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Glowing Dishes: Radium, Marie Curie, and Hollywood

Glowing Dishes: Radium, Marie Curie, and Hollywood GLOWING DISHES: RADIUM, MARIE CURIE, AND HOLLYWOOD T. HUGH CRAWFORD In an episode from the Andy Griffith Show, that embodiment of middle American agrarian utopic yearning, Aunt Bee is asked about other careers she might have followed. Looking out toward the horizon, she allows she would have studied chemistry, like that Madame Curie. Andy is startled. After all, Bee is the archetypal American homemaker, and chemistry and physics are fields that seem quite a distance from Meyers Lake, Floyd’s Barber Shop, and the Taylors’ well-kept home. Bee’s dream, however, is not fired by personal experience of laboratory life. Instead, she is thinking of Greer Garson in Mervyn LeRoy’s film Madame Curie. Though in a sense, this scene is trivial, Aunt Bee’s response to the film offers a glimpse into the cultural power of images of science and scientists produced by pop- ular cinema—and in this instance, reflexively perpetuated by television— and at the same time provides some startling insights into the relationship be- tween the cinematic construction of biography, gender, and scientific truth. In 1943, at the height of American involvement in World War II—and a time when scientists were pressed into service on an unprecedented scale— Mervyn LeRoy http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Biography University of Hawai'I Press

Glowing Dishes: Radium, Marie Curie, and Hollywood

Biography , Volume 23 (1) – Dec 1, 1999

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2000 Biographical Research Center.
ISSN
0162-4962
eISSN
1529-1456

Abstract

GLOWING DISHES: RADIUM, MARIE CURIE, AND HOLLYWOOD T. HUGH CRAWFORD In an episode from the Andy Griffith Show, that embodiment of middle American agrarian utopic yearning, Aunt Bee is asked about other careers she might have followed. Looking out toward the horizon, she allows she would have studied chemistry, like that Madame Curie. Andy is startled. After all, Bee is the archetypal American homemaker, and chemistry and physics are fields that seem quite a distance from Meyers Lake, Floyd’s Barber Shop, and the Taylors’ well-kept home. Bee’s dream, however, is not fired by personal experience of laboratory life. Instead, she is thinking of Greer Garson in Mervyn LeRoy’s film Madame Curie. Though in a sense, this scene is trivial, Aunt Bee’s response to the film offers a glimpse into the cultural power of images of science and scientists produced by pop- ular cinema—and in this instance, reflexively perpetuated by television— and at the same time provides some startling insights into the relationship be- tween the cinematic construction of biography, gender, and scientific truth. In 1943, at the height of American involvement in World War II—and a time when scientists were pressed into service on an unprecedented scale— Mervyn LeRoy

Journal

BiographyUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Dec 1, 1999

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