcotics agent who travels to Mexico to break up a drug smuggling ring after they kill another agent. While a familiar set-up, this movie was noted for touches of realism including showing real techniques of drug agents
MUSEUM COMMENT Once more; --- No one has actually seen the movie, but the theme seems about right.
WANT TO KNOW MORE:
Due to space / download time considerations, only selected materials are displayed. If you would like to obtain more information, feel free to contact the museum. All our material is available (at cost) on CD-Rom format. Please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org