I have in my possession a list of anti-drug instructional films prepared by the New Jersey Urban Schools Development Council in 1970. Along with such classics of the genre as Sonny Bono’s Marijuana, Paul Newman’s Bennies and Goofballs and the U.S. Navy’s LSD (in which Lt. Cmdr. Walt Miner asks: “Are you thinking something, or is the bulkhead thinking something?”), there are hidden gems like Scent of Danger, the Hobby Industry Association’s 1962 film about the perils of sniffing glue. The titles are just beautiful, and the copy of the plot summaries is better than a pulp novel, full of “fallen” women and “boys with weak personalities.” Even in this company, though, the lurid title and description of 1960’s Seduction of the Innocent jump off the page:
As the denouement approaches, [the protagonist] has lost her looks and can no longer command a call-girl’s fees. She takes to streetwalking. She is arrested and begins to experience withdrawal. The future holds little hope. Drug abuse, the narrator promises, “will lead to a life of hopelessness and degradation, until she escapes in death.”
Jeanette writhes in agony on the floor of her jail cell
In case any of our readers are considering smoking a marijuana cigarette, I have transcribed the film’s description of the narcotic’s effects below. However, reading the transcription is no substitute for watching the scene, which uses the zoom lens to illustrate the nightmarish loss of depth perception dope fiends regularly experience.
The smell and the taste are anything but pleasing. It makes you cough, and your throat becomes dry and hot. You feel like you’re floating. You concentrate on one object, a tree in the distance—it’s called “fixing.” As you concentrate, time slows down. You hallucinate, that is, you dream. This is called “tripping.” Your depth perception is affected. If you had to step off a curb or get out of a car, you would probably need help, because the distance might be exaggerated. On the other hand, distance might seem to diminish.
As with alcohol, the problems don’t disappear. They only temporarily seem to vanish, and return with jarring force when the effects of the drugs wear off. But when you get on narcotics, it’s like starting a never-ending downward tailspin from 30,000 feet. You become less sure of yourself, your surroundings, your friends. Quarrels are more frequent with your parents and loved ones. You try to convince yourself you’re right, but deep inside you know you’re not. You lose your sense of values. You think of little else but another “blow-up”—your newfound language for smoking marijuana.
Watch ‘Seduction of the Innocent’ after the jump…