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The story of cortisone

Identifier: Film Collection no. 86

Scope and Contents

The subject of the program is the discovery of cortisone as a treatment for arthritis. Studies indicate that symptoms of arthritis can be traced back to prehistoric dinosaurs. Dinosaur fossils from the Jurassic period of more that 150 million years ago, show signs of arthritis. A painful disease for both men and women through the ages, arthritis continues to afflict modern man. It was not until chemist Edward Calvin Kendall and physician Philip Showalter Hench discovered cortisone that relief became available. Their isolation of cortisone from the cortex of the adrenal gland and the synthesis of the compound won them the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1950. The Nobel Prize was shared with Tadeus Reichstein of Switzerland. Interviewed on the broadcast are Kendall and Charles Slocumb, an associate of Hench at the Mayo Clinic. Films from the State University Arthritis Clinic at King's County Hospital in Brooklyn, N.Y., demonstrate the patient's condition before and after the administration of cortisone. The guests discuss the extensive research which led up to the discovery of cortisone, its power to alleviate pain, and the harmful side effects which sometimes result from its use.


  • 1954


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Not available through inter-library loan. Contact AMNH Library Special Collections for terms of access.


1 Film Reel (30 minutes) : sound, black and white ; 16 mm.

1 Videocassette (U-Matic (30 minutes)) : sound, black and white ; 3/4 in.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

3/4 in., U-Matic, viewing copy

Other Finding Aids

Finding aid: script.


Original format: 16mm kinescope.


Originally aired Dec. 5, 1954 as part of the CBS/AMNH Adventure television series.



Robert Northshield, host; Mel Ferber, director; Perry Wolff, producer; Robert Northshield and Jac Venza, assistant producers; Shelby Gordon and Frank deFelitta, script editors; Irwin Blacker, writer; Joan Woodward, associate director; Grover Cole, production design; Bernard Birnbaum, supervisor of film; Al Mifelow, program assistant; Perry Miller, film research; J. Jack Howerton, technical director; Myron Bleam, set director; Dean Nelson, lighting; Dee Chandler, program coordinator.

The story of cortisone, 1954
Iris Lee
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Museum Archives at the Gottesman Research Library Repository

American Museum of Natural History
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New York NY 10024 USA
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