Captain Jack's Gulzar Afghanica
"The Smell Of SNL"
Captain Jack grew his first plant in college on the front lawn of his school’s national security house. It was 1966 and they were wild times. Soon, growing cannabis became a prominent passion for Captain Jack and the world of guerilla gardening became a strong presence in his life. He began sneaking off into the woods to care for his blossoming patchwork of hidden gardens.
Although he went to a prestigious New England school where he studied forestry and landscape architecture, Captain Jack built a career on intuition and the keen acumen he developed while cultivating cannabis clandestinely. His passion deepened when friends of his returned from a rare trip to the Middle East with a small surfboard shaped piece of hashish from Afghanistan.
Jack found something special in that hash and it struck him on a visceral level. Hash-making had been a 4,000 year old tradition in Afghanistan.
It imbued a sense of craft, pedigree and terroir that, for Captain Jack, set him on the trajectory of a lifetime.
Jack spent the summers of 1971 and ‘72 making trips to a remote village in the Northeast region of Afghanistan, outside of Mazar-i-Sharif, past the Hindu Kush mountain range. There, he slowly endeared himself to the village elders by working alongside them in the fields, growing and harvesting a magical plant called Gulzar Afghanica, or “Garden of Afghanica.”
By the close of the second summer, Jack had gained the respect of the elders and they honored him with a handkerchief full of special seeds, knowing he was spiritually connected to this precious varietal.
Captain Jack quickly set out to grow his own Gulzar Afghanica.
He voyaged to the West Coast United States to the fields of Mendocino where he discovered the ideal latitude and microclimate for emulating Gulzar’s Afghani homeland. Eventually, word hit the streets about Jack’s special crop—one that would nearly never cause anxiety and often would, by many accounts, have a narcotic-like effect—earning Jack’s Gulzar Afghanica the nickname, “Herowanna.”
The insatiable demand for Jack’s Afghanica caused a phenomenon. “As people found out about my plants, they began stealing them. It turned good people rotten,” says Jack. “People who would never steal a thing began stealing these plants!”
How can a cannabis plant be so incredibly coveted?
It isn’t complicated. See, Captain Jack’s philosophy is different from the prevailing philosophy in today’s growing world. His chief concern was keeping Gulzar Afghanica pure. Jack always kept close track of the mother and father plants while reproducing.
“When you mix the breeds of the plants you can wind up with heterozygous variability, wild variability,” says Jack.
Think recessive and dominant traits like Gregor Mendel’s experiments with round and wrinkled peas. Mendel was controlling for dominant traits. While keeping familial lines pure doesn’t really work for humans, it works wonderfully for plants, and Captain Jack’s been carefully preserving the earnest and unadulterated crops he brought back using his old-fashioned instincts.
In over 40 years, Jack’s plants have never been tweaked in a laboratory or compromised with chemicals. They’ve never been hybridized. They’ve only been finessed by nature and groomed by hand to maintain the sanctity of old-world Afghani cannabis—true sustained breeding.
Using beer terms, if you will, in the world of microbrews, Gulzar Afghanica is the Reinheitsgebot, as pure as it gets. It’s a wonderfully elusive bud with record high myrcene working in concert with THC, a little CBD, and other terpenes, phytonutrients and minor cannabinoids to produce an entourage effect like no other. We can’t place exactly why Captain Jack’s Gulzar Afghanica works so well, we just know it does.
It’s like grandma’s soup— doesn’t quite add up on paper, but can’t be beat in a bowl.
While Jack spends much of his time at the helm of a tuna fishing boat (it’s how he earned the title “Captain”), he eventually made it back to his East Coast roots. By a wonderful twist of fate, some New York friends of his introduced him to some friends of theirs; the cast members and writers from Saturday Night Live’s original Not Ready For Prime Time Players. Jack became a regular fixture backstage at SNL tapings...and he always brought gifts.
Needless to say, Captain Jack was warmly welcomed by the iconic cast of SNL. It was the birth of the baby boomer's creative rise, not only in comedy, but in all forms of art. Captain Jack still won't confirm or deny if Billy Joel's “Captain Jack Will Get You High Tonight!” is about him or not, but Jack's marvelous marijuana was right there in the mix of it all.
We also can’t say for certain if there’d be The Coneheads, John Belushi’s Samurai, or even The Blues Brothers if it weren’t for Captain Jack. But we can say this: 30 Rockefeller Plaza was filled with the aroma of Captain Jack’s famous goods, and the powers-that-be let that sweet smoke swirl.
“In those days, you could do no wrong backstage at 30 Rock. That cast was too valuable to NBC,” says Jack.
Captain Jack’s a great person to know. It’s why his Gulzar Afghanica became “The Smell of SNL.”
It was a staple at all the after parties, too.