Marijuana In The Movies: Judy Garland, Before the Wizard, Sang About a Famous “Cockroach”
Article written by Richard Cowan, former NORML National Director and co-founder of Real Tested CBD.
Hollywood in the 1930s was a boomtown in the middle of the global Great Depression and dreams of fame drew talent from all over the world. The new media of the day, the radio and “the Talkies”, especially musicals, made unknown talent into world famous “stars.” One of them was Francis Gumm, who was the youngest of three sisters, whose singing talent got the attention of Louis B. Mayer, (MGM).
One of their first jobs was in a 1935 musical, La Fiesta De Santa Barbara, starring Leo Carillo, who was later best known for playing ¨Pancho” in the popular Western television series, The Cisco Kid (1950–1956). Carillo introduced them to sing a seemingly innocuous song, “La Cucaracha.” (The Cockroach)
“The cockroach, the cockroach, can’t walk anymore because it doesn’t have, because it’s lacking marijuana to smoke.”
It definitely sounds better in Spanish.
Look for the great Buster Keaton, at 2:05 weeping for the poor dead bug.
Hollywood was also infamous for its hypocrisy, but it may be hard to believe that in 1935 marijuana was not yet illegal in California, and it would be two more years before Congress would pass the “Marijuana Tax Act”
Of course, Francis Gumm became Judy Garland. Tragically, Garland would die of a barbiturate overdose at only 47. Maybe if she had “marihuana que fumar”, she would have had a longer, happier life.