Reefer Madness/The Burning Question (1936)

Reefer Madness was also released under the titles The Burning Question, Dope Addict, Doped Youth, Love Madness, and Tell Your Children. The movie was made in 1936 and released in 1938.


This is a government propaganda film that relates the story, as told by high school principal Dr. Carroll to parents at a PTA meeting, of the scourge of marijuana. The tale revolves around Mae and Jack, accomplices in the distribution of marijuana, who manage to entice the local high school kids to stop by Mae's apartment to smoke reefer. The lives of all who are involved with this menace are inevitably shattered. One man becomes so addicted to the killer weed that the guilt over framing a teen for murder causes a judge to order him to be committed for life to a mental hospital! Dr. Carroll closes by advising us to not incur the same tragedy.


The movie had these gems as taglines:

      SEE youthful marijuana victims - what actually happens!

      Sin - degradation - vice - insanity!

      Tell your children!

      Women Cry For It - Men Die For It!

      The Sweet "Pill" That Makes Life BITTER!

      Adults Only!

      Drug Crazed Abandon!

      It's Public Enemy, Number One!

and the DVD version added this one:

      65 years later, audiences are still hooked!


The movie starred:

      Dorothy Short as Mary

      Kenneth Craig as Bill

      Lillian Miles as Blanche

      Dave O'Brien as Ralph

      Thelma White as Mae

      Carleton Young as Jack

      Warren McCullom as Jimmy

      Pat Royale as Agnes

      Josef Forte as Dr. Carroll

      Harry Harvey Jr. as Junior


It was directed by Louis Gasnier and written by Lawrence Meade (original story), Arthur Hoerl (screenplay), and Paul Franklin (additional dialogue).



  • marctonysmith 6y

    Reefer Madness is great. I laughed the whole way through.
  • Chuck Coker 6y

    marctonysmith — I have no doubt that Reefer Madness has been bringing laughter to people for 73 years now!
  • listorama 6y

    I thought reefer madness was the name of an affliction of railroad nuts who photograph refrigerated boxcars (reefers). This new awareness is shocking. Thank you for this valuable public service.
  • Ks of W PRO 6y

    I would pay good money to see some "behind the scenes" footage of this brilliant campaign being conceived, kicked around, and then produced.
  • Kpax Smith 6y

    What a riot, ... and it has all the quality of them health films of the 50's too.
  • Scott Beveridge PRO 6y

    i should watch this to-die-for movie
  • David 6y

    I personally thought it was a bit slow and rather corny... I think my daughter owns a copy... I'll have to revisit it;-)
  • lettawren 4y

    Thanks for using Creative Commons - I've used your photo to illustrate a post in the Citings & Sightings section of called "A Whole Lotta Handcuffs." You can check it out here:

    Thanks again,
26 faves
Taken on December 29, 2009
  • Show EXIF
This photo is in 19 groups
This photo is in 3 albums
This photo is in 1 gallery

Additional info

  • Viewing this photo Public
  • Safety level of this photo Safe
  • S Search
    Photo navigation
    < > Thumbnail navigation
    Z Zoom
    B Back to context