A Recently Digitized TV News Archive Highlights the Big Points of the 1950s and 1960s

A recently digitized TV news archive highlights the big points of the 1950s and 1960s: Civil Rights and the polio vaccine.
School Polio Shot, 1955
School Polio Shot, 1955 A boy grimaces as he receives one of the first polio shots ever dispensed in Roanoke, Virginia. WSLS-TV footage archived by the University of Virginia Library
In 1955, days after officials introduced the "new, wonder vaccine" against polio to Roanoke, Virginia, local news station WSLS-TV asked some parents in the street about it. Of the four adults they interviewed, three said they planned to get their children vaccinated. "I do think it's a worthwhile project and I hope it's going to be a success," one woman said.
Another woman, however, seemed a bit more skeptical—a sentiment that some modern parents might recognize. "I think I shall wait until I see some of the results from the other children," she said.
That old footage is now available online, thanks to a new project by the University of Virginia Library. In 2010, the National Endowment for the Humanities gave the library a little more than a quarter of a million dollars to preserve and make digital copies of WSLS-TV broadcasts dating from 1951 to 1971, along with printed anchors' scripts. The library released the archive this week.
You can keyword search the archive, but the library has highlighted some of the coolest stuff. There are reports on the desegregation of local schools and the Civil Rights movement. And there's a page dedicated to the introduction of the polio vaccine to Roanoke, which served as a distribution center for the shot for most southwestern Virginia counties. The development of a successful polio vaccine was big news throughout the U.S.
Anchor Script for a 1955 Polio Vaccine News Spot
Anchor Script for a 1955 Polio Vaccine News Spot:  WSLS-TV, archived by the University of Virginia Library
Interestingly, the archive shows that at the beginning, scientists didn't know everything about the vaccine they were giving out. A decade after the first Roanokans received shots, a 1965 WSLS-TV broadcast carried the city health commissioner's call for locals to begin or finish their immunization program. Re-immunization was important, he said, "Because the length of time a person is protected by either [the Salk or Sabin forms of the vaccine], is still a matter of conjecture." The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and PreventionPost Polio Litaff, Association A.C _APPLAC Mexico

The Polio Crusade

THE POLIO CRUSADE IN AMERICAN EXPERIENCE A GOOD VIDEO THE STORY OF THE POLIO CRUSADE pays tribute to a time when Americans banded together to conquer a terrible disease. The medical breakthrough saved countless lives and had a pervasive impact on American philanthropy that ... Continue reading..http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/polio/

Erradicación de La poliomielitis

Polio Tricisilla Adaptada

March Of Dimes Polio History

Dr. Bruno




A 41-year-old man developed an acute illness at the age of 9 months during which, following a viral illness with headache, he developed severe weakness and wasting of the limbs of the left side. After several months he began to recover, such that he was able to walk at the age of 2 years and later was able to run, although he was never very good at sports. He had stable function until the age of 18 when he began to notice greater than usual difficulty lifting heavy objects. By the age of 25 he was noticing progressive difficulty walking due to weakness of both legs, and he noticed that the right calf had become larger. The symptoms became more noticeable over the course of the next 10 years and ultimately both upper as well as both lower limbs had become noticeably weaker.

On examination there was wasting of the muscles of upper and lower limbs on the left, and massively hypertrophied gastrocnemius, soleus and tensor fascia late on the right. The calf circumference on the right exceeded that on the left by 10 cm (figure1). The right shoulder girdle, triceps, thenar eminence and small muscles of the hand were wasted and there was winging of both scapulae. The right quadriceps was also wasted. The wasted muscles were also weak but the hypertrophied right ankle plantar flexors had normal power. The tendon reflexes were absent in the lower limbs and present in the upper limbs, although the right triceps was reduced. The remainder of the examination was normal.

Figure 1

The patient's legs, showing massive enlargement of the right calf and wasting on the left


What is that nature of the acute illness in infancy?
What is the nature of the subsequent deterioration?
What investigations should be performed?
What is the differential diagnosis of the cause of the progressive calf hypertrophy?



An acute paralytic illness which follows symptoms of a viral infection with or without signs of meningitis is typical of poliomyelitis. Usually caused by one of the three polio viruses, it may also occur following vaccination and following infections with other enteroviruses.1 Other disorders which would cause a similar syndrome but with upper motor neurone signs would include acute vascular lesions, meningoencephalitis and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis.


A progressive functional deterioration many years after paralytic poliomyelitis is well known, although its pathogenesis is not fully understood.2 It is a diagnosis of exclusion; a careful search for alternative causes, for example, orthopaedic deformities such as osteoarthritis or worsening scoliosis, superimposed neurological disorders such as entrapment neuropathies or coincidental muscle disease or neuropathy, and general medical causes such as respiratory complications and endocrinopathies.3


Investigations revealed normal blood count and erythrocyte sedimentation rate and normal biochemistry apart from a raised creatine kinase at 330 IU/l (normal range 60–120 IU/l), which is commonly seen in cases of ongoing denervation. Electromyography showed evidence of denervation in the right APB and FDI with polyphasic motor units and complex repetitive discharges, no spontaneous activity in the left calf and large polyphasic units in the right calf consistent with chronic partial denervation. Motor and sensory conduction velocities were normal. A lumbar myelogram was normal. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the calves is shown in figure2.

Figure 2

Axial T1 weighted MRI scan (TR 588 ms, TE 15 ms) of the calves, showing gross muscle atrophy and replacement by adipose tissue on the left, and hypertrophy of the muscles on the right, with only minor adipose tissue deposition


The differential diagnosis of the progressive calf hypertrophy is given in the box.

Causes of calf muscle hypertrophy

Chronic partial denervation

  • radiculopathy

  • peripheral neuropathy

  • hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy

  • spinal muscular atrophy

  • following paralytic poliomyelitis

    Neuromyotonia and myokymia

  • Isaac's syndrome

  • generalised myokymia

  • neurotonia

  • continuous muscle fibre activity due to: chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculopathy, Guillain Barre syndrome, myasthenia gravis, thymoma, thyrotoxicosis, thyroiditis

    Muscular dystrophies



  • tumours

  • amyloidosis

  • cysticercosis

    Link here