Here’s the clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUQuj9elPqg
Google Books must have added a lot of new sources since this thread started. Perry Mason is out.
The Senate hearings on Juvenile Delinquency got massive publicity, so that’s probably the source.
The Harper’s story is “The Women on the Wall” by Wallace Stegner. You can see it being an easy step from “She’s hopped up.” “On what?” “Goofballs.” to a phrase.
The first use of goofballs I find is 1932.
Definitely not marijuana.
"Shooting (paregoric) is a terrible hassle, you have to burn out the alcohol first, then freeze out the camphor and draw this brown liquid off with a dropper—have to shoot it in the vein or you get an abscess, and usually end up with an abscess no matter where you shoot it. Best deal is to drink it with goof balls … So we pour it in a Pernod bottle and start for New Orleans past iridescent lakes and orange gas flares, and swamps and garbage heaps, alligators crawling around in broken bottles and tin cans, neon arabesques of motels, marooned pimps scream obscenities at passing cars from islands of rubbish … New Orleans is a dead museum."
- William S. Burroughs
If you date her, you hit the jackpot.
I hear “hopped up on goofballs” in Danny De Vito’s voice. Did he say this in LA CONFIDENTIAL?
A Dictionary of the Underworld* by Eric Partridge (Bonanza Books, 1961):
Hopped up. “Intoxicated on opium,” Geo. C. Henderson, Keys to Crookdom, 1924; “They do their shooting when they are all hopped up with dope,” Charles F. Coe, Me-Gangster, 1927.
Goof-ball, is an occ. variant of goof-butt. The American Thesaurus of Slang, 1942.
Goof-butt. “’Reefers,’ or ‘goof-butts’, as the marijuana cigarettes were called,” Mary Sullivan, My Double Life, 1939.
From the same source as post #66 (I forgot to look in the appendix):
A smoker of marijuana cigarettes; drug traffic; since ca. 1940. Fishman, Nov. 1947. Sense 2 is suspect.
A barbiturate; since ca. 1940. Sherman S. Wilse, in Time, Aug. 28 1950., “A goof ball is a nemmie (from Nembutal, trade name for a certain barbiturate), Geronimo, bomber, or any other barbiturate or sleeping pill”; Dr. Simpson “Digs U.S. Crime Lingo”; in The Daily Telegraph, March 2, 1959.
There are older cites, but in the context of pop culture I think Kevin Meaney popularized the ironic use of the expression, probably in the voice of his mother.
It came from culture? Before the internet we just knew stuff. We watched a lot of TV. It never came up where we first heard something, because that was in the mists of time. We knew it was old though. The whole point is that it sounds old, so even without the eytimology you know it came from real life via radio, films and tv. And you know the later the usage the more ironic or old it is meant to be.
The editors of the O.E.D. would beg to differ.
My point is that I can believe “hopped out” and “goofball” were at some point legitimate drug slang in some city (not even necessarily the same one) but you likely won’t find the originator. The full construction “hopped out on goofballs” was more likely invented by someone trying evoke legitimate street slang, so by the time it got vulgarized and grandma picked it up from Perry Mason, it always sounded funny to anyone familiar with their own local drug slang.
Kevin Meaney says it here in his 1986 HBO special, but I can find the bit where it’s repeated multiple times for effect: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IC4__nBya0&feature=youtu.be&t=2548
I can’t find it, now I’m thinking it might have been Larry Miller.
Just watched an episode of Perry Mason where the terms “goofball” and “hopped up on goofballs” was used. The episode was The Case of the Silent Six. it originally aired November 21, 1965, long before The Simpsons, but not sure in context to Dragnet… same time period though.
I have a vivid memory of skateboarding with a tiny transistor radio hanging on my neck, cheap earplugs inserted, listening to XERB (The Mighty Ten-Ninety) and Wolfman Jack saying, “He’s all messed up on goofballs” circa 1960.
I didn’t realize until a dozen posts in that this was a zombie. But I did notice that 9 people created an account and their only post ever was in this thread. Lots of people goggling “hopped up on goofballs” over the years.
Neither did I. But I did find the Perry Mason clip referenced by Beezer725.*
Incidentally, I have a vague memory about reading in a Heinlein juvenile a scene where the First Person narrator was slogging through the jungles of Venus, when a Venusian slithered from the swampy underbrush and asked him for a “thigarek.” It seems that when Earthlings began exploiting Venus’s natural resources, they introduced the indigenous population to tobacco. The Venusians were apparently susceptible to mind-altering effects from nicotine (including chemical dependency).
Later in the book, a character mentions having encountered Venusians who were “hopped up on cigarettes.”
*I also found this, and may God have mercy on my soul.
I swear I saw it in a Perry Mason episode. The Case if the Guy Hepped Up On Goofballs. I think Hank Azaria played the killer.
But it probably isn’t true. No video has ever been found.