(a.k.a. Dime Store Novels)
While not all students of governmental dis-information agree as to the importance of (what are obviously fictional) dime store novels as propaganda. And no doubt some would even argue that they played no role in the reefer madness campaign. But this author for one feels that they played a much greater role than is generally attributed to them.
However, we would be fooling ourselves if we thought the evil hand of the drug police was everywhere. Unlike magazine editors, no evidence exists of government coercion of any pulp fiction writers or their publishers. But as these covers show, none was needed, many a publisher was in it solely for the money. And soon they had writers jumping over each other to see who could write the most outrageous story lines. As for the truth, it was boring and probably wouldn't have sold anyway. Reefer Madness simply made for more fun and money. Where else could one get a story that read:
"A cheap and evil girl sets a hopped-up killer against a city." - "Marihuana turns weak King Turner into a deadly weapon, a conscienceless killer with no more human feeling than a hooded cobra or a mad dog."For Pulp Fiction novels, the Reefer Madness era started around 1935 and lasted until the early 1960's, at which point the naively long ago had stopped. This is why "Marijuana Girl" by DeMexico, (1969) despite its great byline, --"She traded her body for drugs and kicks," is not included in this index. Let's face it, by 1969, no one was that naïve, therefore the novel fell into the world of pure exploitation, and not Reefer Madness.
To simplify matters, maybe it would best to sub-categorize these Novels as two types, OVERT and OBTUSE.:
OVERT - This being where the cover-art or the central plot of the story revolve around the weed of madness --- Such novels as "Marihuana" by William Irish, with its sleazy (good girl art) cover and plot obviously falls into this category.
And OBTUSE, (the one in which by far most novels fall into) being the ones where marihuana itself has little to do with the novels plot, but when mentioned is always done so in the negative. [hypothetical example]
"Sleazed-bag Johnny, was slithering his way back down the dark streets toward his den of iniquity, when to his right he spotted, Jimmy-the-fink. Hey, he thought to himself, Jimmy always sells good medical marihuana cigarettes-----just what he needed before committing some heinous crime. "Hey, Jimmy, do you have some good smokes for me" he asked? etc."Today, both provide us with good examples of what people were talking about in small gatherings back then.
No attempt is made to even suggest that this index is in anyway, shape or form complete. In fact it may not even be accurate --- I mean, let's face it, most of these Dime store novels are pure trash, and it would be unreasonable to expect anyone to actually have to sit down and read them. As such we must depend on book covers and the footnotes of others to gage they're content.
Originally a hard cover, it is hard to really classify this book as true Reefer Madness. Neither the book cover nor the back cover give any hint of indication to this effect. And were it not for the editorial title page:
“A nude woman found hanging from a bathroom door has no shoes, no name, no friends, and only four dollars. But someone wants her body enough to kill a morgue attendant to steal it (we've got a dead naked blonde, an alcoholic private detective, a marihuana smoker, a drunken bulldog, and a left-handed undertaker --how could you possibly need anything more in a mystery.”
However, that is about it. Note - The museum has a copy of the OTR radio program adapted from the book, but it also says nothing about the “Weed of Dead.”
Originally a hard cover book, this is a real sick book, by Max Brand. Doctor Kildare (who works at the DuPont general hospital) -- An interesting adventure for the doctor as he gets involved with a marijuana racket (picture of a joint on the front and spine of the DJ).
Also it should be noted that Max Brand also wrote other numerous Reefer madness stories including the “Flower From Hell” etc.
The book cover (left) is probably the most classic of classic Reefer madness works of art. Unfortunately the cover is coveted so much that an original book (which once sold for 10cents) now goes for as much as a hundred dollars.
According to David Goldin's website
The Old Time Radio version of the story - while keeping the title as is --"MARIHUANA," made no mention of it and instead substituted ALCOHOL THE DRUG in its place. Smart people, at least they didn't fall for the Reefer Madness campaign.
1945 MARIJUANA MURDER By Anonymous
Canada, Superior Publishers, Limited Cover shows woman in raincoat being grabbed at by hand. Cover art not credited, rare digest size
This book was written as per an actual case (which this museum spent some time investigating) HOWEVER, exactly where the Marihuana comes in to it is beyond us? About the only tie in was that the (alleged murderer) had told police that in the past he had smoked a couple of marihuana cigarettes but that was about it.
Oh, well, as the narc’s (and this publisher) would say, good enough for government work.
Murder and the Marijuana Traffic. The chapters have titles like, "Quickest road to insanity," or "Dope and homicide" etc. A perfect example of reefer madness and with good reason, technical supervisor was the infamous Joe O'Ferrall (the narc) -- See below.
As seen in the New York Times - Jan. 16, 1947 page 23
Different cover art - Note that bat? What exactly a bat has to do with the story is beyond us?
Crime map on back (Marijuana mixup location etc.)
1949 BELOW SUSPICION
By John Dickerson Carr
Dr. Fell pointed to the far end of the eerie, marihuana-smelling chapel. Down there, he said, candles burn at the altar. You grovel before Lucifer. Ect. - She was caught in a frenzied nightmare of murder and profane desire. . . .
This may not really be a Reefer Madness book as such, Cannabis was simply used in part of a witch craft ritual of some kind or another . . . so then again it might be. I would listen to the OTR radio program before going out and reading the book however.
1950 FIGURE IT OUT FOR YOURSELF
By James Hadley Chase
Later on renamed the "The Marihuana Mob," As can be seen, this pulp book has had different titles as well as cover art. However, just about everyone agrees that “The marihuana Mob” version is the best one ever.
1951 I'LL GET MINE By Thurston scott
Cover reads, "She loved Men, Money and Marijuana"
1952 "TOO HOT FOR HELL" by Keith Vining
This is a paperback original published by Ace Books for the first time in 1952. Cover reads - "Marijuana (marihuana), music and murder made him." And other than that we know nothing else about the actual story plot.
When Marijuana means murder! (back Cover) A ROTTEN RACKET NARCOTICS - some punk is selling marijuana to teenagers.
NOTE - this book was also released under the title of "Juvenile Hoods."
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