How the mighty have ballen.
Red flags: Father Brinkley’s first marriage was annulled because she was too young. He married four more times, and outlived all four of them, even though they were younger than he, and he was a doctor. He couldn’t have cured their ailments? (Run!) He married his fifth wife, Sarah Mingus, also younger (runnnnn), and moved her 24-year-old cousin, Sarah (runrunrunrun), called Sally, into the home. Sarah Mingus died (whimper) and Sally gave birth to Dr. John Brinkley, middle name Romulus. Romulus was the child of Roman myth who was abandoned by his mother (runnnnnn) and suckled by wolves (fetal position).
No one ran. It was a perfect storm. Papa created a dysfunctional home, and thus created a narcissistic child, who became a narcissistic doctor. Or “doctor”. There are serial killers that have had more functional homes with better boundaries.
Oh, and who else do we know that liked performing medicine for an audience? Hmmmmm. Another narcissistic that hurt people?
So, yeah, not too far a leap from faked Eclectic medical degrees and inserted goat balls. Oh–and marrying your teacher, because of reasons. John do what John gonna do, and if you don’t like, John just…moves to another state, or another country. So there.
Arsephenamine, aka Salvarsan, aka the cure for syphilis that was not colored water
When the FRC banned what they called “spooks” (mind readers, fortune-tellers and other mystics) from broadcasting on U.S. radio in 1932, many of them followed Brinkley’s model, opening their own border blasters in Mexico. (Wikipedia)
Of course they did. Border Radio: Quacks, Yodelers, Pitchmen, Psychics, and Other Amazing Broadcasters of the American Airwaves, Revised Edition * Bill Crawford and Gene Fowler
Brinkley, because of his radio station (not his goat balls, because, come on, goat balls), gets a shout-out on the ZZ Top song “Heard it on the X”. (XER-AM, his border blaster Mexican radio station). Makes me wonder if Wall of Voodoo’s “Mexican Radio” is a general shout-out to this era. Also, I was wondering when my opportunity to bring up that song would come. It’s here!
We can all thank Doctor B who stepped across the line. With lots of watts he took control, the first one of its kind.
When he died in 1942, he was being investigated by the IRS and the US Postal Service for fraud, and he owned a swimming pool surrounded by swastika tiles. So, there’s that. (Run.)
- 1930 newspaper article during the gubernatorial race, calling Brinkley a quack–click for pdf, thanks to Ancestry
- Kansasmemory.org: A pamphlet trumpeting the virtues of the Brinkley Hospital: “After 21 Years, A Success Story”
- Photo of Brinkley’s bizarre campaign truck, at Kansasmemory.org. It looks like a moving van, and is painted as if it is carrying heavy artillery. (Run!)
Band names from this episode:
- Mountebank (means charlatan, could feature Dr. Freeman on percussion, playing drums with the icepick, maybe?)
- The Nut Infection
- Vindication Ticket