Nuts! | Chicago Reader

Nuts!

I can't imagine anyone believing that goat glands transplanted into human reproductive organs could cure impotence, but as this lively, offbeat documentary proves, plenty of Americans did—enough to make medical charlatan John R. Brinkley a millionaire during the 1920s and '30s. Director Penny Lane (Our Nixon) shows how this small-time swindler founded Kansas radio station KFKB to plug his bogus medical practice and pharmaceuticals and, after his medical and broadcasting licenses were revoked, parlayed his wealth and celebrity into a Kansas gubernatorial bid. A cautionary tale, the documentary demonstrates how a megalomaniac with a bully pulpit can cross over from commerce and entertainment into political demagoguery.

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