The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, January 29, 1973, Page PAGE 6, Image 6

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Reefer Madness ... a group of dope crazed youths (top) try to pawn off a reefer on a
new victim, but later learn (bottom) that the jig is up when the police raid their den of
madness. .
Incurable insanity
Review by Roy Baldwin
Lock on your wigs and let the air out of your shoes, fellow
bozos. There's a pungent odor of surrealism to the film
showing at the Hollywood & Vine Theaters, and coming to
Sheldon Art Gallery February 3 and 4.
Martan Space Party, a visual medley of tunes from the
Firesign Theatre's latest album, stars the gang in a performance
of the National Surrealist Light Peoples' Party convention
(NSLPP) on Monster Island. The NSLPP is a multitude of
crawly things ("We gotta stop eatin' each other!") plus a few
humans left over from earth. George (One Organism, One
Vote) Papoon wins the nomination with the slogan, "Not
Papoon may or may not be a sly satire of George
If the theme of Martian Space Party is "Not Insane," the
theme of Reefer Madness has to be the opposite. The flick is
vintage 1936 "For Adults Only". It's been revived by New
Line Cinema and is being shown at hip places around the
United States. It's great.
The prologue, which seems to run forever, grimly warns
that smokers of the Dread Weed are first thrown into "fits of
uncontrollable laughter"-at which point the audience laughs
uncontrollably leading inevitably to "incurable insanity." By
then, members of the audience have fallen out of their chairs.
And it gets better. A hatchet-faced high school principal,
who could be Margaret, ("Wicked Witch of the West")
Hamilton's brother, harangues a meeting of stoned-looking
parents about the dangers of the dread scourge. One puff of
the weed sends girls panting into the arms of total strangers,
turns guys into sexual and criminal dervishes and transforms
sunny, crew-cut youngsters into hollow-eyed, stumbling
Although the principal demands compulsory education as
to the "real facts" about marijuana, what follows has nothing
to do with reality. The principal flashes the audience back to
the story of local high school kids caught by the scourge.
There is ace tennis player Bill, a dead ringer for Johnny
Carson, and his girl Mary Lane.
Jack, the local pusher, suffers from acute, perpetual
munchies. His accomplices, Mae and Blanche, lure the kids to
wild parties at their apartment.
With the carryings-on, it's not hard to see why older folks
have the notions they do about dope. The movie abounds in
stupidity. ,t .
It's bad enough that the killer weed has such a weird effect
on the addict, but the kids come unglued after one toke and
commit all manners of heinous crimes hit-and run accidents,
sexual depravity, murder, insanity and playing the piano too
What's really grating is that this exploitation is shoveled out
as truth. No one ever bothered to find out the "real facts"
about anything.
Reefer Madness is a must, both because it's a gas and
because it provides real insights into the misinformation that
has shaped this country's attitudes toward drugs. Totally
The mad
of 'Mad'
A lot of funny stuff used to happen in the pages of Mad
magazine. And, according to The Mad World of William M,
Gaines, a lot of equally funny stuff used to happen in its
Author Frank Jacobs has pulled a couple bushel baskets
of amusing anecdotes about the millionaire publisher, and
"the usual gang of idiots," (as the Mad contributors are
described in each issue,) into a biography amusing as Mad
itself used to be.
Jacobs successfully describes Mad's role in America in
one paragraph:
"Because it contains so many pictures, many people call
it a comic. Because it appeals to so many youngsters, many
people think it is not. fit reading for adults. Because it
assials both political fringes, it is damned by both of them.
Because it attacks sacred institutions, it is called
un-American. Because it refuses to print pornography, it is
called square. Because it hits everything, it is accused of
lacking a point cf view.
What Jacobs doesn't point out is that the sacred
institutions Mad attacks are no longer sacred, The humor
has escaped from articles such as "The Lighter Side of
Peace Marches." In short, the topical humor that once
made Mad marked is no longer topical,
Although Jacobs and Gaines would deny it, Mad in 1972
was a gutless jokebook. In its prime it would offend
everyone, as Jacobs points out. Now it is offensive only
because it's boring.
But a biography is to capture thoso past moments, The
Mad World of William M. Gaines does this admirably.
Gaines always has run his life and his business by his
own rule. He o.vns a couple shirts, a couple sportcoats, his
iron-gray hair falls to his shoulders and his untrimmed silver
beard hides that fact that he wears no tie.
He began his reign in the publishing business in the early
1950s with a line of horror comics. The Vault of Horror,
and Weird Fantasy were two titles that signaled a new age
in comicbook illustration.
But in the mid-50s, a witch hunt against the forces of
evil and Communism found Gaines' comics an easy target.
By 1956 the horror comic didn't exist.
But Gaines had Mad. With it he cut a swath of
irreverency through the '50s and '60s.
Jacobs, who has worked off and on for Mad for 15
years, has rubbed enough shoulders to put together a book
that captures the magazine's spirit. From it, a lot of
information can be gleaned, most importantly:
-Gaines is a crazy person. Luckily he is the boss of a place
where crazy people meet.
-He is Mad's biggest fan. It regularly reduces him to
uncontrollable laughter.
-He is a practicing atheist.
-He is one of a kind.
page 6
daily nebrasuan
monday, January 29, 1973