VD Blues #1

A program aimed at younger viewers informing them of the dangers of and treatments for sexually transmitted diseases, hosted by Dick Cavett.

00:00Copy video clip URL Introduction for WNET/New York.

00:28Copy video clip URL The rock band Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show plays the song “Don’t Give a Dose to the One You Love Most” (written by Shel Silverstein) in concert. The camera zooms out from a spherical monitor to reveal Dick Cavett, who introduces himself as the host of VD Blues

02:00Copy video clip URL Cavett explains the basics of venereal disease (“the gift that keeps on giving… the disease of people that love people. And nowadays there are evidently a lot of young people loving young people because we’ve got a VD epidemic on our hands, and other parts of our anatomy.”), saying that the program will focus on “the two biggies: syphilis and gonorrhea. Syph and clap.”

03:22Copy video clip URL “Silverlips”, a comic skit written by Jules Feiffer, in which a woman (Marcia Redd) describes her symptoms to a doctor (Severn Darden). She worries that she is suffering from a serious disease but her doctor is too shy to tell her that she has contracted syphilis, which is treatable. She gets increasingly upset and the doctor refuses to tell her her diagnosis.When he does tell her, he responds to her relief by shaming her… to which she informs him that he is the only person she’s had sex with recently, so she got it from him. It ends with a kiss, with the doctor wearing a surgical mask. 

09:41Copy video clip URL Cavett returns, discussing the previous skit and introducing the next. “By the way, we’re gonna be speaking pretty openly here so if there are any children watching, ask any of your parents who might be easily offended to leave the room.”

11:00Copy video clip URL “Symptoms,” an informative discussion featuring a female nurse with a comically strong German accent (Aurelia de Felice)  and a male doctor with a bland American accent (Alan Langer). The two describe the symptoms of syphilis, focusing on how to recognize the early signs for both men and women and advocating for all sexually active people to get regular blood tests. 

15:05  “Carrier,” a jazzy song written by Phil Moore and performed by Novella Nelson about the difficulties of detecting “pollution within.”

18:40Copy video clip URL The nurse and doctor return to discuss gonorrhea.

23:12Copy video clip URL A brief plea to viewers to see a doctor for treatment if there is any possibility of them having contracted gonorrhea. 

23:41Copy video clip URL Cavett returrns. “A shot of penicillin for the man who has everybody.”

24:13Copy video clip URL “Play for Germs”: A skit written by Israel Horovitz in which James Coco plays Socrates the Gonorrhea Germ and Robert Drivas plays Aristotle the Syphilis Germ inside a uterus. The two argue about which disease has affected the most major figures throughout history. After Aristotle reveals that both Hitler and Mussollini contracted syphilis, Socrates is suitably impressed to allow him to stay. The two discuss the ways they affect their victims and debate the ways to afflict their current victim. “Whatchu gonna do??” “I’m goin’ for her heart!… I think I’m gonna make her BLEED! “

31:25Copy video clip URL Tape ends. “Play for Germs” continues on the next tape.



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