Sunday, September 18th at 1:00pm
Speaker Dr. Ted Merwin
Included with Admission
This multimedia lecture centers on the depiction of the Jewish doctor in twentieth-century American humor. In the early part of the century, the idea of the trusted Jewish caregiver was inherently comical, in that Jews were scorned in society. But as Jews became progressively more acculturated in the postwar era, becoming a physician represented the pinnacle of success for a Jewish child, and Jewish doctors were charged with saving their patients from overindulgence and the anxieties of affluence. Ultimately, though, as the century came to a close, Jewish doctors were seen as no longer commanding the cachet that they once had enjoyed, questioning their relationship to their heritage, and sometimes even struggling to make ends meet.
Among the clips that we will discuss: Joe Smith and Charlie Dale’s classic 1920s vaudeville routine, “Doctor Kronkheit,” Groucho Marx as the bumbling but acerbic Dr. Hugo Hackenbush in the 1930s film, “A Day at the Races,” Dr. Murray Banks’ 1960s stand-up routine, “How to Live With Yourself, or What to Do Until the Psychiatrist Comes,” Rob Morrow as Dr. Joel Fleishman in the 1990s TV series, “Northern Exposure,” and Matt Groening’s turn of the millennium animated series “Futurama” with its crustacean alien doctor, Zoidberg.