Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Reefer Madness On Air

In 1937 Harry J. Anslinger cranked up the efforts. Embodied with more federal funding, he took his anti-reefer campaign to the radio. Congress was having hearings on H.R. 8385, the Marihuana (Marijuana) tax Act. He wanted it to pass. It did.He was the head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, then a branch of the for 32 years, almost as long as the cross-dressing Herbert Hoover. Strangely while fighting the demon weed he was fencing morphine for Senator McCarthy. Yes, that McCarthy.But he over did it. Things became so over-hyped that By 1938 he was begging media outlets to cover the topic less. In a letter to H.C. Williams A District Supervisor in Texas he wrote:
"Will you please in a tactful way, decline to present the radio talks on Marihuana anytime in the near future. For your information present policy is to discourage emphasis on Marihuanafor the reason that some... press reports have been so exaggerated that interest in the subject has become almost hysterical..."
This series of broadcasts by Anslinger, the Women's Christian Temperance Union and others were well-recorded with thanks to common practice of that eras newspapers to cover special radio programs. But regardless of the speaker, the broadcasts mostly were comprised of material from Hearst papers. This is a sampling of the many lectures, and speeches on the topic broadcast on the radio. I'm citing these from this site among others.

Feb. 21, 1935 - Ida B. Wise Smith on - CBS
Feb. 19, 1934 - Isabelle Ahern O'Neill - WJAR
Dec. 13, 1934 - Harvey Anslinger - WEAF
Jan. 24, 1935 - Grace Poole (network unknown)
Feb. 24, 1936 - Harvey Anslinger - NBC
Feb. 24, 1937 - Harvey Anslinger -WJSV
Oct. 22, 1937 - Harry Anslinger- WJZ & WABC
Oct. 25 1937 - Harry Anslinger NBC
Dec. 03, 1937 - Harvey Anslinger - Mutual Network