Tuesday 7 February 2017

Goat Glands, Anyone? John Romulus Brinkley

If it hadn't been for my son mentioning him the other day, I might never have heard of John Romulus Brinkley, quack doctor extraordinaire and inadvertent radio pioneer.  My son had come across him in a podcast, which I duly attempted to listen to, but, podcasts being at the outer limits of my techno capacity, it duly gave up on me after a few minutes. So I went to Wikipedia to get the facts about John Romulus Brinkley - and they are truly jaw-dropping, even for the times and places he was operating in. Read and marvel...
 Brinkley has been the subject of a fairly recent biography, and of a documentary film, but his life reads like something out of fiction, and it's surprising it hasn't inspired or fed into a novel - did he perhaps make a cameo appearance in Stanley Elkin's The Dick Gibson Show? Dr Reo Symes in Charles Portis's The Dog of the South is cut from much the same cloth as Brinkley, as is Austin Popper in Masters of Atlantis. And what might the Coen Brothers make of the John Romulus Brinkley story...?


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  2. Thank you for such an entertaining read. No charlatan like that, using broadcasting and with doubtful tax behaviour, could possibly succeed in politics today either...

  3. The gaudy bronze angel marking his final resting place was stolen just a couple of weeks ago. The Facebook post announcing the theft is a masterpiece of random punctuation and a fitting coda to his bizarre career.