American Experience - Season 21, Episode 2 - Rotten Tomatoes

The Polio Crusade


Episode Info

Documentary filmmaker Sarah Colt draws on personal accounts of polio survivors to trace the story of the tireless crusader who rallied a nation against a little known virus that spread terror through the town of Wytheville, Virginia back in the summer of 1950. It was an epidemic the likes of which Wytheville had never seen: Parents kept their kids locked safely indoors as movie theaters went dark and baseball fields fell silent for fear that simply walking outdoors would be enough to get infected with polio. Some died from infection, and others were left paralyzed as outsiders raced through town with bandanas over their faces and car windows securely rolled up. Over 33,000 Americans fell ill from polio that year alone, with approximately half of the infected being under the age of ten.


The Polio Crusade Photos

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