It's incredibly ironic, but over the years, this complete and total anti-marijuana (or, as the film spells it, "marihuana") film has become an all-around stoner movie based on its hilariously over-the-top performances and "factoids" that can remind us nowadays that we must not believe everything we hear. If you can believe it, the now (mostly) legalized substance at the time was compared to things like heroin and cocaine and considered much more deadly and addictive. Thankfully, we have mostly grown past this, but we still sadly have a long way to go.
This film can also go by the titles 'The Burning Question,' 'Dope Addict,' 'Doped Youth,' and 'Love Madness.' However, its original church group-funded title was about as after-school special as it gets, with 'Tell Your Children.' It was meant to be a morality film to show parents the dangerous effects of cannabis use, which, according to the film, include, to paraphrase the opening scroll, "violent, uncontrollable laughter, dangerous hallucinations, space expanding, time slowing down, emotional disturbances, inability to direct thought, inability to resist physical emotions, acts of shocking violence and incurable insanity."
Producer Dwain Esper soon bought the film after it was done, re-cut it, and released it as an exploitation film behind the mask of a film about moral guidance. Then, in the 70s, things picked up for it when 70s culture rediscovered it, and just through time, it became an unintentional satire. My familiarity with it was always word of mouth for me over the years, and it took me a long time to come around to it. But what's funny is that when I finally did back around 2010, I discovered its probably one of the best stoner movies out there.
The central focus here is a clean, straight-A high school student named Bill (Kenneth Craig) who, along with his sweetheart, Mary (Dorothy Short), gets lured to a party hosted by pot-pusher Jack Perry (Carleton Young) and his unmarried partner, Mae Coleman (Thelma White). The couple, whom other characters claim to be "living in sin," sell the good old sticky-icky to a regular clientele of adults, but Jack sees fit to try to get the kids hooked on the stuff, hence Bill and Mary's invitation.
As the party unfolds, the reefer these folks are tokin' starts to get to them in hilarious ways that are supposed to be serious. It all starts with a guy who has become known as "Hot Fingers" (Ted Wray), and he's about as Looney Tunes as you can get with an actual actor from the time. He plays the piano like some kind of weird, perhaps perverse maniac, and when he goes to the closet to smoke, he looks like he can't decide if he's at peace or going insane. But honestly, between him, Bill and Jack, the laughs just keep coming.
When it comes to Bill, he's the epitome of innocence. This is the guy Butters from 'South Park' would probably grow into with his language using words like "swell" and "gosh" and, in a film about the "dangers of reefer," actually turns down a soda, claiming "I never drink the stuff." as if it was full of alcohol. When the weed starts to kick in for him, and he gets laughing, it would almost be scary if it wasn't so funny because it's so over the top. I mean, does one get the giggles on weed? Absolutely. But not to the degree where one looks like they might get violent.
When it comes to Jack, a lot of the humour comes from the dated language that comes from this guy. Considering that 1936 was a very different time, some of the stuff this guy says out of anger and/or frustration might compare him to more of a Cartman from 'South Park' to use a similar comparison. It's not enough to make one turn away in disgust or anything, but there are plenty of things the man says that probably wouldn't fly today. Still, the old-timey language of it all makes it funny enough not to be taken seriously. Again, it's over-the-top.
Personally, I consume cannabis and can say that being high is probably the best way to watch this movie. It's only about an hour and ten minutes, and as you're sitting there on the couch, nice and comfy with a snack and a drink to quench that dry mouth, you'll be giggling all the way through this with how absolutely ridiculous it all is. Marijuana isn't for everyone, and I can respect that. Some get paranoid, some get headaches, and some just plain don't want to. But one should never base the dangers of marijuana on something as stupid as this.
I would say do the research now that we have come as far as the internet and come to your own conclusion. Then, if you do decide to go the reefer route, definitely check out this film for a good laugh based on ridiculous "factoids" that include some guy getting high and murdering his whole family with an axe, among other tall tales. So get some friends together, light up, and become couch potatoes as you enjoy this anti-marijuana propaganda that is, in fact, so ridiculous that watching it sober would almost be silly.