Horse, Pot And Goofballs – Drug Deals And Propaganda – 1951 – Past Daily Reference Room
CBS Radio: The Nation’s Nightmare with Bill Downs – July 1951 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Bad enough we were knee-deep in the Korean War and wrapped up in a Cold War. The 1950s were also consumed with The Drug War and the insidious presence of the local dope dealer on every street corner across America.
In a weird way, wretched excess was probably an answer to much of America during that decade of uncertainty. Aside from admonishing party-goers to “Not drink and drive” – alcohol wasn’t portrayed as the all-pervasive destroyer of homes and lives that drugs were, particularly Marijuana.
In this truly heavy-handed documentary as part of the more-truly heavy handed series for CBS Radio called, appropriately “America’s Nightmare” – this scourge of our society rested firmly at the feet of The Mob, and most notably Lucky Luciano as the driving force behind America’s growing addiction to Narcotics.
Marijuana, it was deemed, was the main culprit – the springboard from where all addictions spread. At one point, early on – a tape recording was made of one user supposedly having a “breakdown” from smoking a joint. The children screaming and the ominously guttural bellows of the person in question gave one the impression that Marijuana was a whole lot more powerful in 1951 that it is in 2023, or maybe he was ingesting Amphetamines
As anyone born between 1935 and 2000 will tell you, people don’t go psychotic from smoking dope – maybe Crack these days, but not in 1951. The notion of lunatics springing forth from a few innocent drags on a joint seems more the stuff of Propaganda and active imaginations that fact.
And of course, someone had to be blamed – and high on the list was Lucky Luciano as the Supreme Corrupter of Our Nation’s Youth. With all due fairness, much of the Mob at the time was responsible for bringing in vast quantities of Heroin. But Marijuana, it’s doubtful.
Still, it was one more element in a seemingly endless parade of horror which beset America in the 1950s. We were in a state of upheaval – we were coming to question everything and it would come to a head over the next decade. But in 1951 America was under siege and drugs were playing a huge part.
For a better idea, here is the first of a multi-part series of documentaries produced by CBS Radio called The Nation’s Nightmare in 1951.
As you know, we’ve suspended indefinitely our ads in order to make Past Daily a better experience for you without all the distractions and pop-ups. Because of that, we’re relying more on your support through Patreon to keep us up and running every day. For as little as $5.00 a month you can make a huge difference as well as be able to download all of our posts for free (news, history, music). You’ll see a banner just below. Click on that and become a subscriber – it’s easy, painless and does a world of good.