New at Reason: In the 1940s Kroger Babb, "America's Fearless Young Showman," dispatched teams of fake doctors and nurses around the country to promote Mom and Dad, the Citizen Kane of sex hygiene films. For their box office buck, audiences got not only timely lectures about venereal diseases and teen pregnancy but onscreen shots of syphilitic sex organs and live childbirths. Joe Bob Briggs tells the whole sordid, inspiring tale.
And in the plus ?a change department: Shortly after finishing Briggs' article, I had the misfortune to catch the Robert Altman joint Dr. T's 3-D House of Stewardesses, with Richard Gere as a lovable OB/GYN. That movie runs so completely out of steam that in the last scene the maverick director is forced to throw in a real onscreen, open-box childbirth shot, just so we can't say we didn't get our money's worth. Clearly, there's still some continuity in Hollywood marketing.