Hepped up on goofballs

The term “hepped up on goofballs” has been used a few times on recent television. My questions are: What are goofballs? When were they (or the suspicion surrounding them)popular?

The beatniks I knew were ‘hopped’ up on goofballs, but I see that ‘hepped’ has entered the lexicon. Goofballs are, obviously, pills, tablets and/or capsules, the composition of which may be imagined as follows:

Bennies, dexies, speedballs, whites;
Yellows, reds, combos, ice;
Uppers, downers, beauties, slammers;
Redneck shit from Alabammer.

Miltown tablets cut in two;
Morphine, codeine, all for you;
Barbs and tar and airplane glue;
Tuinal, Seconal and Nebutal too.
When? I dunno, I’m only in my mid 50s. You’d need to ask Unca Cecil.

Apart from the smart-ass answer above, the real answer may be found in one of the following or, possibly, the OED.

Chapman, Robert L. Thesaurus of American Slang. Harper, 1991. Abridged edition of: New Dictionary of American Slang (Harper, 1986).

Partridge, Eric. Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English. Macmillan, 8th ed., 1985. Classic, with 7500 entries; first published 1937.

Wentworth, Harold and Flexner, Stuart Berg. Dictionary of American Slang. Crowell, 2d ed., 1975. Extensive compilation of modern slang, including taboo words, with etymologies and quotations.

Specifically, Nembutal. More generally, any barbiturate. More specifically yet, any pill.

I have seen a clip from an old TV show with a cop asking somebody that (I want to say it was Jack Webb from an old episode of Dragnet). I don’t know if the phrase was around prior to that, but I think others have seen that same clip I’m talking about, and that might be were the current pop culture affinity for that phrase originates.

I remember Chief Wiggum asking Ned Flanders this in the Simpsons, but I don’t recall ever seeing it on Dragnet or Adam-12 or any other old cop show.

Perry Mason, Season 9, Episode 11 “The Case of the Silent Six”

After 18 years, a thread gets zombied with a post that actually contains new and relevant information.

This may be a first, ladies and gentlemen.

(golf clap)

[quote=“razzyl, post:7, topic:26326”]

Perry Mason, Season 9, Episode 11 “The Case of the Silent Six”


Can we assume Razzyl was working his way through his old Perry Mason videos, about 1 season every couple of years, vowing never to stop until he found that phrase?

Excellent work though - its good to have a purpose in life.

This thread had a sixteen and a half year span between OP and first reply, which actually had the answer. So it’s not unprecedented.

Way to dazzyl, razzyl!

It’s not for me to decide, but **razzyl **may have made a record here.

I’m 58+. Back in the 70’s Nembutal was known (around here) as “numb-your-balls” due to it’s weird sedative effect. They were usually in yellow capsuls. At the time few of my acquaintances liked barbs and preferred ups or pot.

But they were also widely known as “goofballs” and anyone at the time knew what a goofball was. Anyone on one acted like they were really, Really, REALLY drunk, or slept for an extremely long time or both. Getting pharmaceutical grade drugs was easier at the time than it is now, BTW.

Had a purpose. :smiley:

From yet another “hopped up on goofballs” thread dating back to 2011, a poster citing a Perry Mason episode (same one?).


Goofballs from 1962 Newsweek

Goes back to 46’ in Harper’s magazine:

A mix of the two sounds rather plausible. More links …


1961 Canadian cite: