History of Medicine
The Reward of Courage
1921 / 30:08
Prepared by the American Society for the Control of Cancer
Produced by the Eastern Film Corporation
A poster used during the 1921 Cancer Week, unusual for the time, since most other surviving cancer posters from the early 1920s used little visual imagery, beyond the use of particular fonts and layouts for the text. The poster in this case highlights the impact of male ignorance of cancer on family members, including children. Source: Campaign Notes. American Society for the Control of Cancer 3, 4 (April 1921): .
Studio portrait of Charles A. Powers, created 1886-1901 by the studio Rose & Hopkins. Source: Denver Public Library’s Western History and Genealogy Digital Collections. Reproduced with permission.
Frank A. Tichenor and his son Frank A Tichenor Jr. Undated photograph, probably from late 1910s/early 1920s. Source: Tichenor scrapbook, author’s collection. Reproduced with permission of David Cantor.
The Reward of Courage: The Reward of Courage was set in Pleasantville, Pennsylvania, but someone forgot to check all the props. The automobiles have Rhode Island plates, (“R.I.”), the state where the film was made. Note the reverse text at the edge of the film. This image comes from the original nitrate print. This and figures 5-9 were produced by the Library of Congress.
The Reward of Courage: Miss Keene, the nurse at Dr. Dale’s clinic, examines Anna Flint. This is probably the first cinematic representation of a breast examination for cancer in a public health movie.
The Reward of Courage, The Love Story: 1. The lovers separate (top left corner in blue) 2. The lovers are reunited (top right corner in amber) 3. The happy outcome of their union (bottom left corner in pink) 4. And all because of Dr. Clinton.
The Reward of Courage: Hidden behind a curtain, Morris Maxwell overhears a conversation about Anna’s cancer diagnosis before offering Anna a painless “cure” for the disease for $200.00 - his Radiumized Paste.
The Reward of Courage: Part of the animated section of the film showing the spread of cancer and its consequences, highlighted by arrows. The line drawing of the human figure and dark blotches of the tumors also serve to counter the prospect of any paralyzing fear or disgust that might be evoked by a live action image of tumors.
Figure 10 A
A) Dr. Powers’ slide shown in Denver. B) Two slides prepared and financed through the efforts of Mrs. Samuel Adams Clark for the 1921 “Cancer Week” in New York City. These last two slides could be purchased from the ASCC on glass for 16 cents each and on mica for 8 cents each. Sources: “Announcement of the Plans and Organization of the National Cancer Week. October 30-November 5, 1921,” Campaign Notes. American Society for the Control of Cancer, 3, 7 (July, 1921): [1-4], p.. “Suggested Plans for National Cancer Week November 12-18, 1922,” Campaign Notes of the American Society for the Control of Cancer 4, 8 (August, 1922): [1-4], p..