He says he was just an actor, and didn't believe any of it …
In one more sign of how completely flipped the country has changed in its relationship to drugs, the actor who once cracked an egg in a frying pan while scolding the youth of America with, "This is your brain on drugs," cast his vote to legalize recreational marijuana in California.
John Roselius has had a strong career in Hollywood as a stuntman and star in TV shows such as Starsky and Hutch and in movies The Truman Show and Con-Air. But it was one Saturday morning's worth of work shooting the 1987 anti-drug ad — the height of Reagan-era "Just Say No" propaganda — where Roselius hulked over a stove in a grim apartment and asked: "Any questions?"
That particular scene helped frighten millions of kids away from pursuing viable education about drugs and etched his disappointed dad face into the public's ignorance. To this day, he says people on the street still call him “Egg Guy.”
Twenty-eight years later, the Egg Guy spent another afternoon mailing in his ballot to the California government, voting "yes" on the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.
"I'm 100 percent behind legalizing it, are you kidding?" he asks. "It's healthier than alcohol. And the violence is 99 percent down from alcohol."
As 5 states vote to legalize recreational marijuana on Nov. 8, Roselius is joining the majority of adults who will likely vote for legalization in all five. He’s a part of the 60 percent of Americans who now support marijuana legalization.
Roselius is currently recovering from a heart transplant, and says he’d consider smoking pot for the pain — though he hasn't yet. He also admits that marijuana doesn't fry your brain like an egg in hot cast iron. In fact, he knew it didn't even when he made the ad. How? Because he'd smoked a bunch of it, mostly during the 1960s, when he was living in San Francisco, often on the dock at lunchtime, often with his other buddies in the Marines. "It was the most relaxed I ever was," he said. He also did coke a couple times in the ‘80s. And says it was fine.
So why'd he do it the ad? Money, he says. He made $360 for a few hours of work. Although, he didn't think it would become famous and run for 14 years. He's still angry at the Partnership for a Drug Free America, the ad-makers, for not paying him royalties on it — or "holding fees."
"They're dishonest," he admits.
Roselius is just an actor, but it's shocking to hear one of the strongest voices in the War on Drugs say he always knew that what he was portrayed wasn't totally accurate. But the way Roselius handled drugs back then was similar to the way a lot of America handled it. Roselius had his public stance, which treated drugs like they were poison, and then he had his private experience with drugs, which was innocuous … even positive.
"You ever noticed when you smoked weed, how music is?" he asked, rhetorically. "I was smoking a joint, and I was listening to a stereo and I thought I was the drum. And I'm laughing and laughing and I'm happy. I'm the drum. I'm the drum! You understand? And nobody was punching anybody in the face or calling you an m-f'er."
Roselius says he also experienced one of pot's only downsides. "Instead of two hot dogs for lunch, you'd eat six," he jokes. But all drugs have downsides. At the time he filmed the commercial, he admits he was an alcoholic. It clouded his mind and fuzzied up his memory. He's been sober 28 years now. But if he had to choose, today, between a beer and a joint, he'd pick the joint.
Aside from pot and cocaine, he’s never tried any other drugs like mushrooms or LSD, because he says "mushrooms are bad" and LSD makes people "jump out the fifth story window."
Oh well. Some myths die harder than others.