Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sterling Holloway in Frank Capra's Hemo The Magnificent (1957)

This is another post suggested by my friend Carol. It's part of a series of films made for television in the 50's and early 60's by the Bell Telephone System. All of them explore different aspects of science for a junior audience. As we explore the wonders of Hemo (Greek for blood), we learn not only about the life giving substance, but also the system that circulates it through the body. Along the way we meet members of the animal kingdom who serve as the audience for Dr. Research (Frank C. Baxter) and Mr. Fiction Writer (Richard Carlson) who explain the ins and outs of circulation and the nature of blood. It's not all sunshine and puppy dogs, however. Hemo isn't at all sure that science is the best discipline to explain him with, and refers to the circulatory system as "just plumbing."Sterling Holloway has a short, uncredited cameo as the projector operator at the beginning of the film. Also listen for the voices of Mel Blanc and June Foray in the animated sequences. If you're at all squeamish about peering inside the human body, then be prepared to look away.

This production and many of the other Bell Telephone science programs are available on DVD. Hemo is paired with one called Unchained Goddess. It's also available in full on YouTube. Part one (of two) is above.

Obscurity factor: 8 (on DVD and YouTube, remembered by some, otherwise largely forgotten)


  1. Wow - we watched Hemo the Magnificent in elementary school - I always thought it was cool - thanks for bringing that memory back!

  2. We had these in elementary school as well, both Hemo the Magnificent and The Unchained Goddess. There were others in the series as well, but I've forgotten them.

  3. Yes, Our Mr. Sun was another...

  4. Oh of course, "Our Mr. Sun"-how could I have forgotten?