Cartoon Medicine Show

I wish I could go see this– I’d love to see these cartoons.

From the silent era to the present, physicians, health professionals, governmental agencies, like the U.S. Public Health Service, and voluntary associations, such as the American Cancer Society, have sought to use motion pictures to advance medical science, train doctors and nurses, and educate the public.

“The Cartoon Medicine Show: Animated Cartoons from the Collection of the National Library of Medicine,” curated by Michael Sappol of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), will feature a rich sampling of rarely screened animated medical cartoons from the 1920s to the 1960s.

The film series will present a variety of medical themes and genres, including dental hygiene, physical fitness, physiology, mental health, malaria, venereal disease, cancer, radiology, biological warfare, and sanitary food preparation. Each evening will consist of 10 to15 short animated medical cartoons by animators both obscure and well-known, including Walt Disney, Friz Freleng, Zack Schwartz, Walter Lantz, and Shamus Culhane.

Distinguished film historian Donald Crafton and medical historians Michael Sappol and David Cantor will provide commentary. Donald Crafton is chair of the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of Before Mickey: The Animated Film, 1898-1928 (MIT Press, 1984). Michael Sappol is a curator-historian at the NLM. His scholarly work focuses on the cultural history of the body, the history of anatomy, the history of medical illustration, and the history of medicine in film. He is the author of A Traffic of Dead Bodies (Princeton University Press, 2002). NLM historian David Cantor is the editor of Reinventing Hippocrates (Ashgate, 2002). His scholarly work focuses on the history of twentieth-century medicine, most recently the history of cancer.