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DATE: 1945

LENGTH: 10 min.

CATEGORY: Educational & Instructional, Sound, Animation, Color

DIRECTOR: Uncredited

PRODUCER/PUBLISHER: Hugh Harman Productions with United States Public Health Service


This wartime dental film, produced by Hugh Harman with uncredited animators, uses industrial warfare as a metaphor for the battle between tooth decay and dentistry. In live action, a dentist seats four children in his waiting room and tells a story about a city defended by beautiful white walls that look like teeth. The film then shifts to animation. The walls/teeth are guarded by Winky, a careless watchman. While Winky dozes, demonic dark blobs (the “bad uns”) storm the walls, attack the teeth with picks, catapults, dynamite, and battering rams.

Supplementary Materials

Stills from Winky the Watchman

Other Films Featured in the Essay

Explore thirteen films considered in the “Public Health Films Go to War” essay.

In the Collections of the National Library of Medicine

Prints & Photographs Collection

These posters, produced by or for the U.S. military in conjunction with campaigns that also employed films, come from the Prints and Photographs collection of the National Library. Explore these and more from the NLM’s Images in the History of Medicine.

Posted by:Carrissa Lindmark

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