One of the most enjoyable aspects of viewing a documentary can be learning about someone who you have never heard about that has a story almost too far-fetched to be believed. These people are littered throughout history, especially the con men and women.
"Dr." John Romulus Brinkley was born in 1885 to a poor mountain man who practiced medicine in North Carolina. When John was a teenager, more than anything else he wanted to be a doctor. One day he showed up, uninvited, at Johns Hopkins Medical School to attempt to gain entrance. He went before one of the big shots there, but was rebuffed. Showing up barefoot probably didn't advance his cause. Undeterred, he enrolled at a local medical school in Milford, Kansas, where he had settled down. Milford wasn't even a one-horse town at that time.
As the only doctor available for many miles, he built up a healthy practice. One day in 1917, a local farmer came to him with a problem. He was impotent. As director Penny Lane then tells us, a decision is made to transfer goat testicles to the man, because they see the goat often getting excited and mounting away. Yeah, I know this sounds absolutely ridiculous, but supposedly it really happened and supposedly, it worked!
Word spreads and soon John's business is exploding. Men are flocking from everywhere to have the procedure. Even some celebrities undergo the acquisition of goat testicles. John parlays his fame into an empire, becoming an independent radio mogul, running for governor of Kansas, and finally being accepted into the upper crust of society.
Everything goes sideways John when a bunch of court cases prosecuted by the government fall down on him, but his supporters turn out en masse to defend him. Everything that comes out in court is pretty shocking, but you should find out for yourself by seeing "Nuts." It's an intriguing earlyish peak at populism in America and one of those tales that couldn't be true, but is.
Most of the film is done in funny animation because obviously there is not much footage from back then. The animation makes it fun, but you can't help but wish to see real footage. Lane's direction carries it off, however and "Nuts" is definitely worth cracking open to see its contents.