Polio Documentary Premieres in New York

Issue Date: 
October 18, 2010
From left: Carl Kurlander, Susan Edwards Harvith, and John HarvithFrom left: Carl Kurlander, Susan Edwards Harvith, and John Harvith

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum presented the New York State premiere screening of the 2010 documentary “The Shot Felt ‘Round the World,” which had received its world-premiere screening April 14 at an Oakland event cohosted by Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg and Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Robert Hill. Produced by Pitt senior lecturer in film studies Carl Kurlander, the documentary tells the story of the Pitt research team—including senior scientist Julius Youngner, now Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus in the Pitt School of Medicine—and the Pittsburgh community’s roles in the creation of the Salk polio vaccine, as well as FDR’s creation of the public fundraising mechanisms that provided the support for the Pitt team’s research.

The Sept. 23 screening in Hyde Park, N.Y., took place in Milstein Auditorium of the Henry A. Wallace Center at the FDR Presidential Library and was introduced by Kurlander, film history faculty member Susan Edwards Harvith of the Oasis national senior education program in Syracuse, N.Y., and Pitt senior associate vice chancellor for University News and Magazines John Harvith. Harvith served as historical consultant for the documentary and was editor in chief of The Defeat of an Enemy, Pitt’s award-winning 2005 monograph celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Salk vaccine being declared “safe, effective, and potent.” Edwards Harvith was research consultant for The Defeat of an Enemy.

The documentary was produced by, in addition to Kurlander, Laura Davis with Steeltown Entertainment Project and WQED Multimedia Pittsburgh in association with the University of Pittsburgh and 1905 Productions. It was directed, written, and edited by Tjardus Greidanus; Stephanie Dangel Reiter was its executive producer; and Jodi S. Klebick was the executive for Steeltown Entertainment Project.