Category Archives: pop culture

More Trashy Nurse Books

Time for another shameful glimpse into the vanished world of tawdry nurse novels. In this installment, we move from the stereotypical hospital courtship romances toward the seamier world of male fantasy.  Thanks to Curt Purcell’s fabulous Flickr set for these examples.


Not exactly a sensitive portrayal of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.  And who knew PTSS could produce glowing yellow eyes!


Join the sexual revolution and get it on with these nurses who can both share and treat STDs!


TWO daring novels in ONE book.  Breaking all the rules here!  Including the rule that fantasy nurses are required to wear nurse caps regardless of their state of undress.


Got it right this time!  The cap stays on!

Inappropriate Playthings

We’re always collecting pictures related to medical, health, safety, and the like, but sometimes other themes emerge. Like with these three otherwise unrelated images all representing things that probably shouldn’t be given to children but apparently were.

This painting by Dutch artist Jan van Neck depicts the great anatomist Frederick Ruysch dissecting a stillborn infant as part of an anatomy lesson. However, it’s not so much the dissected baby that caught our eye as the child (Ruysch’s son?) who’s been invited in to rubberneck. And in particular it’s that fetal skeleton the kid’s apparently been given as a toy.


Probably not quite as dangerous as it sounds, but still alarming if nothing else for its pro-nuke propaganda, this item was produced by the A.C. Gilbert Company in 1950. It contained a geiger counter, cloud chamber, electroscope, spinthariscope, and some genuine radioisotopes just to get things popping. Gilbert was also the inventor of the classic engineering toy, the Erector Set, (which, come to think of it, is also a kind of inappropriate at least as far as that name goes.)


And speaking of “Erectors,” the Tumblr wonderland Mostly Forbidden Zone dug up this wrong-headed attempt to — what? — make oxygen more fun to breathe? I wasn’t aware children needed additional incentive other than the threat of suffocation when it came to breathing, but even if your normal oxygen tank might be less than inviting to particularly sensitive respiratory patients, I’m not sure encouraging them to “suck on the candy tube until you make the clown’s eyes roll,” is really putting the right idea in their heads. Or maybe I just overly suspicious of clowns.


More Bizarre Nurse Romance Novels

More nurse romance cover art today. These gems come from among the 307 volumes in the collection of Tiny Pineapple. Check them out!


“She had not expected to find romance on this assignment–but then, almost everything at the Indian Service Hospital had come as a surprise,” says the back cover.

With a waist cinched like that, can’t we assume her brain is probably in a perpetual state of circulatory distress easily confused for surprise?  She seems to be putting a good (if slightly manic) face on it though.  We hope her relationship with that Kachina is all she dreamed it would be.


“Then there was Chad and the promise of love and fame he offered Julie, sharing his roaming, exciting life as a folksinger.”

Folksinger and inveterate womanizer maybe?  Yes, glamor waits in the wings.  Some day she’ll surely join in on stage — when he barks for a replacement for his broken string.


“But could the quiet, competent nurse hope to win her man when Tina whirled, glittering, out of the spotlight and into his arms?”

Ice skating rivalry?  Sounds like someone’s in for the “Tonya Harding” treatment.


“Fascinating Clyde McLaren, a strong candidate for the moon shot, was brilliant and quite friendly. Or did he want more than friendship?”

Sounds like that uniform of hers is primed for a lift-off.


This is can’t be as bad as the cover, can it?  Is that possible?

Naughty, Naughty Roentgen Rays


(image via

I’m full of daze,
Shock and amaze;
For nowadays
I hear they’ll gaze
Thro’ cloak and gown — and even stays,
These naughty, naughty Roentgen Rays.

This little ditty from 1896 sums up the prurient interest that Wilhelm Roentgen’s invention of X-ray technology immediately… err… “aroused.”

By the 1930s the X-ray was still exotic enough to be exploited by the pulps as a tool employed by the mad scientist in his tireless experimentation upon voluptuous semi-clad female subjects. (images via



The fascination lingered through the 1950s and into the 1960s as evidenced by this classic Gil Elvegren pinup “Inside Story/Overexposure” and the success of “Sea-Monkey” creator, Nazi, and mail-order huckster Harold Von Braunhut‘s naughty-minded “X-ray Specs.”



Today, of course, these salacious fantasies have been all-too graphically realized in the work of Belgian artist Wim Delvoye, whose radiographic images of various acts sex acts have been posted to death since they first appeared on the in 2001. We prefer the more evocative X-ray pinup calendar that appeared in 2010 as a promotional item for medical imaging company Eizo, and has of late been satirically recast as “The Miss TSA Calendar.”


A Few Cautionary Comics

After a long holiday weekend, your heads are probably a bit fuzzy and perhaps you’re overwhelmed with work, so it seemed safe to stick with something simple, i.e., comic books.   So today we offer four lovingly executed illustrations of things not to do in emergency situations.  Their original source  — presumably some sort of Red-Cross-issued faux comic book — remains something of a mystery, though we can thank Mostly Forbidden Zone, an eclectic trove of vintage scans from old books and magazines, for their appearance online.








Postcards from the Medical Side


The chance to enjoy an ice cream soda with a partner attractively outfitted in an orthopedic garment is one of life’s rare pleasures. Rarer still is such a handsome depiction of said moment.  But here we have it all —  the awkwardly placed candelabra, the oversized tablecloth, and the strange suggestion of cross-dressing presented by the silver-haired gentleman’s bra-like garment.  And for this we have to thank Bad Postcards, a must-see website for anyone eager to ogle kitschy old postcards of cheesy hotel rooms, fiberglass dinosaurs, and kittens plopped down next to geraniums — and this one originally distributed by “OTC Professional Appliances.”  The note on the back further explains: “Save that roll of tape, Doctor…prescribe comfortable OTC rib belts for your rib-fracture cases…easily removable for bathing, examination, or dressing…foam rubber padded or flannel-lined.”

Our friends from OTC also bring us this image of neck traction enjoyed in the comfort of one’s own home:


The back reads: “Whether for extension or suspension, Doctor…we’re equipped to take care of your head halter needs…we can supply complete home traction kits.”

And if these don’t capture your heart, perhaps the retro goodness of this colossal walk-through heart from the Science Museum at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute will set your own non-fiberglass ticker all aflutter.



Lesbian Nurses: Which is Right for You?

It’s Nurse Paperback Friday again and time for your opinions on the ever-titlating subgenre of lesbian nurses.

Only scratching the surface here, folks….


1) The Gay Nurses.  Proof that the cap is always the last to come off.


2) Nurses’ Quarters by Sylvia Erskine.  OK, maybe the lesbianism is only  hinted at on the cover of this  “realistic story,” but we can take a hint.


3) Nurses’ Quarters by Lee Morell.   Is this the same book after the author asked for a name change?    This one is advertised as “daring” rather than “realistic.”  More importantly, it uses the word “depraved” on the cover.

les-lesbiansinwhite14) Lesbians in White.  Again with the “crisp uniforms” contrast!  We think the author is doing a little more than “whispering about” it though.