All notes filed under:

Chronological Distortion

True but presented out of order.

005 00:01:21 Dialogue: “Brinkley had a diploma”
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Timecode: 00:01:21

Dialogue: “Brinkley had a diploma”

“On May 7, 1915, the Eclectic Medical University of Kansas City presented him with a certificate signed by its president, Dr. Date R. Alexander. To become an alumnus of E.M.U. (later described in court proceedings as ‘vague, obliging and long defunct’) cost Brinkley one hundred dollars and got him licensed in eight states” (Brock, 25). …

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“On May 7, 1915, the Eclectic Medical University of Kansas City presented him with a certificate signed by its president, Dr. Date R. Alexander. To become an alumnus of E.M.U. (later described in court proceedings as ‘vague, obliging and long defunct’) cost Brinkley one hundred dollars and got him licensed in eight states” (Brock, 25). So: yes, he had this diploma (and a number of other diplomas and accreditations), but it doesn’t mean what you might think it means.

On a separate note, the narrator claims here that he received this diploma in 1917, and then married Minnie, and then moved to Milford all in the same year. This is not chronologically accurate; we’re compressing these events (and leaving a lot out) for flow and clarity.

007 00:01:26 Dialogue: “He married a pretty young woman”

Timecode: 00:01:26

Dialogue: “He married a pretty young woman”

All true (they married August 23, 1913), but actually this was his second marriage. His first marriage was to Sally Wike on January 27, 1907. According to Wood, Brinkley met Sally Wike at the funeral for his Aunt Sally. Since Aunt Sally died on December 25, 1906, that would make their courtship pretty brief: about …

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All true (they married August 23, 1913), but actually this was his second marriage. His first marriage was to Sally Wike on January 27, 1907. According to Wood, Brinkley met Sally Wike at the funeral for his Aunt Sally. Since Aunt Sally died on December 25, 1906, that would make their courtship pretty brief: about one month. Again according to Wood, this marriage produced three daughters and ended when Sally left him.

Incidentally, Minnie and John also married after an exceptionally brief courtship (four days).

039 00:06:33 Image: Hospital

Timecode: 00:06:33

Image: Hospital

This drawing is based on photos of Brinkley’s second hospital in Milford, which he built sometime in the 1920s. The first one, which would be more accurate to this moment in time, looks too much like a house and not enough like a hospital. Also, that first hospital was called the Brinkley-Jones Hospital (Jones being …

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This drawing is based on photos of Brinkley’s second hospital in Milford, which he built sometime in the 1920s. The first one, which would be more accurate to this moment in time, looks too much like a house and not enough like a hospital. Also, that first hospital was called the Brinkley-Jones Hospital (Jones being the name of one of Minnie’s relatives, who apparently co-invested in the place), and we didn’t want to confuse things with that title.

059 00:08:12 Dialogue: “You’re listening to the voice of”

Timecode: 00:08:12

Dialogue: “You’re listening to the voice of”

This radio broadcast is actually from later (c. 1939) and was recorded at a different radio station (XERA) Brinkley built in Mexico. We know of no extant recordings of KFKB broadcasts.

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This radio broadcast is actually from later (c. 1939) and was recorded at a different radio station (XERA) Brinkley built in Mexico. We know of no extant recordings of KFKB broadcasts.

060 00:08:25 Dialogue: headline “Broadcaster of Kansas”

Timecode: 00:08:25

Dialogue: headline “Broadcaster of Kansas”

This image is also from way later, from the Mexican radio days. (From here on out, we aren’t going to note every headline or photo used just slightly out of context; we’ll just mention if it’s actually interesting!)

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This image is also from way later, from the Mexican radio days. (From here on out, we aren’t going to note every headline or photo used just slightly out of context; we’ll just mention if it’s actually interesting!)

061 00:08:29 Dialogue: “Do you have gland disease?”

Timecode: 00:08:29

Dialogue: “Do you have gland disease?”

This radio broadcast is actually from later (c. 1939) and was recorded at a different radio station (XERA) Brinkley built in Mexico. We know of no extant recordings of KFKB broadcasts. We’re doing our best to edit this broadcast to make sense in 1923, and to make Brinkley seem to be talking about impotence and …

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This radio broadcast is actually from later (c. 1939) and was recorded at a different radio station (XERA) Brinkley built in Mexico. We know of no extant recordings of KFKB broadcasts. We’re doing our best to edit this broadcast to make sense in 1923, and to make Brinkley seem to be talking about impotence and the goat gland cure. In fact he’s talking about all kinds of other hokum, mostly having to do with the prostate.

065 00:08:44 Dialogue: “Broadcasting at 5,000 watts”

Timecode: 00:08:44

Dialogue: “Broadcasting at 5,000 watts”

When it began broadcasting in October 1923, KFKB operated at 500 watts, not 5,000. According to news reports, the signal was picked up “in Canada and by steamers in the Atlantic Ocean.” Over the years, Brinkley applied for and got approval for a signal boost to 1,500 and then 5,000 watts by 1927. So we’re …

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When it began broadcasting in October 1923, KFKB operated at 500 watts, not 5,000. According to news reports, the signal was picked up “in Canada and by steamers in the Atlantic Ocean.”

Over the years, Brinkley applied for and got approval for a signal boost to 1,500 and then 5,000 watts by 1927. So we’re not inventing the “5,000 watts” part; we’re just compressing time to make his station as powerful now as it would be one day.

070 00:09:17 Dialogue: “You men and you women…”

Timecode: 00:09:17

Dialogue: “You men and you women…”

This radio broadcast is actually from later (c. 1939) and was recorded at a different radio station (XERA) Brinkley built in Mexico. We know of no extant recordings of KFKB broadcasts. We’re doing our best to edit this broadcast to make sense in 1923, and to make Brinkley seem to be talking about impotence and …

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Keywords:

This radio broadcast is actually from later (c. 1939) and was recorded at a different radio station (XERA) Brinkley built in Mexico. We know of no extant recordings of KFKB broadcasts. We’re doing our best to edit this broadcast to make sense in 1923, and to make Brinkley seem to be talking about impotence and the goat gland cure. In fact he’s talking about a prostate operation which later became a specialty of his.

075 00:10:24 Dialogue: “Mrs. Brinkley and I appreciate”

Timecode: 00:10:24

Dialogue: “Mrs. Brinkley and I appreciate”

This radio broadcast is actually from later (c. 1939) and was recorded at a different radio station (XERA) Brinkley built in Mexico. We know of no extant recordings of KFKB broadcasts.

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This radio broadcast is actually from later (c. 1939) and was recorded at a different radio station (XERA) Brinkley built in Mexico. We know of no extant recordings of KFKB broadcasts.

130 00:22:01 Dialogue: “Brinkley then travelled”

Timecode: 00:22:01

Dialogue: “Brinkley then travelled”

Actually, the FRC hearing came first (in May 1930) and then the Medical Board hearing took place six weeks later in July. We changed the order for better narrative flow.

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Actually, the FRC hearing came first (in May 1930) and then the Medical Board hearing took place six weeks later in July. We changed the order for better narrative flow.

149 00:27:20 Dialogue: “The higher I bounce”

Timecode: 00:27:20

Dialogue: “The higher I bounce”

Brinkley really did say, “the harder they hit me the higher I bounce!” at at least one point in his life, but did not, as far as we know, use it as a slogan.

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Brinkley really did say, “the harder they hit me the higher I bounce!” at at least one point in his life, but did not, as far as we know, use it as a slogan.

150 00:27:28 Image: [interjection at this point in the story]

Timecode: 00:27:28

Image: [interjection at this point in the story]

Brinkley actually ran for Kansas Governor three times, in 1930, 1932 and 1934. Some of the details of this sequence are “borrowed” from the other two gubernatorial races, which we left out of the film for narrative flow.

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Brinkley actually ran for Kansas Governor three times, in 1930, 1932 and 1934. Some of the details of this sequence are “borrowed” from the other two gubernatorial races, which we left out of the film for narrative flow.

190 00:36:18 Dialogue: “One million watts”

Timecode: 00:36:18

Dialogue: “One million watts”

Another compression of time. XER’s signal was initially 50,000, 75,000 or 100,000 watts in 1931, depending on the source. In 1932, Mexico authorized an increase to 500,000 watts, but then Mexico shut the station down altogether. It wasn’t until it reopened as XERA that the station boasted a new 500,000-watt transmitter and an innovative antenna …

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Another compression of time. XER’s signal was initially 50,000, 75,000 or 100,000 watts in 1931, depending on the source. In 1932, Mexico authorized an increase to 500,000 watts, but then Mexico shut the station down altogether.

It wasn’t until it reopened as XERA that the station boasted a new 500,000-watt transmitter and an innovative antenna system that Brinkley claimed gave it the “effective transmitting power” of one megawatt, or one million watts. XERA’s advertising emphasized the claim that XERA was “the world’s most powerful broadcasting station,” and probably it was, but it’s also hard to verify.

We found at least one 1931 news clipping reporting that XER was “75,000 watts, or about 25,000 watts more than the most powerful station in the US.” In 1932, we found news clippings stating that XER began at 50,000 and gradually increased to 80,000, and that Brinkley intended to increase further to 150,000, “8,000 watts less than the world’s largest at Warsaw, Poland.”

207 00:38:38 Image: Newspaper clipping, “Remote Control”

Timecode: 00:38:38

Image: Newspaper clipping, “Remote Control”

This is another example of compressing time: Brinkley maintained a home in Milford for quite some time after he built XER. (If you look at the photo caption here, it references Kansas.) He also kept the Brinkley Hospital in Milford open, letting other people run the operations and surgery, while he built things up down …

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This is another example of compressing time: Brinkley maintained a home in Milford for quite some time after he built XER. (If you look at the photo caption here, it references Kansas.) He also kept the Brinkley Hospital in Milford open, letting other people run the operations and surgery, while he built things up down south. It wasn’t until late in 1933 that he finally left Milford for good, bringing over 30 employees with him, setting up the new Brinkley Hospital at the Roswell Hotel and buying this massive estate in Del Rio.

This “remote control” setup, which was just a fancy phone line, actually allowed him to broadcast from Kansas to Mexico! (Also see note 183 on how the citizens of Milford felt about Brinkley’s abandonment of their town!)

227 00:44:49 Dialogue: “Sexual weakness”

Timecode: 00:44:49

Dialogue: “Sexual weakness”

This speech by Brinkley, in which he announces his wonderful new breakthrough, is an amalgamation of many different moments. We’re condensing a lot of things together here for flow and simplification. He stopped offering the goat gland surgery in 1933 (not in 1937 as suggested here), and offered instead “glandular preparations” or “commercial preparations” (whatever …

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This speech by Brinkley, in which he announces his wonderful new breakthrough, is an amalgamation of many different moments. We’re condensing a lot of things together here for flow and simplification.

He stopped offering the goat gland surgery in 1933 (not in 1937 as suggested here), and offered instead “glandular preparations” or “commercial preparations” (whatever that means) instead. But we’re making it seem as if these “preparations” were known as Formula 1020, which they weren’t; Formula 1020 was a different treatment. Basically, Formula 1020 was colored water given to all post-operative patients and was meant to increase a patient’s white blood cell count. Really, it was just one of many quack remedies sold by Brinkley; we only bring up Formula 1020 because it becomes important in the libel trial later.

Also, notice that now all of the sudden the goat glands aren’t just for impotence? We’re finally sharing the information that the goat gland surgery was acually a miracle cure-all good for almost anything that ails you! A good sample of the conditions Brinkley claimed to cure with goat glands can be found in Shadows and Sunshine, John R. Brinkley, published by John R. Brinkley, Milford Kansas, 1923 (or later in the film, at the end of the first day of the libel trial).

253 00:51:09 Dialogue: “The testimony provided by patients”

Timecode: 00:51:09

Dialogue: “The testimony provided by patients”

It is true that the judge decided in this case that patients would not be allowed to testify, though not quite as immediately as we’ve portrayed it: “Judge McMillan took a long night to think it over. Next morning he announced his decision. ‘Gentlemen, I am of the opinion that the specific instances of malpractice couldn’t be …

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It is true that the judge decided in this case that patients would not be allowed to testify, though not quite as immediately as we’ve portrayed it:

“Judge McMillan took a long night to think it over. Next morning he announced his decision. ‘Gentlemen, I am of the opinion that the specific instances of malpractice couldn’t be shown, nor could specific instances of good result obtained by [Brinkley] be shown… [If the attempt were made], it would open up an unlimited field of evidence in which, maybe, seventy five or a hundred patients might appear and, for some reason or other, claim they had been benefited, and seventy five or a hundred might appear on the other side and claim they had been mistrated or hadn’t been benefited, and the first thing you know the drial would deteriorate from a trial of issues before the court and jury to one of prejudice and passion and feeling… I don’t think that kind of evidence is admissable'” (Brock, 239-240).

268 00:55:07 Dialogue: “The formula replaces the gland”

Timecode: 00:55:07

Dialogue: “The formula replaces the gland”

See note 227 on how we’ve conflated Formula 1020 with the “glandular preparations” he has replaced the goat gland surgery with.

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See note 227 on how we’ve conflated Formula 1020 with the “glandular preparations” he has replaced the goat gland surgery with.

283 01:03:50 Dialogue: “You were nowhere near Johns Hopkins in 1902”
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Timecode: 01:03:50

Dialogue: “You were nowhere near Johns Hopkins in 1902”

We’re condensing a lot into this section, but it is true that Brinkley’s early life selling snake oil both with and without his first wife Sally was an important part of the evidence presented in this trial.

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We’re condensing a lot into this section, but it is true that Brinkley’s early life selling snake oil both with and without his first wife Sally was an important part of the evidence presented in this trial.

285 01:04:34 Dialogue: “You were incarcerated in Greenville, SC”
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Timecode: 01:04:34

Dialogue: “You were incarcerated in Greenville, SC”

True: Brinkley had been arrested for the colored water scam in Greenville, SC. Not true: it was on the very same day he claimed to be graduating. So: a chronological distortion for effect.

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True: Brinkley had been arrested for the colored water scam in Greenville, SC.
Not true: it was on the very same day he claimed to be graduating.
So: a chronological distortion for effect.

291 01:07:04 Dialogue: “Have you ever performed a surgery while intoxicated?”

Timecode: 01:07:04

Dialogue: “Have you ever performed a surgery while intoxicated?”

These damning affidavits are real, but they actually came from the 1930 medical board hearing, not this trial.

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These damning affidavits are real, but they actually came from the 1930 medical board hearing, not this trial.