Out of Darkness (Columbia Broadcasting System, 1956)


[Narrator:] Wyeth Laboratories is privileged to present “Out of Darkness,” produced in consultation with the American Psychiatric Association and the National Association (for) Mental Health, with Dr. William C. Menninger as medical narrator and starring Orson Welles as the reader. [Orson Welles:] The tree as it stands isolated on the
plain…no companion like thousands in the forest, bears within its bark all the
materials for rapid combustion, for also cool and green as it looks,
the elements of its destruction are circling through it, through branch and trunk, leaf and roots. Between a tree and the fire, and man and madness, the close
analogy exists, and then they part. The fire must come to the tree. Man can go
and seek madness, can toil and pray and suffer, as it were, go a’courting this
fearful bride. A numberless of the paths which lead to the region of darkness in
which she dwells. [Music] On the program you’re about to see, there
will be no actors, with the possible exception of myself, and I’m not going to
do any acting. I’m just going to read to you a few pages from a book now and then. We’re going to make a journey through the world of mental
disorder. It’s a world which is unknown, feared by most of us, but not nearly so
desolate of hope as we might imagine. One of our guides will be this book and I’m going
to read from it. It’s quite a remarkable book, written over a hundred years ago by
an unknown man, a former patient in a mental hospital in Glasgow, Scotland. Our other guide will be a doctor, Dr. William Menninger, one of America’s
foremost psychiatrists. Through these two voices, one from the present, one from
the past, perhaps we’ll be able to gain some measure of insight into one of the
most urgent health problems of our time, into that vast and greatly misunderstood
portion of humanity, the mentally ill. And now from the book “I am not a medical man. My claim to be heard is founded not upon education or position, but solely upon what I’ve seen, what I’ve suffered. For 17 years I’ve been in communication with insanity. For a long time I’ve been impressed with the idea that could this disease be rendered
more familiar, and of course less repulsive to the public mind, its chance of being
checked and subdued in the first stage would be much greater. In the hope of dissipating this dread, and freeing the bright spirit of hope from the talons of despair, I’ve written this little book. And while keeping truth in view, I’ve
endeavored to strip lunatic asylums of all imaginary terrors and to render them
familiar to the public view.” [Low sounds of traffic] Lunacy, like rain, falls alike upon the evil and the good. Although it must forever be a fearful misfortune, yet there is no more sin or shame in it than there is in rheumatism or fever Had I the certainty of an attack of
insanity before me, and the power to prescribe for myself, I’d say put me in a
place where I can do no harm to myself, or any other person, and let that place
not be a prison, in which penance must be undergone, and punishments suffered. But let it be a place of refuge… an asylum. [People murmuring] [Woman:] I’m glad you came in because I’ve been
wanting to talk to you about your wife’s illness. Did you notice when her illness
started? Yes I did about three months [Husband:] Yes I did about three months before I’d taken her to the hospital. And the strange things happened about her and I… it got so bad that I was afraid to leave her by herself
while I was working you know. [Woman:] What did your wife do when you first noticed
she was getting upset? [Husband:] I noticed her doing strange things such as, uh, sitting at the window from morning ’til night and not dressing at all. And I would talk to
her and she wouldn’t answer. And in fact, one day that, uh, the neighbors told me that she went out in the nude. And one of the neighbors caught her just in time as she was crossing the street and brought her back in, and they was kind of ashamed, didn’t let me know anything about it. And when I went to pay the rent to my landlady, why she told me
about it. And that’s when I really begin worrying. And another thing that made it
seem strange that she was, had the Bible in her hand from morning till night,
which she never did do before, and I would come home at night and she would point out verses to me, and she would write notes you know, laying different pages of the Bible that she had written down and she would uh she was always talking about
the stars and moon and stuff like that you know, and I knew then that something
was wrong, but I didn’t, couldn’t catch it right away. [Woman:] I understand Dorothy’s mute
now, that she won’t talk to anyone. Was she a talkative person before her
illness? [Husband:] Very talkative. She used to be pleasant and
and joyful, you know, and always singing around the house you know and, well she always done something to occupy her mind, can make friends with anybody, she had some friends that came to the house quite often, and she would just sit there and
have a wonderful time with them. And when I noticed her get into this stage, she
didn’t recognize these same people that she had had a lot of fun with and talked
to earlier. [Woman:] It was a hard decision to decide on sending her to this hospital? [Husband:] I’ll say it was. I’m just wondering that, that should, if that will be held against
me when she does come home. [Woman:] Many patients when they come here have some resentment
about coming, but as they begin to feel better, quite often they realize that coming here was for their own good and their
own happiness in the long run. [Husband:] Yes ma’am. [Woman:] I know you’ll worry about it though until
that time comes. [Husband:] I do. [ Typewriter clacking ] [ Indistinct chatter ] [Speaker:] All right, you girls just stand, just wait till I find a plate. The rest of ya sit down. Want some? [ Indistinct chatter ] [ Typewriter clacking ] [Mrs. Murphy:] There’s nothing to be afraid of in here,
let’s just look around. Would you like to look at some of the books? Why don’t you just sit down and be
comfortable? Does it make you feel better to hold my
hand? You can if you want. Don’t be so frightened. [Dr. Cholden:] Doris, I’m Dr. Cholden I’m your doctor. And you and I will meet together three
times a week. This is your time. You can do whatever you want during this time. If you want to be quiet, that’s fine with me. If you want to talk, that’s fine with me. I’m perfectly satisfied to spend this
time in any way that you want to spend it. Because I’m your doctor and I want to
help you. Doris, would it be all right if
Mrs. Murphy waited for you in the hall? [Mrs. Murphy:] I’ll give you a cigarette before I leave. I’ll be right out in the hall. I’ll wait
for you there [Dr. Cholden:] You’re wondering,
what does he wanna do to me? I only want to understand you and to
help you while you try to understand yourself. This is a place where you can’t hurt
anyone, and no one can hurt you. A safe place. A place where you can do what you want and I will understand… try very hard to understand that is. Doris, we’ll meet again on Monday, in three
days. [Welles:] There is a wood from which these
symptoms spring. A reason, so powerful in its irrationality, as to shake the
sufferer almost beyond endurance. There is a long chapter in the book of human
nature, unread by one who would judge an insane person, solely by her behavior. [Dr. Menniger:] From
a technical point of view, we know that all of us do have mental devices, tricks
in a sense that work automatically, to try to relieve us when we have a feeling of
fear or anxiety or tension. We’re [?] of them you. We all of us use these too. When the going gets rough for any of us, we, at times, all use one or two major
methods of combating the situation. One of them is flight. We’ll take flight from
it in one way or another, by procrastination or forgetting and
neglect, or perhaps going to sleep, or running off physically, sometimes maybe getting
sick. And the other reaction is the fight reaction, reaction which sometimes we
threaten and even destroy the situation that we want so much to say. We get angry, we blow our top, we get so mad that we don’t think what we’re doing, and then we
destroy the situation. All of us do that sometimes.
Life’s full of stress, for all of us. You know some people’s are on too long and it’s
too heavy they begin to bend. And they break. And that’s what happened to these
patients. We see them here. Their action and
behavior seems bizarre and strange to us. Familiars test their attempted solution
using the same devices that we use, to find a happy way out that it’s so
unhappy. Now the job is to help them find a better solution. That’s the assignment, that the doctor in the hospital takes on when they come to us. [Welles:] As a flood of fire, from the bosom of a
living volcano, sweeps down the verdant slope, turning flower and fruit into smoke and ashes. So does insanity sweep over laughter and
happiness. And where those glorious attributes once flourished, we find only
desolation and darkness. Yet I may add for the consolation of the afflicted and
their friends, that the coming of insanity need not permanently injure
either the feelings or the intelligence, In a great majority of cases, provided
proper treatment, is resorted to at the outset. It is curable. [Dr. Menniger:] Though there was room for optimism a 100 years ago, there’s room for much more optimism now about the cure of mental illness. A number of any group of illnesses have the potential recovery rates that mental
illness does. The tragedy is because of the lack of doctors and facilities, the
many patients don’t have a chance to have the right treatment. What I mean by the right treatment where those who know a little about it have heard of shock,
electric, and insulin. These are applicable in perhaps five to ten
percent of cases, and then a new door has been opened with the advent of drugs,
the so-called tranquilizing drugs. Though they hold much promise to, but they’re
not a cure-all. They’re not going to radically change the situation because
at best they just help the patient become accessible to help. [?] to talk, help them participate in the program of the hospital. Actually they’re,
both the drugs and the shock treatment are comparatively unimportant to the role
of the hospital as a whole. The hospital has to provide, in a sense, protection for a patient. Protection sometimes from himself,
certainly protection from those waves that have engulfed him. It has to do this in various ways in its physical setup, and has to do it in a program of activities,
opportunities where the patient can express his interests, and perhaps learn
new interests. And that’s why in psychiatric institutions, we have to have a program that includes classes, perhaps in music in art, maybe even typewriting. Social events, games of all kinds, lots of different crafts. Quite a part though, from the hospital in its physical setup, the most important thing is the people
that work in that hospital. Those people have to be trained, they have to be taught the meaning of mental illness so that they have a rationale to be patient
and tolerant and helpful. Most of all if a patient gets well in the mental institution it’s because of personalities that surround them. The people live well helping. The doctor is kind of the captain of the crew. He’s the
fellow that’s got to find out what’s wrong with the individual, what ought to
be done about it, what ought to be prescribed for the patient, and plan the
program in the hospital. More important perhaps are his personal contacts with the patient. His contacts is a guide, as an interpreter, and the person who understands and will help the patient understand. The individual who has got to
guide the patient if he can back to health. Very often this occurs in
frequent regular sessions with the patient, but technically we call
psychotherapy. [Dr. Cholden:] Doris,
you may sit down whenever you like. I really can’t help you to decide. When you’re a little less afraid in here, it will be easier to decide. At the moment, it seems to me is
you’re feeling tight, frozen, holding yourself in so you won’t get hurt anymore. I think you know Doris, that I want to
help, but I think you can’t be sure if can trust me. If I’ll stand by you, when you need me. And if I’ll remain with you to help. I will. [Welles:] During the whole period of my residence in the asylum, my wife visited me upon a stated day each week. And no week passed
without her seeing me. Well I was often unable to let her know at the time, these visits gave me something to think upon, being as it were a solid spot in a
troubled ocean or on the spirit could occasionally rest. [ Indistinct Chatter ] [Husband:] Doris, did you like the magazines I brought you? Will you read some more if I bring you some? [Indistinct Chatter ] [Woman:] Doghouse [Indistinct Chatter ] [Husband:] Won’t you talk to me honey? Huh? How do you think I feel when I hear your voice?
Don’t you think it makes me happy? Don’t it? Don’t you think it makes me happy
to hear your voice? You go to make up your mind Doris. You got to make up your mind angel, to get your mind off these other people, and you’ve got your life to live, don’t forget that Haven’t you? Well, whose life are you living? Maybe that’s the trouble, you’re not living your life, you’re living somebody else’s life. Doris I’m going to ask, I’m going to tell you something now. You ought to see the little place I got. Now it’s the only damn reason in the world I got Doris. You could home with me [?] nice I got a nice whole living room,
I got a bedroom, twin beds. I got a nice bathroom and a nice kitchen,
and I bought a television set. Who do you think I’m doing it for, huh? For me honey? I’m not doing it for me. I don’t give a damn, whether I just have a, a floor to sleep on. I want you to get well and come home. Will you get well? Will you get well? [Dr. Cholden:] Sometimes Doris, I get the feeling that you’re very angry with me. And that’s all right. And part of that anger is because you’re not sure you want to come here. Sometimes you feel I’m forcing you. It’s as though you decided to take a
rest from the world, a retreat. And somebody is trying to pull you out of
that retreat, and I am that somebody. But I’m not pulling you, it’s your decision. And if you decide to come out of your, retreat, maybe I can be of some help. Doris, would you like to use my comb? [ Combs thunks on table ] It must be very hard to decide whether
you want the doctor. And whether you want me to be that doctor. All I can do is to offer my help. Put it on the table, so to speak, and you can decide whether to take
it or not. Like the comb, I’m available and my help is available. You must decide whether you want that help. [Narrator:] Wyeth Laboratories is presenting “Out of
Darkness” produced in consultation with the American Psychiatric Association and the National Association for Mental Health. With Dr. William C. Menninger as
medical narrator and starring Orson Welles as the reader. We continue now with part two of “Out of Darkness.” [Welles:] No position can be more honourable than
that of a conscientious and humane physician, who devotes his time and
talents to the treatment of the insane. What a fearful responsibility clings to
the office which is assumed. For many cases it lies with him whether the
patient be saved or lost. [Dr. Cholden:] Progress summary, Doris L., third week of treatment. The patient’s acceptance of my comb and her desire to take it back
to the ward with her are clear indications that she accepts the idea of
help and of a doctor. Her previous terror is gone and in
general she seems to be much more relaxed and comfortable. However, there is still a considerable
amount of anxiety present. Each effort of mine to achieve closer contact presents
a new threat to her, and in this formative stage of our relationship,
there are still many things which she is not yet prepared to accept. Would you be less
frightened if I held your hand? Don’t take my hand if it’ll make you
uncomfortable. It’s too hard now.
I understand. [ Music ] [Conductor:] Here we go! [Group sings “Home on the Range” ] [Dr. Cholden:] Progress summary, Doris L., sixth week of treatment. The most significant development over the last few interviews has been an increase in the patient’s response to the external environment. [ Doctor Mumbles ] [ Doctor Mumbles ] As Doris becomes more alert to her
surroundings I find that I am beginning to get a clearer sense of the woman
beneath the illness. [ Guitars are Played ] [Welles:] There are people here, enjoying the twilight and the beauty, the fragrance of the trees. In other places would still be lying in barns, in darkness. [Dr. Cholden:] Doris? Now we’re friends. [Speaker:] Oh, you did get one! [Welles:] Activity, of almost any
kind, cannot fail of being beneficial, especially if attendance or other same
people could be involved in the enterprise. It breaks up that stagnation
of the mind, consequent upon the monotony which must ever reign within these walls. [ Indistinct chatter ] [Nurse:] Close …150…200…250…Mary! 300 [Speaker:] Oh, marvelous! [Welles:] Activities sooth the excited, cheers the
desponding, and turns the mind aside for the time, from the corroding task of
contemplating its own sorrows. [ Indistinct Chatter ] [Dr. Cholden:] Progress summary, Doris L., 10th week of
treatment. Nonverbal contact has been firmly established. It is now time to encourage her to talk. and now this attack on the defense of muteness will
undoubtedly increase her anxiety, and it may lead to a setback. However, I feel
it’s a risk worth taking. I’m trying to understand, and sometimes I can’t understand unless you tell me in words. I want to help answer your questions if
you feel that you can ask them now. Questions that you may have about being
in a hospital. You know you’re in a hospital Doris; this is a hospital and I’m your doctor. It’s not easy when you decide to
remove yourself from people, but one it’s done, it’s even harder to get close
to them again, isn’t it? I somehow feel that there are things you
would like to let me know, but you don’t know how…you still have to prevent
yourself. Do you remember why they brought you here, Doris? Doris, would you feel more comfortable if you whispered in my ear? Maybe you’re fearful about saying things. You’re afraid of what might happen, if
you talk. You’re afraid of what’ll happen. Hmm? Take it. [Doris:] Pretty pearl, is that a real pearl? [Dr. Cholden:] I don’t know. You like pretty things, huh? [Doris:] Mmhmm. I had some pearls one time. [Dr. Cholden:] Where did you get the pearls? [Doris:] They were a present. [ Doris sighs ] [Dr. Cholden:] Who gave you the pearls? [Doris:] Oh, a friend of mine. [Dr. Cholden:] What happened to the
pearls? [Doris:] Lost them. [ Doris cries and sneezes into tissue ] [Dr. Cholden:] Did you want to cry and think about the things you’ve lost? [Doris:] [Sighs] I’ve lost quite a bit. [Dr. Cholden:] Is it hard to remember? You took a risk.
You kind of… went inside yourself and held yourself
quiet. I get the feeling now that you’re…
ready for a change. We need to finish, you rest. And talk to people. 13th week of treatment. With the emergence of the patient into reality, the first major stage of treatment is
over. We’re ready now to utilize her relationship, in order to help her understand herself and her illness, and also to give her support as she moves
into new areas of experience. [ Music Playing ] [Welles:] I know some will say, though she
appears pretty well now, were she to leave this, who knows but she might
relapse. No doubt that she would like to return to the world, but many there would
distrust and despise her. No one does so here. However it is in the busy avenues
of men, not in a solitude and shelter of the asylum, that the cure must be perfected. [ Music ] [Dr. Menniger:] This was an amazing experience. We watched a real patient, with a real doctor in a real hospital, with a real
husband, get well, a seriously mentally ill patient. Then in a sense this has
created an illusion, maybe. An illusion that I’d like to try to correct if I can. Because I feel so deeply in my heart the suffering and the unhappiness of seven
hundred and fifty thousand patients in our hospitals in this country and not a
handful of them are getting the treatment that this patient did. Why?
Because in that big population, the size of the city of Pittsburgh and only one doctor for every three hundred eleven patients. What chance would Doris
have had if she was one patient and then three hundred and ten others with one
doctor? We’re trying to run these hospitals on the ridiculous sum of two dollars and a half a day, per patient. And that includes: the board, and the room,
and the clothing, and the medical attention. You and I know that it costs 10 times this amount, 15 times this amount to go to a general hospital. What we can, what can we
expect in this field of mental health? That they’re going to try to do
that kind of a job at two and a half a day. And furthermore, we’re starving to death in our field of
psychiatry for more knowledge. We ought to be able to help these people
more quickly. We ought to be going much further in how do we prevent mental
illness. And yet research in psychiatry is a drop in the bucket, than the need. It’s the biggest cost of all the health problems, a billion, 200 million dollars a year, we don’t spend one half of one percent learning how to do our job better in
this rich land across the country. Would that we could enlist people’s
understanding of how big this problem is. How neglected, how backward we are in our
knowledge of what ought to be done. So that many, many girls like this could
get well. The facts are that six out of every ten people that go to a mental
hospital never leave, and that doesn’t have to be.
We’ve got proof now and can show it. That at least eight out of every ten can go home, and again be happy and useful citizens. This is a universal problem; it
affects us all. It ought to be a concern of every individual as to what they can do about it. So many places need help. They need financial support, they need clear
and better understanding. And only as more people do understand, is there going to be change. I have a deep conviction, that when people know and understand, it will be changed. [Narrator:] Wyeth Laboratories has been privileged to present “Out of Darkness,” a CBS public affairs program. Produced in consultation with the American
Psychiatric Association and the National Association for Mental Health.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. JESUS brings us out of darkness into His MARVELOUS light! We receive the mind of Christ when we receive Salvation! Glory!

  2. I'm GLAD I'd already been saved 46 years BEFORE watching THIS! I've entered my 47th year of Salvation, and I WAS atheist! In 1972, JESUS touched me on Christmas Eve, and I woke up on Christmas Morning Born Again! HalleluJah! Her husband mentions the BIBLE like GOD'S precious WORD has something to do with her illness! I go to GOD in prayer for relief, love and comfort! The LORD can change unpleasant situations for the better. Amen! Doris had been attacked by our enemy the devil, and seeking help from GOD through His Word without help from clergy! Seems as if they had no Pastor or Saints to minister to the poor thing. The problem is, the SAME spirit that attacked her can return if she's not set free by JESUS! "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." John 8:36! Sad the ONLY "comfort" they can offer is the poison of nicotine! THANK GOD for DELIVERANCE THROUGH THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF JESUS!

  3. Second hand smoke. The doctor looked as mentally ill as the patient. Perhaps his small paycheck had him holding on the the cigarette for support. Deliver from nicotine even TODAY! In JESUS' NAME!

  4. Heโ€™s got that special look when telling her she can do whatever she wants. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ง๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜ฒ๐Ÿคญ sheโ€™s like โ€œOh ๐Ÿคฌ you!โ€ then heโ€™s like ๐Ÿคซ be quiet so your nurse and everyone doesnโ€™t hear us. Then heโ€™s like I would never do anything wrong to you๐Ÿคฅ then sheโ€™s like ๐Ÿคข๐Ÿคข๐Ÿคข๐Ÿคฎ You arenโ€™t geting my ๐Ÿ˜ป.

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