Vintage Scares #12: LSD - A Case Study

In 1938, Swiss chemist Dr. Albert Hofmann accidently ingested lysergic acid dethylamide, thereby discovering the hallucinogenic properties inherent in a fungus that grows on rye. It was known as "St. Anthony's Fire" in the old days, but now it was concentrated into a pure form, and the effects would be far reaching.

Initially, it was embraced by everyone from Washington to Hollywood: the CIA experimented with it and even Cary Grant admitted to dropping acid sixty times.  However, once it found its place in the 1960's counterculture its mainstream acceptance declined. California was first to criminalize the drug and the rest of the country soon followed.  LSD now had a bad reputation.

image source

In 1969, when the educational film "LSD: A Case Study" was made, LSD was the hippie drug of choice, spurred on by the likes of Timothy Leary, Ken Casey, and acid rock concerts. Parents were disturbed, and hospitals were beginning to fill up with hippies thrown into LSD induced psychoses. Ronald Reagan and Ed Meese began to wage war on the drug and the word was sent to schools to warn kids of the dire consequences of LSD use.

The funny thing about this particular educational film is that it actually makes LSD look appealing. If I wasn't tempted to use the drug before, this film changes all that and makes it look rather interesting. Watch the whole film here or at the bottom of this post.

It starts with a rather cool and happening party. If I were a kid in the 60's watching this film, I'd want to be at this party. 1 point for LSD, 0 points for abstinence.

After the party, she goes to get a hot dog. The film repeatedly flashes images of this chick about to wrap her lips around this wiener. No doubt, the phallic connotations would be felt by young schoolboys watching this film. LSD 2, abstinence 0.

Suddenly, her hot dog turns into a troll-like creature who starts screaming at her. While not exactly the religious experience Timothy Leary claimed LSD would provide, it still sounds pretty cool to have a hot dog turn into an angry troll. LSD 3, abstinence 0.

In the end, the hippie chick stomps on the hot dog while it screams in pain.  Which then begs the question - is losing a perfectly good hot dog the worst thing that can happen to you if you use LSD? This is the worst they could come up with? LSD 4, abstinence 0.


  1. Weird psa! Thanks for posting it. Check out this post on Groucho Marx & Otto Preminger on LSD:


  2. This infamous short film from the 1950s shows the attempts made by the British army to use LSD on manoeuvres. It's the deadpan, factual account on the part of the reporter that does it for me...


  3. I used to have a bunch of old PSAs from Something Weird Video and they all got deleted in a hard drive mishap. No doubt the best were the drug and sex announcements. I admit I tampered with acid in my 'Tibetan Book of the Dead" phase of life and thank Buddha my hot dog never turned into a troll.

  4. I was thinking that maybe the internet was just a bad acid trip. However, the lucid moment that is retrospace, foils that theory.

    Maybe LSD stands for: Let Spammers Die!

  5. My university library where I work just got a bunch of those Something Weird Videos. Haven't checked any out yet, but some of them seem very ... um... odd.

    LSD is the one drug I wanted to do if I was going to do a drug. Never did though, and my sister tells me they use different stuff to make it now and it's even more dangerous. I'm not sure what could be more awful than stepping on your hot dog though.

  6. I'm afraid it has never appealed to me. I have enough of a natural "acid trip" mentality with my own strange thoughts, so I couldn't afford to add to them. It's funny how some PSAs backfire, but the meth ones they do these days are pretty gritty and scary.

  7. I want a hot dog that turns into a Troll!!

    Those things were good luck, you know! :)

  8. Hearing it scream in pain...that would be worse.

  9. Far-out! A hot dog with a wife and seven kids. At that moment she should have returned the hot dog and ordered the fruit salad.
    Back in my younger days a friend and myself were "tripping balls" as the kids say nowadays. We spent about an hour watching mashed potatoes crawl across a plate. When he looked up at me I asked "So..what's for dessert? " But at no time did the potatoes ever speak. Just move.
    I think the point of the film is don't mix psychoactive drugs while eating processed meat products. Your body chemistry can only take so much manipulation so play it safe, say no to meat.
    "There are three side effects of acid. Enchanced long term memory, decreased short term memory, and I forget the third."
    Timothy Leary (1920 - 1996)

  10. Great comments! I never personally tried acid - more out of being chicken than any grand moral stance. Dennis Hopper said he once dropped acid, and when he came back to reality, he found he was naked and in Mexico! I'd be afraid that'd be me - no cool trips where weiners becoming papa trolls; just me butt naked in Juarez.

  11. And nothing worse that being butt naked in Juarez!

  12. I have the seed of a story/film in my head about a psycho/killer hippie who is part of some Lovecraftian cult, and after an evening of slashing, he joins them at this makeshift altar in a field, where they are serving LSD from bottles (marked "LSD" for comedic effect) in scotch glasses (on the rocks); the psycho/killer hippie slams some LSD down, and then proceeds to go crazy when the 8-track player plays "Incense and Peppermints"; all seems to go well at the twisted ritual (intended to open some sort of portal to a twisted dimension) when the police raid the offending party.
    Unfortunately it's too late, as they are all sucked into this psychedelic dimension (including the police vehicles & helicopter).
    Now they must all work together to find a way back to Earth, before they are all consumed by the horrid Lovecraftian monstrosities!