Chapter 3
Old Time Radio Programs

(Reefer Madness)

What follows is the museum's main index of Audio "Reefer Madness" Old Time Radio Programs that the museum has been able to physically locate and hear OR for which we have strong reason to believe that they contained a Reefer Madness theme.   Please do not fault us if this index listing is a bit on the short side.   In the words of David Goldin (speaking about OTR's in general):
"How many radio programs, of all the hundreds of thousands that were broadcast during the so-called "Golden Age" have been found to date?   What percentage of what was broadcast will ever be found?   The answers to both questions is, unfortunately, "not many" and "not much." . . . [and] I can predict that no matter the current or future total, it will represent only the smallest percentage of what was broadcast during the "Golden Age."
In other words, very few Old Time Radio programs were actually recorded and we should be thankful that we got what we got, especially given the state of recording technology back then.   According to James Smart of the Library of Congress: "Some of the chief obstacles to large-scale recording of programs in the 1920's and 1930's were the large and cumbersome equipment needed, the expense, and the storage problems by the recordings.   The record cutters, or lathes, used by networks handled sixteen-inch aluminum discs . . . each side of the record could hold a fifteen-minute broadcast.   Two lathes were necessary to make a continuous recording of a program running longer than [that]."

Which today is causing us no end of problems for students of the era.   Take for example the following program:
"The Lone Ranger - Broadcasted May 14, 1937 - Loco-Weed (a.k.a. medical marihuana) smugglers are using coffins and fake funerals.”
Great that that information could be located in an old magazine, but unfortunately, there are NO known audio recordings and it is believed that none was ever made.   In addition, one can almost cry, when one reads in an old newspaper that such and such a speaker will discuss the marihuana evil over such and such a radio station etc.   Now you just know, that they didn't make any recording of that speech.

Additionally, OTR (Old Time Radio) fans have also been frustrated by what one can only be termed, the ---“I’ve got a copy, It’s mine, and I don’t want to share it”--- syndrome.   An unfortunately very, very common practice among audio libraries.   For example: The L.O.C. (Library of Congress) has a lot of OTR programs, donated to it by various sources, but try obtain copies from them.   First, assuming that their is no copy-right, they want you to contact the actual donor or whoever donated the program and the first place and obtain written permission from them.   [Why I do not know, but it’s their rules].   Next, only their technicians are allowed to make copies ---aka, between $200 and $300 per recording.

Hey, this museum lives off of $5, $10 donations (that's a hint).   No way we will have money to spend on a ---maybe it is, maybe it’s not a Reefer Madness theme OTR program.   And unfortunately the L.O.C. is not alone in their reproduction polices.   [Yuck]   Which explains why we have so many MAYBES [but of which we have not physically heard], within our listings.

Please note that a lot of energy has been spent on creating the most complete Index listings of proven Reefer Madness theme OTR programs possible.   Granted a little anemic, but to the best of our knowledge, still the best one out there. - [Last update Feb 2010]
Alphabetical Order:

aka - Terry Regan, Attorney at Law
  • Title: "The Case of the Devil’s Own Brother" [Aug 23, 1938] - As seen in the Lima News - Lima, Ohio / The Atlantic Constitution -- Aug 23, 1938 p11 “Terry Regan, hard-hitting young lawyer, and his pretty wife, Sally, have the horrible effects of the marijuana evil brought home to them and get involved in a thrilling cleanup of the city as a result in “The Case of the Devil’s Own Brother” during the “Attorney at Law” broadcast over WEAF, Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. Regan, played by Henry Hunter, motion picture favorite, and Betty Winkler, as Sally, get involved in cleaning up a ring of desperate dope peddlers after the daughter of a friend is victimized by the criminals. Regan is made a special investigator by the district attorney and in a fast-moving drama comes to grips with the sinister underworld gang."
    "Radio Broadcast - "The Attorney at law story this evening concerns attorney terry Regan’s effort to clean up a narcotics ring after he and his wife see the effects o marijuana addiction upon the daughter of a friend. Betty Winkler and Henry Hunter are starred in the series." -- The Fresno Bee Aug 23, 1938 pg8A [Source: Newspaper notices]

  • Title: "unknown" [April 11, 1938] - "Radio Broadcast - April 11, 1938 - 9 O’Clock over WENR - The Story of how a young man committed murder while under the influence of marijuana will be told on “Behind Prison Bars” - as seen in the Appleton Post Crescent April 11, 1938 p5 Appleton Wisconsin

    Copy available @ Library of Congress (if you have the money to meet their ransom demands)
    Shelf no. RWA 3146 B3-4 [found @ Library of Congress]
    Title Behind prison walls
    Date Broadcast : 04/11/1938 Time 10:00 p.m. Medium Radio broadcast - Source NBC Blue network
    Performer(s) Warden Lewis E. Lawes. - Recording Note Duplicated from an NBC Blue network radio program broadcast of Apr. 11, 1938; 10:00 p.m.-10:30 p.m.
    Genre(s) Addresses--Radio - Name(s) Lawes, Lewis E.
    Physical Item RWA 3146 B3-4. 1 sound reel : 7.5ips, double-track ; 10-inch, 1/4-inch (polyester). Recording Laboratory 1982. Duration: 003000. Collection/Donor name: NBC Radio Collection.


  • Title: "TEENAGE DRUG SELLER" [Unknown Broadcast Date]- Pure Reefer Madness; must hearing.   It's all here, just about ALL the stereotypes, the street reefer peddler, the (Medical Marihuana caused) automobile accident, the mob etc.   Something about a newspaper reporter. [Source: Actual Program]

  • Title: "Smashing Dope Ring" [1938]- Episodes 1 and 2.   While trying to arrest a dope peddler selling medical marihuana cigarettes, Police Officer Dan Garrett [who is secretly the Blue Beetle] is machine gunned down etc. . . . The plot line pretty much follows the comic book story [see section on Comics].

    I don’t know if we can recommend this program for listening.   It only mentions Marihuana ONCE, and after the first few minutes drifts away from the subject.   However, by date and situation, it must be considered (at least by this museum) a Reefer Madness Program. [Source: Actual Program]

  • Title: "The Marijuana Bust" [Unknown Broadcast Date]- Pure Reefer Madness; must hearing.   Program #8 - The Border patrol is assigned to stop a Medical Marihuana Plant smuggling ring.   Show features young people driving under the influence of marihuana etc. [Source: Actual Program]

  • Title: "Kenny Perdue - Jazz musician" [Nov. 15, 1952] - 30 min. A jazz musician Kenny Perdue, has been murdered.   Medical Marihuana is in there somewhere. [Source: Actual Program]

  • Title: "The Boy’s Club" (a.k.a. Pablo Molari); [June 30, 1951] - 30 min - A Muggles (meaning Medical Marihuana) story!   The story starts with the murder of a boy named Pablo Molari.   (Hope you like gum shoe detective stories, this one is thick with it) something about a club whose members like to smokes Muggles. [Source: Actual Program]

  • Title: "Reefers By The Acre" [June 25, 1936] #135. 30 min The search by narcotics officials for "Mexican Jim," and his evil empire of the largest marijuana fields in the state of California. [Source: Actual Program]

  • Title: "Freedom From Bondage" [Feb 28, 1960] As seen in the Edwardsville Intelligencer - Feb. 26, 1960 -- Sunday Feb 28, 1960 “Freedom From Bondage" To Narcotics (Radio Program) -- Ad reads, “A former drug addict from Chicago tells how he broke away from marijuana, heroin, and other narcotics.   Through a spiritual understanding of God he gained complete freedom and an opportunity for a new life."
    "Radio Broadcast - A former drug addict from Chicago reports that he was able to break away from the use of marijuana, heroin and other narcotics through gaining a spiritual understanding of God.   He will tell how this was brought about through prayer in an interview on the Christian Science radio program over WROC, on 1180 kc, in Rochester, on Sunday at 9:15 a.m."   As seen in the Oswego (N.Y.) Palladium Times for - (Thursday Feb. 25, 1960 p20)

    JackWebb Due to the sheer numbers of programs, Dragnet causes a sort of small problem for this Index, some of the programs ARE 100% Reefer Madness, while others only contain nothing more then a brief mention.   Due more to logistical problems, we will list all anti-Medical marihuana references [Sources: Actual Programs]

  • Title: "BIG TOMATO" #85 - Jan 25, 1951 :30 min - "You’re a detective sergeant.   Your assigned to narcotics detail, A band of dope peddlers launches a full-scale operation in your city.   Their merchandise; “Marihuana,” their victims, High school students.   Your job - get them."   So begins the program.
  • Title: "The Big Seventeen" Sep 6, 1951 #117.   A small riot by teenagers at a movie theatre leads to the discovery of a marihuana and goof-ball ring.
  • Title: "THE BIG SET-UP" Mar 01,1955 30 min   Drugs Are Being Sold to Juveniles - Sick sick Sick -- But not recommended for listening.
  • Title: "THE BIG WISH" Aug 10,1954 30 min - JUVENILE Drug Ring Supplying Teens. - 17 year old boy starts off smoking Tea and moves on to Heroin.   Not really a reefer madness OTR.

  • Title: "The Chrome Yellow Death" [Unknown Broadcast Date] 30 min. The Collins (both Mr. and Ms.) take a trip to Argentina where they both quickly become involved in a fiendish murder plot. Apparently a plantation worker was growing Marihuana somewhere. [Source: Actual Program]

    Famous Jury Trials - [No known copies Exist]
  • Nov. 2, 1938 - #4 [TCOT] "Marijuana Youth" [Source: OTRRpedia]

  • Title: "Marijuana" Fighting Senator [radio program] - Programs in this series (C) Louis g. Cowan Inc., New York Program #5 Broadcast Aug. 19, 1946 - Marijuana, [written by] Arnold Perl (C) 1c 8-27-46 ; D unp. 4713. [Source = Library of Congress U.S. Copyright office - Catalog of Copyright Entries Part 1 -C] [Source: Catalog of Copyright Entries]

    FU MANCHU:      
  • Title: Andaman Second (Part 2)" [June 9, 1939] 15 min.   Episode #15 of a radio dramatization based on the Fu Manchu series of books written by Sax Rohmer.   It was first broadcast on June 9, 1939, this episode has also been titled "Hashish Switched With Sleeping Pills" and "Sleeping Pills".   Abstract: Dr. Fu Manchu, (an Chinese evil mad scientist) manages to secretly exchange West's sleeping pills with others made out of Hashish (a.k.a. medical marihuana).   And of course while under the influence of medical marihuana, West becomes an easy target and soon reveals to location of secret documents etc.   "The shadow of Fu Manchu" series has 40 episodes in all. [Source: Actual Program]

  • Title: The House of Hashish" [June 13, 1937]   This radio episode is taken (mostly) from the book "The hand of Fu Manchu"   The book has a lot of reefer madness references to it.   Note this program should not be confused with the "Shadow of Fu Manchu" which was produced in 1939. [Source: otr website]

  • Title: "The Marijuana Plot"   Syndicated Show from March 25, 1942 (some sources use a different date), originally made as a pilot program for a radio series.   Like the move “Reefer Madness” this episode begins with a warring; -- "Our story today concerns the Marihuana Evil, YOU KNOW the marihuana cigarette."   While it slows down toward the middle, the First 5 minutes are golden.   Who can forget the opening conversation between a marihuana addict and the local High School Janitor:
    Young Marihuana Addict --- “But I’ve got to have some reefers, I’ve just got to have them”
    High School Janitor --- “Sorry Kid, you want reefers, you’ve got to pay for them”
    [Technical Note] - According to Reefer Madness Lore, it was always the High School Janitor. Perhaps the following, taken from the Sept 1937 issue of the International Medical Digest best describes the stereo type:
    “A typical way of introducing this weed to a group of young people is generally brought about in the following manner: One of them may encounter one of these peddlers, or as discovered in one Midwestern city, a school janitor was the distributor of the cigarettes for a group of peddlers on the outside. The youngster is told of the indescribable thrill resulting from a few puffs of these homemade cigarettes. He is usually told that it is "something different and causes no harm," but is a "real kick." He whispers this around to his closer friends and he is delegated to procure one or more of the cigarettes.”
  • Title "Marijuana In Camera Case" 1958 - 26 min long CBS An anonymous tip, leads to marijuana that is found in the Camera case of a young boy. But, as it turns out the boy's father is none other than "Nick the Greek" a wealthy Greek tycoon.

  • Title: "Narcotics Smuggler" [Unknown Broadcast Date] 15 min.   It's kind of funny, Special agent M (a special agent for K-7) and a girl reporter try to brake a narcotics peddling ring.   A ring that is selling "special cigarettes."   Note, that the words like Tea, special cigarettes, narcotics, drugs (and even white power) are used, but not "Maria-Juana." [Source: Actual Program]

    THE LONE RANGER:   [WANTED -- No known copies exist]
  • Jan 09, 1935 #303 When a young man gets mixed up with dope smugglers the Lone Ranger helps him capture the smugglers and put himself in the clear
  • June 24, 1936 #531 A fat man is discovered to be a loco-weed smuggler, when the Lone Ranger shows him a quick way to reduce.
  • May 14, 1937 #670 The Lone Ranger sees a funeral procession in which there are no woman mourners, and finds that outlaws smuggle loco-weed across the border in a coffin.

    Marihuana "MARIJUANA" [June 26, 1945]- 30 min   The program plot line is based on the pulp novel story by Cornell Woolrich.   HOWEVER -- According to David Goldin (the only one I know who has actually heard the program); Other then the TITLE name, no mention of Medical Marihuana is made.   Alcohol seems to have been substituted.   We (this museum) still want to hear the program for ourselves.

    nighmare Title: "Narcotics -- first show of the series" [Sep 13, 1951] 30 min.   Must hearing, it begins with a howling wolf like sound made by a Medical Marihuana addict (new Orleans) while under the influence of Medical Marihuana.   The program also contains the voices of Harry Anslinger (Hey he was a pretty good speaker, powerful voice, etc.), and also the voice of Dr. Victor Vogel, a well known reefer madness case.   Bill Downs Moderator. [Source: Actual Program] - Andy Warhol Record Cover
    [July 19, 1951 pB13]  “Thursday’s Area Radio Programs” - WTOP 8:30 Premiere of “The Nation’s Nightmare,” series of six broadcasts dealing with crime.   The first story, “The Narcotic Evil” includes tape recordings of a purchase of heroin on a Chicago Street made with concealed microphones, the screams of a crazed marijuana victim, testimony of addicts’ familes and reports from Government officials.   Bill Downs narrates.
  • Title: "Non-Titled" [June 18, 1954] 30 min long CBS net. Actual police cases - typed live as they happened. One of the cases is about a woman who was given a medical marihuana cigarette. [Source: Actual Program]
  • Title: "Non-Titled" [July 10, 1954] Original Broadcast date 30 min long CBS net. Actual police cases - typed live as they happened. One of the stories deals with a medical marihuana leaf that is found in a coat jacket pocket that was taken to a dry cleaner. [Source: Actual Program]
  • Title: "Non-Titled" [Nov 11, 1954] 30 min long - A juvenile High on Medical Marihuana is going verserk. [Source: Actual Program]
  • Title: "Non-Titled" [WANTED] [Mar 3, 1955] 30 min - As seen in the Washington Post - Radio Highlights -- 8:30 p.m. - WTOP. Night Watch: Detective Sergt. Ron Perkins and reporter Don Reed Trail a suspected marijuana peddler until they catch him making a sale to teen-agers. [Source: Washington Post (Newspaper) Mar 3, 1955 p34]


  • Title: "Unknown Title" [April 30, 1950] 15 min [WANTED]
    Portland Press Herald - Portland, Maine - Radio “Perry Mason - Kay Clements, having witnessed the actual sale of a box of marijuana cigarettes, becomes involved in the secret plot.   Listen to the outcome on tide’s exciting drama. [Source: Portland Press Herald - April 30, 1950 pB6]
  • Title: "On the trail of Marijuana" [June 13, 1950] 15 min   [title 1] On the trail of marijuana.  [title 2] Raid On A Den Of Marijuana.   [title 3] Mr. X., John Larkin, Erle Stanley Gardner (creator). [Source: Actual Program]

  • "TEENAGE DRUG SELLER" [Unknown Broadcast Date]- 15 min   #2 A Judge orders a group of teen-agers caught smoking marijuana to attend Sunday School for a year!

  • Title: "Marijuana as A Health Hazard" copy at BALL STATE University Library IBS
    Author(s): O'Carroll, Patrick P. Conf Author(s): Seminar in Health Science; (1968 ; Ball State University, Muncie, Ind.) Year: 1968 Description: 2 sound tape reels (58 min.) :; analog, 3 3/4 ips, 1 track ;; 7 in. Note(s): Plastic; single track./ Address at the Seminar in Health Science entitled Drug dependence and abuse : an interdisciplinary approach, held at Ball State University, Muncie, Ind., July 29-Aug. 9, 1968./ Recorded Aug. 2, 1968. Material Type: Non-musical recording (nsr); Reel-to-reel tape (rtr) [Source: OCLC 28284605 Interloan Library System ]

  • Title: "Marijuana Smugglers" [Unknown Broadcast Date]- (A.K.A. - Trouble Over the Border) 1953 - Syndicated. Participating sponsors. Chuck Morgan and Carol Curtis (his secretary at fictitious Radio station KOP in Los Angeles) Glenn Langan, Adele Jergens [Source: Actual Program]

  • Title: "Melody In Dreams" [Dec 29, 1952] 30 min - Dec. 29, 1952 30 min long CBS net. A father turns in his own daughter in for medical marihuana possession. The character in the radio play would do the drug police proud. Recommended lessening. [Source: Actual Program]
  • Title: "The Truth About Jerry Baxter" June 14, 1951 CBS A teenaged drug dealer is paroled but soon finds himself in trouble. Gregory Peck appears as an investigator of juvenile narcotics-and its evils. Note medical marihuana is only mentions a few times, but in a very negative light. -- A great Episode with Gregory Peck who is a investigator of juvenile narcotics-it's a great story about juvenile 'drug peddling' - at the very end the script finally mentions catching a "girl with marijuana and wondering when it would all end". [Source: Actual Program]

  • Title: "Wild Crop" [Nov 18, 1951] 30 min - A marihuana addict and a jealous dope grower takes part in the beating death of a cowboy.   But the smell of marihuana gives police the clue needed to track the killers down. [Source: Actual Program]


    [Chicago Daily Defender - Feb 21, 1956 p20] - Marijuana Story on Radio Tonite”   The dark-haired beauty, “La Morena,” made quite a case for Mutual’s TREASURY AGENT.   How this beauteous damsel who trafficed in marijuana finally found badge-men who would not succumb to her wiles is detailed on the broadcast tonight (7 to 7:30) over Station WGN.  
    [Nothing else is known abou the program]

  • Title: "Shooting Gallery - Part 1" [Dec 26, 1951] 30 min Program #3. United Nations Radio origination.
    Corp Author(s): Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. ; Marr Sound Archives. Year: 1951 Description: 1 sound disc : analog, 33 1/3 rpm, mono. ; 16 in. Standard No: Publisher: 39,837; Abstract: A documentary about New York City dope addicts and what the United Nations is doing to help the addicts and cease the flow of narcotic drug traffic.
    Genre/Form: Documentary radio programs. Educational radio programs. Nonfiction radio programs. Radio specials. "File number 26554."/ Participants: Narrated by Gary Cooper; Jeff Sparks, U.N. reporter./ Recorded on Dec. 26, 1951 by United Nations Radio./ Funding: Cataloging project funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation presented to the UMKC University Libraries Marr Sound Archives
    Responsibility: Directed by Jeff Sparks; produced by Gerald Keane; music by Irving Szathmary. Material Type: Non-musical recording (nsr); LP recording (lps)
    Document Type: Sound Recording [Source: OCLC 317893296 InterLoan Library System]
  • Title: "Shooting gallery Part 2 "
    Author(s): Cooper, Gary,; 1901-1961. ; (Narrator) Sparks, Jeff. ; (Reporter)
    Corp Author(s): Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. ; Marr Sound Archives. Year: 1951 Description: 1 sound disc : analog, 33 1/3 rpm, mono. ; 16 in. Abstract: A documentary about New York City dope addicts and what the United Nations is doing to help the addicts and cease the flow of narcotic drug traffic.
    "File number 26554."/ Participants: Narrated by Gary Cooper; Jeff Sparks, U.N. reporter./ Recorded on Dec. 26, 1951 by United Nations Radio./ Funding: Cataloging project funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation presented to the UMKC University Libraries Marr Sound Archives Responsibility: Directed by Jeff Sparks; produced by Gerald Keane; music by Irving Szathmary. Material Type: Non-musical recording (nsr); LP recording (lps)
    Document Type: Sound Recording: [Source: OCLC 317893295 InterLoan Library System]

    WALTER WINCHELL - The Man on Broadway:   [WANTED]
  • Title: "none" As seen in the Syracuse Herald - Syracuse New York - "[Mar 27, 1940 p15] “Walter Winchell - The Man on Broadway” (about a Radio program) “New York, March 27-The Private Papers of a Cub Reporter; From the Freehold (N.J.) Transcript of march 22nd; “Who is the Dope Peddler? Reporter Walter Winchell seems to have pulled a fast one in his broadcast Sunday evening. He told a torrid take of police pinching a huge marihuana ring in Florida, and among the ring leaders was a so-called Freehold men. Local police and county detectives have not been apprised of the alleged man’s identity, nor did any reputable newspaper carry the story, as far as could be found out. Could it be possible that the redoubtable Winchell made that one up?” From the Asbury Park (N.J.) Evening Press of March 23rd; “Freehold Youth is Arrested in Miami in Marihuana Raid.” [Source: Newspaper Article]


  • Title: "TEA TIME FOR TEENAGERS" [July 8, 1951] 30 min - Great Plot!   The organized crime syndicate orders that no less than 200 high school students must be turned into Marihuana Addicts.   -- Must listening - This is the best Old Time Radio program I’ve heard so far.   -- (Philip Gualt had a strange speech impediment which caused him to speak in a whisper at all times.   A gifted surgeon performed an operation which not only allowed him to speak in a normal voice, but allowed him to revert back the `whisper' at will. The only person that knows about Gualt's double life is Ellen Morris, a nurse who assisted in the operation.) [Source: Actual Program]


    KACE Editorial Page, as aired on KACE Riverside (California). "Declare War on Mexico" regarding increased marijuana use among nation's young. -- Larry Mathis. "Library of American Broadcasting," University of Maryland

    June 30, 1951 - CBS/WTOP Narcotics documentary (Governmental Hearings)- "Library of American Broadcasting," University of Maryland -- Lots of I've started on Marihuana type of stories. Only the first 7 ˝ minutes of the total program.


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