The True Reason Of Old Hollywood's Most Unabashed Weed Smoker' Arrest / Colorado Cannabis History

11 months ago

The old Hollywood's most unabashed #Weed smoker, "Robert Charles Durman Mitchum" was born on August 6, 1917 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, he was trouble from day one, his father was killed while Mitchum was just a toddler, and he was sent to live with his grandparents age 12.

Always a prankster and troublemaker, he was expelled from middle school, then from high school, and became a "Wild Boy Of The Road", traveling through Depression-era America on railroad cars.

At just 15 years old, he was picked up for vagrancy and placed on a "Chain Gang" in the Deep South. But even the chains of a chain gang couldn’t keep Mitchum in one place, he escaped, hitch-hiked his way back up North, and eventually rode the rails all the way out to California.

Robert Mitchum was a known #Cannabis user, so it really was only a matter of time before the cops caught up to him. Sure enough, a narcotics agent did just that on September 1st, 1948.

Mitchum, the film actor, director, author, poet, composer, and singer was caught in a sting opertion when his career was flying high, having hit his stride with a string of critically acclaimed film noirs like "Out of the Past".

(August 6, 1917 – July 2, 1997)

The only effect that I ever noticed from smoking the weed was a sort of mild sedative, a release of tension when I was overworking. It never made me boisterous of quarrelsome. If anything, it calmed me and reduced my activity.

Mitchum's Marijuana Bust

On August 31, 1948, Mitchum was toking up with local realtor "Robin Ford", actress "Lila Leeds" and dancer "Vickie Evans" at a house rented by Evans and Leeds when the cops came busting in the door, arresting the four. The four (Mitchum, Lila, Vicki, and Ford) were taken downtown, and their statements read as if they’d been written by a B-movie screenwriter!

Mitchum knew that possession of an illegal substance was sure to ruin his acting career, and hinted as much when he responded to the cop’s questions of his name, age, and occupation with, "Former actor", Mitchum supposedly said:

Yes, boys, I was smoking the marijuana cigaret when you came in. I guess it’s all over now. I’ve been smoking marijuana for years. The last time I smoked was about a week ago. I knew I would get caught sooner or later. This is the bitter end of my career. I’m ruined.

Mitchum, the promising young actor with an Oscar nomination under his belt was arrested for possession of #Marijuana, he spent 60 days on prison farm, where photographers from LIFE magazine found a laconic, relaxed, smiling inmate:

I like jail, it is like Palm Springs, but without all the riff-raff.

Not only would "The Reluctant Star's" career survive the scandal, it also made him an even bigger box-office draw. When he was asked, why he was considerd "Hollywood’s Ultimate Bad Boy", his answer was:

The only difference between me and my fellow actors is that I’ve spent more time in jail.

Mitchum, "The King Of Cool" was released from prison farm after spending his 60 days sentence for marijuana possession there, but in the fall of 1948, he was smoking a #Joint at a small party in the "Laurel Canyon" area of Los Angeles when detectives burst in and arrested him. Mitchum reportedly said at the time:

Well, this is the bitter end of everything—my career,my marriage, everything.

In fact, it wasn’t really that bad as the first movie "Rachel & the Stranger", released after his troubles, was a box-office hit.

Jail Like Palm Springs!

The True Reason Of Mitchum's Arrest

There is some reason to believe that Mitchum’s arrest was less than fair and designed to bring publicity to the Los Angeles Police Department’s anti-drug efforts.

  • Mitchum was one of the first nationally-recognizable rich white people to ever get busted for what was at the time considered a drug of the minorities and low-class, and that was sensationally huge news at the time. The speculation turned out to be pretty real and Mitchum had been targeted by the LAPD as a way to promote the department's anti-drug programs.

  • On August 31, Ford and Mitchum went to a house shared by Leeds and Evans to toke up, but the cops were apparently already there waiting. They allegedly scratched at the back door to imitate Leed's dogs and when Evans opened the door, the two cops came storming in with guns drawn. At the press conference at the jail, "Sergeant A. M. Barr" revealed the real motive to the L.A. Times:

The True Reason of Mitchum’s Arrest!

Although high-priced studio lawyers questioned irregularities in the case, it was later agreed that he would accept 60 days in jail and several years’ probation. Mitchum died in July 1997. It is sad as his arrest was a kind of publicity, it's a shame as his story figure into Colorado Cannabis History!

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I thought of him as one of Hollywood superstars of his time and I remember him very well because he was one of my dad´s fave stars. Yeah, bad publicity is also good publicity, he was meaning to get caught for the headlines and those arrests helped his movies to become box-office hits.

Great post. This is a historical gem. Following and upvoted for quality content.