DOWN BEAT MAGAZINE
TEA SCANDAL STIRS MUSICDOM - Jan 15, 1943 p1
TWO MUSICIAN SOLDIERS CAUGHT IN FEDERAL TRAP
Ex-Guitar Player's Florida Interlude Exposes Nasty Mess
(The editors of Down Beat don't like to print this story. We've killed several like it in previous months, believing that they could cause only harm and aid no one. Parts of this story, which we previously suppressed, we were not only given permission to use by the Army, but unofficially requested to do so. The facts, obtained from unimpeachable sources, are given below for reasons you will find on our editorial page.)
By MIKE LEVIN
NEW YORK.-Two weeks ago, the country's newspapers broke one of the nastiest scandals that has involved musicdom in some time. Press associations all over the country carried a story that said in part:
"A 'reefer parlor' in a New York entertainer's midtown hotel room, where soldiers from nearby camps have been smoking marijuana cigarettes, was exposed yesterday by U. S. Attorney Hollinger.
"This came as a sequel to the recent escapade of author Ursula Parrott, charged with spiriting a soldier from a Miami guardhouse to be her companion for an evening. Hollinger intimated that before the investigation is finished, it may involve dozens of well-known entertainers and musicians.
"Miss Parrott's friend, Pvt. Michael Bryan, formerly guitarist in Benny Goodman's orchestra; Pvt. John Altwerger, bandsman at Camp Kilmer (N. J.); Theodore Reig, alias Teddy Reede, a nightclub master of ceremonies; Thomas Allison, an entertainer, and Rose Reynolds, another entertainer whose hotel room allegedly was the 'reefer parlor,' were charged with conspiring to violate the 1937 marijuana tax law. All except Altwerger also were charged with illegal sale or possession of marijuana. Miss Parrott was not named a defendant, though Hollinger said she will be an important witness."
This is part of the story that caused near panic in some music [modulate to Page 3] [Jumped from Page 1] circles in NYC. Rather than have vicious rumors circulate unchecked, and for further reasons to be found in our editorial, the full story of what actually happened is printed here.
Both in BG band
Last year Pvt. Byran and Pvt. Altwerger (whose professional name is Georgie Auid) were working in Benny Goodman's band. There was trouble at that time, Bryan and Auid claiming they quit because Goodman was a bad guy, BG staring that he had fired them for "constant gross misbehavior."
At any rate, Auid went on with his musical activities, while Bryan later went to the coast, joining the Santa Ana Air Corps band. After a short time there, he was transferred to an Arizona camp, being dismissed from the band, along with two other well known musician, with the preferred charged mentioning the use of marijuana. Around the same time, Bryan was found playing with a civilian band in civvies. Later when he was stationed in Arizona he got into further trouble for being AWOL, he being at the Trianon at the time to hear a famous colored band.
Meets Ursula's Friend
Shortly after this Bryan was transferred to Miami, where his real troubles started. While there he met 40-year-old Ursula Parrott, four-times-married fiction writer, who, according to acquaintances, "was infatuated with Bryan." She provided him with a ticket, and late in November, Bryan flew from Miami to New York, staying at a suite which she allegedly got for him in the Pennsylvania Hotel, after a civilian outfit had been purchased for him.
During this time, Miss Parrott introduced Bryan to a friend of hers, saying that she had known him a long while. This "friend" later turned out to be Roy Anderson, agent of the federal narcotic bureau.
During this time Bryan told several persons, including a friend of his, Rose Reynolds, a singer who closed at a 52nd St. night club two weeks ago, that he was very brought do down, and that he wanted to get hold of some "tea" to take back down to Miami with him. Miss Reynolds, trying to do Bryan a favor, went to several places in town, along with Anderson and Miss Parrott, attempting to purchase some of the drug in loose weed state, but was unable to obtain any.
Raised the Price
Bumping into Auld in the Forrest lobby, she asked him if he had any ideas as to where any might be purchased, 4nd they both decided to try Teddy Reig, a mutual friend who had been around the business for years and knew everyone connected with it. Reig didn't want to do it, but was finally persuaded, with the additional proviso that he raise the price to Miss Parrott $25 so that Auld, who was broke, could purchase a gift for a friend.
Reig went upstairs to Miss Reynolds' room in the Forrest, where in the presence of Miss Reynolds, Anderson, Miss.Parrott, and Bryan, he called a friend of his, named Pork Chops, uptown and arranged to purchase a half pound of marijuana for $75, adequate for several hundred cigarettes. Reig then left for uptown with the money and cabfare, and returned, giving the $25 on the q.t. to Auld and the half pound to Anderson. Bryan in the meantime had left, having to catch his plane for Miami. So the "tea" was split, half the amount being given to Anderson who "happened" to be going to Floirda(sic) on business, and the other half being kept for Bryan. Reig made no profit, merely obliging Misss Reynolds and Bryan.
Bryan Comes Back
When Anderson arrived in Florida, Bryan was already on his way back to New York by plane. This time he let it be known that he wanted enough to last him in Florida and also if he should be transferred to Camp Kilmer. It was agreed that a full pound would be needed ($100 worth). Once more Reig climbed in a taxi, and hunted around, this time not without protest from Anderson, who claimed that the last amount had been short-weight and that $100 was a lot to pay. The pound was purchased from a character named Zombi, and was split, a quarter of a pound being kept by Miss Reynolds for Bryan, Anderson purchasing a quarter pound from Bryan, and Bryan taking a half pound with him on the plane to Florida.
While Bryan was on the plane, Anderson began making arrests in New York, and the guitarist received a wire in Atlanta telling him to get rid of "the stuff he was carrying in his phonograph" (a $200 portable which had just been purchased for him). Bryan evidently did this at the next stop, because when he arrived at Miami and was searched, there was nothing incriminating in his possession.
Case Breaks in Florida
"What broke the case to the newspapers generally were the incidents that followed. Confined to the stockade for 20 days for being AWOL, Bryan was visited by Miss Parrott, who had flown down in the meantime. For some unknown reason, she concealed Bryan in the back of her car, drove him to her 88th St. Miami home, where she gave him civilian clothes, and then took him to a hotel, only to turn him over to the authorities 24 hours later."
Auld meanwhile had returned to his post at Camp Kilmer where he had been put on post probation for taking part in a scuffle in which several people were injured at the 2 O'Clock Club in New York, later closed by the police. News of this was suppressed at army request, fearing that since it involved several service men in a rather nasty offense, might prove of harm to Camp Kilmer's relations with the town of New Brunswick.
Civil Action on Two
At press-time, both Auld and Bryan are being turned over to the civil authorities for their action, while Reynolds, Reig, and Tom Allison are all out on $500 bail, pending grand jury action and the return of bills of complaint. Allison was not directly involved in the action, but was picked up when Reig came to his room to get his overcoat and operatives found sticks of "tea" on his dresser. He played trumpet just recently with a Hotel Lincoin dance band, quitting because of lack of an No. 802 card, Miss Parrott is out on $1,000 bail for her alleged action in aiding Bryan to desert.
Robert Artis, district superintendent of the narcotic bureau, is quoted as saying "quite a number of soldiers went to Miss Reynolds' room"; however she pointed out that when friends of hers used her room, absolutely nothing untoward occurred ocurred as far as she knows.
Auld, unlike the others, is charged only once, since at no time did he have anything directly to do with the purchase of the marijuana, but merely knew of the action and participated by utilizing the extra $25.
Editorial - Jan. 15, 1943 - p10
TEA AND TRUMPETS ARE BAD MIXTURE! - Mike Levin editor
This is one of the sorriest messes that we've seen. Immediately after the story broke originally, the BEAT'S N. Y. office was deluged with requests for information, both from press sources and from Individuals. At first our attitude was "we don't know a thing"; but when the big news weeklies began checking, with intentions of running a story that would be injurious to the whole business, we started thinking. And when one of the leaders concerned called up in a panic lest his band be ruined by adverse publicity as being a bunch of "tea-hounds", we knew some action was in order. Finally two weeks ago we received a tip that one of the big p.m. dailies had cornered a letter from a Florida musician, saying what a ball the band was going to have when Bryan arrived with the tea---also that that same paper, not widely known for its ethics, was going to spray the whole music business on its front pages with as much dirt as could be possible found.
Don't Let Scandal Mongers Blacken Our Business!
Newspapers may need "scandal" for circulation, but there is no reason to pick on the music business. Bryan it is true has been proven to be a totally hapless character. We are sorry for him----but now there is little or nothing we or anybody else can do for him. But we are determined to see that our business isn't blackened by a bunch of scandal mongers and sensation-seekers.
We know that there are musicians who smoke tea. We also know that there is only an extremely minute number who do it. We know that there is a select click that has been working in the top bands for years who do it, and we know that they are going to get it in the neck if they aren't careful. And if the business as a whole isn't careful, it is going to take a bad rap along with them.
Once more the old bogies are going to be floating around. "Musician" is going to be synonymous with "weed hound." The business neither deserve nor can stand a national campaign of this sort.
We printed this story because we were getting inquiries and reports from all over the country, indicating that the most fantastically untrue stories were circulating about people these men had known and bands they had played in.
Doing This Sort of Favors For Friends is Mad!
We are sincerely sorry for everyone in this mess. They are undoubtedly going to be severely punished, have been in fact already by the national publicity. Bryan is in too deep for any hope of amelioration. Auld was unfortunate. He merely thought he was "borrowing" some dough from a flighty woman, and suddenly found himself in the midst of a narcotic investigation.
Both Reig and Miss Reynolds are fools. Both say that they didn't mean anything criminal, merely acted as agents in getting the dope for Bryan, and were only trying to do a favor for a friend who was unhappy in the army.
We believe them when they say this. We also point out the completely amazing disregard much of the business has grown to have for laws of this sort. Auld, Reig, and Miss Reynolds couldn't see anything wrong as long as they didn't actually use the drug themselves---they have since learned differently.
Narcotics Bureau Has Low-down on all Tea-Hounds!
How about the young musicians too, who copy a Mike Bryan in all he does, even to smoking tea because they think it will make them better guitarists? Amazing as it may sound, there are musicians who will start using tea for lick better reason than this.
The whole situation is an ugly one, but it must be faced now and wiped out now, lest worse consequences set in.
The narcotic bureau has the names and facts concerning many of the musicians who use tea. They arenít as interested in jailing these men as they are in finding out the sources of supply and the selling agents. We can only suggest to anyone who uses the stuff: Stop it now, before you get yourself and your friends in a potful of trouble! We can only suggest to the AFM that it pass a ruling calling for instant expulsion of anyone caught using tea. This is drastic, but drastic steps must be taken within the business if it doesn't wish to have them taken in much stiffer form by someone else.
We can only hope that by making it clear that this case concerns a few individuals, and is not indicative of any large segment of the business, that a national press campaign against musicians in general, especially in the light of recent press attacks on Prexy Petrillo of the AFM, can be averted.
The rest is up to you. The story you have read is the whole truth. Don't believe any of the rumors you may hear about other hands and people in this case----we assure you they are untrue.
Above ill, it is up to you to see that a story like this doesn't break again, and that "teeing-up", done by no matter bow few band buffs, is willed out once and for all!
Government Busy on Tea - Feb 1, 1943 - p1
New York---The narcotic bureau here last week was holding two well-known leaders and questioning other music world figures in connection with its far-reaching investigation of the use of "tea" all over the country. It was known here that the recent investigation into the use of marijuana by several west coast army musicians was being probed further by the army in an effort to check sources of supply.
True bills of indictment have already been returned by a federal grand jury against Pvts. Mike Bryan and Georgie Avid, and also authoress Ursula Parrot (on different charges). Several others are still out on bail pending trial action.
Gene Krupa Takes Plea - May 1, 1943 - p1
San Francisco---Gen Krupa pleaded guilty in court here on April 19 to a charge of using his 17-year-old valet to transport marijuana from his hotel to his theater dressing room. He will be sentenced on May 10.
Prison Terms in Weed Case - May 15, 1943 p1
New York---Rose Reynolds and Teddy Reig were sentenced respectively to nine months and a year and a day in federal court here two weeks ago after guilty to a charge of violating narcotic laws.
George Auld, former band leader now in the army, also indicted on a narcotic charge, was given a suspended sentence.
Krupa Denies Plea of Guilt, Set for Trial - May 15, 1943 - p2
New York---Gene Krupa was expected to report to San Francisco on May 17 to stand trial on an indictment charging him with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, his former hand-boy. News dispatches from San Francisco recently to the effect that Krupa pleaded guilty to the charge were denied here by the drummer and his management.
The news item stirred up considerable trouble in the east for Krupa. Frank Dailey, owner of the Medowbrook where the Krupa band was working, went to the AFM in an attempt to have his contract with the leader cancelled, while other reports had the Paramount theater, where Gene is booked to follow Harry James, equally anxious to sever connections with him. It was only when Dailey was assured that the drummer had not pleaded guilty that the dine-and-dance owner relaxed and allowed the band to complete its stay.
At the last minute, the Paramount was still hedging on the question of Krupa doing their next show and it could not be ascertained what plea Gene would make when he appears in court nor what plea Gene would make when he appears in court nor what the possible alternative dispositions of his case might be.
Fine and Jail For Gene Krupa - June 1, 1943
San Francisco -- Gene Krupa, band leader, was fined $500 and sentenced to three months in the county jail when he pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. In addition, he is schedule to reappear in court on June 8 for trial on a felony charge, using a minor to transport narcotics.
New York---Gene Krupa's band was given ten days' pay and all members have signed a pledge keeping them intact for eight weeks.
Probe Bribery in Krupa Case - Aug. 1, 1943 - p1
Grand Jury to Question Lavin And McDevitt
Bandboy States Two Unidentified Men Gave Him $650 to Get Lost
Los Angeles---The Gene Krupa case, seemingly closed pending appeal of Krupa's conviction on the charge of using his valet, John Pateakos, to transport marihuana blew wide open here as the San Francisco grand jury prepared to convene July 20 to investigate charges that Pateakos, who could not be located during the trial, had been given a $650 bribe to "get out of town."
Pateakos, picked up here after the trial by FBI agents on a draft evasion charge, is reported to have "spilled the beans" when he was arraigned before U.S. Commissioner David B. Head for failing to report for induction.
According to Leslie G. Gillen, assistant district attorney from San Francisco, who came here to arrange for Pateakos' return to the Bay City to face the grand (Modulate to Page 3)
Grand Jury to Question Lavin and McDevitt
(Jumped from Page 1) jury, the former valet said he was given the $650 by two unidentified men and that he went to Chicago. Upon his return here he was nabbed almost immediately by the Federal investigators.
Two witnesses from Los Angeles, both widely known in the music business, were scheduled to receive subpoenas to appear before the San Francisco grand jury to give information. They were Barney McDevitt, former publicity man for the Hollywood Palladium; and Jack Lavin, for many years personal manager for Paul Whiteman and now engaged here as a booker. Both stated that they had no knowledge of why they were being called in the case.
Hired at Palladium
McDevitt, who resigned from his position at the Palladium a few weeks ago to handle publicity for Harry James, Tommy Dorsey, Vaughn Monroe and Charlie Spivak, said that he believed he was being called because he knew Pateakos slightly when the kid, who is only 19, was employed at the Palladium.
It was while he was employed at the Palladium that the youngster got the job as Krupa's valet. (Krupa was arrested at a San Francisco theater shortly after he closed at the Palladium. Arresting officers claimed that the valet was bringing a "supply" of marihuana from Krupa's hotel room to the drummer-leader).
Lavin said: "I don't know why I should be connected with the case. I don't know Krupa and I only know Pateakos from having seen him around the Palladium."
Neither McDevitt nor Lavin had received any official notification on the case when this was written. Their names were mentioned in news stories released in daily papers here and on radio broadcasts,. Russell Black, investigator for the Los Angeles district attorney's office, said he had been informed that the subpoenas were being wired here from San Francisco.
Weed Arrests On the Coast -- Oct. 15, 1943
Los Angeles---Local police, out to crack a ring of dope peddlers operating here, made a series of raids recently on asserted users of marihuana.
A number of musicians were arrested on possession charges most prominent among them being William F. ("Jimmie") Landrith, a top-flight drummer regarded as one of the finest white blues singers in the country.
Musicians Used for Weed Medical Test - By Frank Stacy - Mar. 15, 1944 - p1
New York---The scientific world is finally paying some heed to the marijuana problem and attacking it from a musician's viewpoint. According to reliable sources, research doctors attached to government prison-hospitals where drug addicts are confined for cure are currently working on a series of experiments with marijuana, using musicians as guinea pigs. The experiments are designed to find out the effect if any, the weed has on the quality of a musician's work and the medics and music-makers are looking themselves up in rooms then blowing their top---but scientifically.
Volunteers for the tests are being taken from among inmates with a musical background. A musical aptitude test is given each subject, both while he is in a normal condition and again while under the influence of marijuana. In this manner the doctors hope to determine why some musicians are attracted to the drug; whether it improves the quality of their playing and whether the whole idea is a bad kick.
It's no secret that many musicians have been offenders against the Marijuana Tax Act. The records show this even though the facts have been over-stated to the point where the public believes all musicians and their friends live in a perpetual narcotic whirl.
Marijuana derives its name from a Mexican slang-word, meaning "Mary Jane." In the United States, the drug is known variously as tea, muggles, weed, dry gauge, reefers and hemp. The dried, crushed leaves of the plant are smoked heavily in Oriental countries, including India, Africa, Egypt, Syria, Greece and Arabia. [modulate to Page 3]
Musicians Used for Weed Medical Test [ Jumped from Page One ]
In many sections of the United States, the plant is grown commercially for its hemp, used in manufacturing rope, hats and paper. It can be cultivated easily. Due to its rapid spread as a stimulant, the Marijuana Tax Act was passed in 1937 and a curb put on the growing influence of the weed.
Medical men and sociologists regard the drug as a stimulant, having the same physical and mental effects as alcohol. Unlike the pernicious drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, marijuana does not addict its user with an insatiable craving. case histories of confirmed drug addicts disclose that many found their start with marijuana, which because of its availability and low price is within reach of everyone.
Stories and movies about marijuana users have misinterpreted the drug habit. Rather than the drug creating mental cases for the psychotic ward, the people who use marijuana are already emotionally unstable and turn to the drug as a refuge from life's problems. The basic problem with inveterate users involves a mental rehabilitation of the shattered mind drawn to drugs.
Tests Show Tea-Kick Proves A Poor Lick - by Johnny Sippel - Sep 1, 1944
Washington, D.C.---Recent tests, involving the administering of pyra-hexyl compound, a substance which furnishes the identical psychological effects of marihuana, show that the victims of this drug appear to regard their musical ability as improved after the use of the drug. The tests, administered by C. Knight Aldrich of the United States Public Health Service, have further shown that the degree of musical efficiency is decreased after the use of the marihuana-like synthetic.
Using 12 healthy male patients as subjects, Aldrich administered the Seashore tests of musical talent to the men, both while they were in a normal condition and after they had fallen under the influence of the drug. The subjects, all serving prison sentences for violation of the Marihuana Tax Act, had used marihuana for an average of nine-and-one-half years. Their ages ranged from 47 to 23. Two of the patients were professional musicians and two others admitted to musical ambitions. Each subject was given the test three times---twice without any drug and the third trial was administered four-and-a-half hours after ingestion of satisfying amounts of pyra-hexyl compound. Tests were given at one-week intervals.
Loss of Judgment
Although nine out of 12 subjects scored lower on the musical tests after using the drug, eight of the men expresses the opinion that their scores had improved and none recognized the evident loss of efficiency, following the ingestion of the drug. This conclusion corroborates the findings of Walter Bromberg, author of Marihuana, A Psychiatric Study, who stated that a subject's evaluation of his own performance is enhanced after the use of the drug.
The six sections of the Seashore method test the subject on his ability to determine pitch, loudness, rhythm, time, timbre and the last portion determines the power of tonal memory. The average of the results of the three tests applied showed that the subjects achieved the highest score on the second test. On the third test, which was administered when the subject was under the influence of the drug, the score returned to the level of the initial test. One exception was noted in the case of rhythm, where the scoring change between the second and third tests was negligible. This would indicate that the use of the drug obliterated the gain due to practice.
Writing in the July, 1938 issue of Federal Probation, Lawrence Kolb, Assistant Surgeon General of the USPHS, says: "Marihuana is more intoxicating than alcohol, and the abusive use of it is more likely to lead to insanity than the abusive use of alcohol." He calls marihuana more harmful in these respects than opium, but addiction to marihuana, Kolb adds, does not bring physical dependence as in the case with opium. Marihuana, Kolb continues, produces a peculiar intoxication somewhat similar to, but more fantastic than intoxication from alcohol. When When the marihuana smoke inhaled, the subject becomes hyperactive and anxious, he has vague fear and may even fear death and become panicky. This is followed by a feeling of calm, ease and elation. He becomes talkative and is filled with a vivid sense of happiness, Kolb asserts. Limbs and arms feel light and the head seems larger than he knows it to be. Sense perception is increased so the colors seem brighter, sounds are clearer and sensations are more vivid.
Kolb points out that "thoughts come quickly and the subject feels that he can see to the bottom of things and solve problems so much better, when as a matter of fact, he is usually less efficient, but the jazz musicians, who indulge, claim with some show of reason and credibility to have increased the sense of rhythm and beauty with a consequent ablitiy to produce better music."
Continued use of the drug has many times caused insanity, Kolb declares. In unstable persons it may bring on short psychotic episodes after only a few doses. Most patients eventually recover from mental ills when the use of the drug is discontinued. Kolb reports, but there is a form of dementia caused by marihuana from which there is no recovery.
Leader Seized On Weed Charge - Dec. 15, 1944
Los Angeles---Nilo Menendez, writer of the Latin-American songhit, Green Eyes, and other successful songs, and currently bandleader at the Clover Club, exclusive Hollywood nittery, was arrested here Nov. 26 on a marihuana-possession charge. Arresting officers, who took the musician into custody as he sat in his car waiting for a tire repair service man, alleged that there were a number of marihuana cigarettes and a large quantity of marihuana seed in the glove compartment.
Menendez was released on a $1,000 bond. Date of trial had not been set at this writing.
Light Up Gates, Report Finds 'Tea' A Good Kick - Feb 1, 1945
New York---Marijuana is not the insidious menace that common belief holds it to be, according to a new report on the drug released here by a committee of experts. Sponsored by Mayor LaGuardia and financed by several scientific societies, the investigation covered four years of clinical experiments using 77 subjects as guinea pigs.
According to the report, marijuana is not habit-forming; it has no demonstrable effect on the crime rate; there is no proof of organized dealing in "tea" among school children; and the drug has no erotic effect. The investigators also declare that marijuana users are able to stop smoking the weed abruptly without suffering the mental and bodily ill-effects that accompany breaking off from drugs like morphine, heroin and cocaine.
Says the report: "Through some subjects become restless and talkative under marijuana influence, a mental state characterized by a sense of well-being, relaxation and unawareness of surroundings, followed by a drowsiness, was present in most instances when the subject was left undisturbed. Generally there was difficulty in focusing and sustaining mental attention.
"In company, the subjects were lively and given to talkativeness, fits of laughter and good-nature joking."
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