Oh, say, can you see? 'C' stands for 'cocaine'...

According to the Wiki article on Puff, The Magic Dragon:

I saw this concert on TV. Now, my sister was a teenager when Peter, Paul & Mary were active; so I picked up a bit of PP&M by osmosis. I remember watching what I think is the first PBS presentation of a PP&M concert sometime in the '70s. I remembered them from when I was a wee’un, so I made a point of watching.

Paul did a little monologue on the alleged drug references in Puff and, as Wiki says, took on The Star-Spangles Banner" ‘Oh, say, can you see? “C” stands for “cocaine”…’

Can anyone verify that the concert in question was on PBS? That it was the first PBS PP&M concert? Is there any video online of that part of the concert?

(And while I’m at it, where is the video of PP&M on The Jack Benny Show where they and Benny did a bit about confusing their names?)


I think that probably came at a time when the “media” were examining many songs thought to contain “drug” references, right?

Case in point being that happy little Beatles song YELLOW SUBMARINE, yes?

So while I cannot help you in your search, may I offer a “Quasi-ism”?

To be taken with a grain of “anti-dementia salt”, of course.

What if, instead of succumbing to their promoters’ stupid “explanations”, all of them just threw up their arms and said…

“Well, Hell-Yeah, that’s what the damn song is about , you Cretins! How many people do YOU know who have the last name of Paper. and hang out with some reptile “conveniently” called Puff, fer Chrissakes!?”

([Monty Python Answer] “Could be a juvenile arsonist, ah s’pose”[/Monty Python Answer])

Yes, dammit! Peter, Paul and Mary get high, and Julian Lennon is a “victim” of his daddy’s lies! So how about we legalize it, and avoid all kinds of murder, mayhem and disasters down the road, huh, Ossifer?”

(this took me 45 minutes to write, godammit. The synapses ain’t synapsin’ like they used to)


Maybe, but I can totally see John Cleese saying ‘Could be a juvenile arsonist.’ :slight_smile:

PP&M (and Lenny Lipton) have always maintained the song is about growing up, and most definitely not about marijuana. ‘Fighting ignorance since 1963. (It’s taking longer than we thought!)’

I do clearly remember Peter’s bit where he said ‘“C” stands for “cocaine”.’ What I don’t remember is if he continued with The Star-Spangled Banner by saying, ‘“By the dawn’s early light” is when most marijuana smokers light their first joint…’

C is for cocaine, that’s good enough for me
C is for cocaine, thats good enough for me
C is for cocaine, that’s good enough for me
Oh, cocaine,cocaine, cocaine starts with C


I have spoken with Peter Yarrow personally about Puff the Magic Dragon, and he assured me it is in no way about drugs, and never was- it is about hope.

Anecdote, not data, but from the man himself.

I’ve never doubted that the song is not about drugs. Just trying to find out when (what concert, when it was aired on PBS) Peter did the SSB thing.