Dr. Hip Pocrates

1969 | 01:00:59 | United States | English | B&W | Mono | 4:3 | 1/2" open reel video

Collection: Videofreex Archive, Single Titles

Tags: Documentation, Health, Journalism

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In this tape, the Videofreex record their visit with Dr. Eugene Schoenfeld, then recognized widely for his popular medical advice column, Dear Dr. Hip Pocrates, which doled out information about sex and drugs. At the time of this session in November 1969, Schoenfeld had recently published a book based on his advice column, and was also serving as a member of the editorial board of Modern Medicine. His efforts to “free” medical knowledge coincided with a growing movement in the American medical field, in which doctors and students began to openly fight for health care for all, demanding it be treated as a human right rather than a privilege.

Though Schoenfeld’s advice column would eventually appear in over one hundred mainstream and counterculture newspapers by the end of the 1970s, the Freex’s video session offers an intimate view of Schoenfeld at an early point in his career. Throughout the video, Schoenfeld opens his fan mail letters and reads several aloud. The inquiries he shares span topics of nose jobs, abortion, female douching, and various drugs, soliciting different responses from his friends gathered. This video not only provides a snapshot of the medical interests and concerns of American citizens in the1960s, but also typifies the playful and collaborative atmosphere that counterculture figures, like Schoenfeld and the Videofreex, cultivated through a shared commitment to human rights activism and the freedom of expression.

Schoenfeld received his medical degree from the University of Miami School of Medicine in 1961, and later received a National Broadcasters Association Award in 1976 for his radio show “Ask Dr. Hip,” often credited as the first call-in medical show. He currently works as a psychiatrist in the Bay area.

— Faye Gleisser