Smokin' Reefers - Larry Adler (1938)

Publication Year: 

Image retrieved from on May 11th, 2014.
Source for text unknown.

The song "Smokin' Reefers" originally appeared in a 1932 Broadway production titled "Flying Colors". Just a few years before the destructive "Reefer Madness" propaganda campaigns began spiraling out of control, "Flying Colors" opened on September 15, 1932 at the Imperial Theatre, where it ran for 188 performances.

"Smokin' Reefers" was a bold song, not lyrically hiding its meaning. Its original composer is unknown. The first commercial release of the song on album appears to be by Larry Adler in 1938.

An interesting historical note about the song's lyrics is the famous line:

"It's the kind of stuff all the dreams are made of."

In the 1941 film "The Maltese Falcon", when Humphrey Bogart's character is asked what the Maltese Falcon statuette is, he uses the memorable line:

"The stuff that dreams are made of."

Considering the proximity to the commercial release of "Smokin' Reefers" which came just a couple years prior, did the script writer use the song lyric for inspiration, or was the original Shakespeare the inspiration:

"We are such stuff as dreams are made on."

Shakespeare used "made on" while Smokin' Reefers was the first to use "made of". The Maltese Falcon movie line is much more similar in meaning and word structure to the Smokin' Reefers version, so I highly suspect the song's lyrics to be the inspiration.

But regardless of whatever the case may be there, the song Smokin' Reefers is a historical artifact of the early cannabis culture in the United States. Because of the early hysteria of the drug war, much has been lost. Here we have a little glimpse back to our roots. Enjoy and keep the light alive against our continued harassment and suppression.