Episode 019 — Shhhh! Dr. B.J. Palmer is On the Air! (part 3)


Title: Shhhh! Dr. B.J. Palmer is On the Air! (part 3)

Episode Number: 019

Host: Dr. Thomas Lamar

Show Date: 07/30/2010

Run Time: 19:20

Description:  Our Vintage 1931 B.J. Palmer Radio Broadcast Series continues with antique collector Todd Waters.  On this episode B.J. takes to the microphone with his Chiropractic Talk entitled “The Desire for Health;” plus Mr. Water gives us his opinion as to the rarity of these broadcast recordings, and Dr. Lamar shares some other historical information that most certainly would have influenced B.J.’s statements.

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Dr. BJ Palmer, Chiropractor………………… and Radio Pioneer

Dr. B.J. Palmer,




“Wonders of Chiropractic”

Todd Waters, antique collector of records

Meet the Man Behind This Remarkable Chiropractic Broadcasting Find….

Mr. Todd Waters, antique collector and lover of the phonograph record, joins Dr. Lamar in this special podcast series.

Interested in purchasing a CD of the Recordings?

More info:

Listen to Dr.Lamar’s two-part podcast on Chiropractic Radio History:

“From Broadcasting to Podcasting: Chiropractic is On the Air!” (part 1)

“From Broadcasting to Podcasting: Chiropractic is On the Air!” (part 2)

Check out the other Parts of this BJ Palmer Broadcast Series:

“Shhhh! Dr. B.J. Palmer is On the Air!” (part 1)

“Shhhh! Dr. B.J. Palmer is On the Air!”(part 2)

“Shhhh! Dr. B.J. Palmer is On the Air!” (part 3)

“Shhhh! Dr. B.J. Palmer is On the Air!” (part 4)

“Shhhh! Dr. B.J. Palmer is On the Air!” (part 5)

Read Dr. Lamar’s newspaper article the History of Chiropractic Radio:

“From Broadcasting to Podcasting: Chiropractic Delivers its Message”

“What’s a Podcast???” page!

Visit our iTunes listing and give us a rating!


Does your podcast listening schedule need a little backbone? If so, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your podcast chiropractor, Dr. Thomas Lamar.

Click Here to Automatically Receive Subscribe to SpinalColumnRadio



Spinal Column Radio, episode number nineteen.

Coming up next on Spinal Column Radio — Shhhh!  Dr. B.J. Palmer is On the Air!  (part 3)


[intro theme music]

And welcome back to another exciting and information packed episode of Spinal Column Radio.  My name is Dr. Thomas Lamar, chiropractor and dad of six.   And this is the podcast that gets you to think.  To think about your health in a whole new way.  We’re the podcast for your backbone… the podcast with backbone.  Who knew that spinal education could be this much fun?

We’d like to invite you to visit our podcast website at spinalcolumnradio.com where you can learn more about us, check out our world-renowned “What’s a Podcast?” page, and can access the show notes for this episode.  Also, we encourage you to leave comments and ask questions through our website, or, if you prefer, you can email me using DrLamar AT spinalcolumnradio DOT com.


[transitional 1930’s music: Max Fisher with his California Orchestra — Strum My Blues Away.  http://www.archive.org/details/StrumMyBluesAway]

Well, thanks for joining us once again on this Special Spinal Column Radio Series. This is part 3 of our “5-part Vintage 1931 B.J. Palmer Radio Broadcast Series.”

…And it’s available to us thanks to a certain antique collector of phonograph recordings that happened to stumble upon an amazing find one day in 2004, while purusing the latest wares at the Midland, Michigan Salvation Army.  His name is Todd Waters, and what he found is nothing less than incredible:  Five 78 rpm phonograph records in a manilla envelope.  Each record a separate “Chiropractic Talk” delivered via 1931 radio broadcast by the Founder’s son of Chiropractic himself, Dr. B.J. Palmer.

Palmer School of Chiropractic with Radio Station WOC atop the roof. Notice the Towering Radio Antenna and the Up-E-Nuf tower atop the second building in.

Besides being a notable and influential  Chiropractor, the Good Doctor ran the Palmer School of Chiropractic out of Davenport, Iowa.  And, perched high atop the administration building was his pride and joy:  Radio Station WOC — the second commercial radio station in the nation — and one that was very popular, I might add, boasting over one million listeners.  His station had all sorts of programing that you’d expect to find on this new form of informative entertainment:  news, sports, weather, farm reports, live music, storytime for kids, and church service.  But, it also had something that set it a part from the rest of the stations that soon followed in the “Radio Boom” of the 1920’s:  Chiropractic Educational Programing.

And that is essentially what Mr. Todd Waters purchased at the Salvation Army Thrift Shop for a couple of dollars. And while the price may have been a steal, the historical value of these recordings is absolutely priceless… especially when you begin to understand just how rare these recordings were.  Each record had on it a white label with a handwritten title scribbled in thin green ink. I asked Mr. Waters to tell us more about the significance of these labels from the perspective of a record collector like himself.


Mr. Todd Waters: Usually when I see a white label it means that the record was made for broadcast use only.  They weren’t for sale.  They were just made to be played once on the air and then probably destroyed… or sent back to the manufacturer… or archived.  And a lot of these records don’t survive.  The handwritten labels meant there was probably only one copy made…. where somebody just wrote the title right after it was made.

Dr. Lamar: And what about the handwriting? Could it have been BJ’s?  Well, the answer is… we really don’t know.  He did try to compare it to other handwriting samples of BJ’s but you know what they say about doctor’s penmanship.  What he did say, however, was that whoever did write it would have been very close to the production process… so, in that sense, it could very well have been the handwriting of the Chiropractic Icon himself.


[transitional sfx]

You know, it occurred to me in this age we are in now with iPods and mp3’s, that some in our listening audience might not be familiar with the phonograph or vinyl record.  One thing is for sure, they certainly didn’t possess the portability that subsequent formats allowed — such as the cassette tape, compact disc, or mp3.  But essentially, back in the earlier days, audio was recorded and played on large plastic-like discs — most being the size of a small to medium pizza.  Basically, in simplified terms, recordings were made with a cutting stylus that — in BJ’s day would have been electrically connected to a microphone — that would create a continuous, spiraled, modulated-by-the-sound-frequency, groove in the flat – plastic-like plate.  It would then be played back on a device that would spin the record at a certain rpm and a sensitive needle would track in the spiral groove and pick up the modulations, amplify them and play them out as sound.


[transitional sfx]

Okay… time for Dr. BJ Palmer to take to the radio microphone again with another one of his Chiropractic Talks…. this one entitled “The Desire for Health.”


[transitional sfx]

[original, 1931 BJ Palmer Broadcast Recording:  The Desire for Health]

Announcer: It is my pleasure to introduce Dr. BJ Palmer, president of the Palmer School of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa.  He is the only son of DD Palmer, the founder of Chiropractic.  Dr. Palmer has developed the principles and practice of Chiropractic, and is recognized as the world’s foremost authority on Chiropractic.  His subject is:  The Desire for Health.  Dr. Palmer….

Dr. BJ Palmer: The paramount question among all classes is health.  How to get health.  How to keep healthy.  Magazines and newspapers are crowded with health hints.  The nation has awakened to the fact that to maintain supremacy above other nations, health is a necessary possession.  For more than 36 years, Chiropractic has been accomplishing wonderful things.  That it has endured for that length of time is proof of its worth and merit.  It has saved persons from a premature grave.  It has put ailing children on the road to health and enabled them to become useful members of society.

Chiropractic is in harmony with the inherent forces of the body.  The human body is a marvelous creation.  It contains the wonderful Innate Intelligence which controls and actuates the various organs of the body.  The brain is the generator of the vital nerve energy of mental impulses for which the nervous system acts as the distributor.  These impulses are the life of the body.  They are transmitted from the brain through the spinal cord by way of nerve trunks that exit through the openings between the boney segments of the spine.  When these vertebrae, which compose the spinal column, are in normal position the brain generates and transmits the necessary vital nerve energy to all parts of the body without interference.  Health is the result.

When these bone segments become subluxated — that is, out of their normal position — pressure is produced upon nerve trunks with interference to the mental and normal transmission of this vital nerve energy which causes a condition of dis-ease, which manifests itself in the organs of the body affected by such interference.

Chiropractic is to restore health to the sick and the suffering.  The mind of man is complex, and its many intricacies defy explanation.  But, we do know that the brain is the great power center of the body and that it sends forth vital nerve energy essential to man’s physical well-being.   This energy must reach the muscle, organs, and tissues to enable them to perform proper functions.  We know that the great nerve trunks emit through openings between the segments of the spine and years of practical observation and clinical experience confirm the fact that these bones segments, called vertebrae, become subluxated — which means that they become displaced in more, or less, degree.  When this happens, the openings between vertebrae through which nerve trunks pass are changed in size and shape, and this creates pressure upon nerves.  Interference to the expression of normal vital nerve energy in the body is produced.

The Chiropractor locates nerve interference in the spine and adjusts the vertebrae responsible for this interference.  Thus by releasing the nerve pressure that is causing the interference, the Chiropractor enables the vital nerve energy within the patient to manifest itself normally, and health is restored.

Chiropractic is a natural and drugless method by which to keep strong and healthy.  Thousands have been restored to robust health and vigorous activity by the application of its principles.  Its impressive record of achievement, in restoring sick people to health, merits your consideration, investigation, and trial.  Consult a responsible Chiropractor in your community and determine for yourself the value of Chiropractic as a health service.


Dr. BJ Palmer stating in 1931 a truism that continues to this day, that “The paramount question among… classes is health.  How to get health?  How to keep healthy?”

He also said something else… which is very true but certainly not given the same forefront of mind as it may have been back then… and that was:  “The nation has awakened to the fact that to maintain supremacy above other nations, health is a necessary possession.”

You know, certainly other things come to mind to “maintain supremacy above other nations.”  … But it’s true, if you don’t have health underneath it all, it does crumble.  Keep in mind, though, that when he issued that statement, we as a nation had just come home from the battle fields of Word War I a little over a decade earlier.  And this Great War, as it was called, really depended more on the physical strength of man than the wars of today do — wars of today being more technology-driven. And please, don’t misunderstand me, our soldiers of today are busting their humps out their fighting for our freedom, and I recognize that and thank God for them everyday…. it’s just that, we don’t hear the message of health as being a key strategy on winning the “War on Terror.”

Now, B.J. also said some things that you may not have picked up on that most certainly were shaped by the current climate of that time.  Rather than me read what he said, I’m going to go ahead and play short clips from the three Chiropractic Talks we have heard from thus far.

We’ll start out with the first one we heard, entitled “What is Chiropractic?”


[clip from original, 1931 BJ Palmer Broadcast Recording: What is Chiropractic — that was played in SpinalColumnRadio episode 017]

Dr. BJ Palmer: The reason why Chiropractic is growing and extending its field of service to those who are sick is that Chiropractic adjustments do restore health to the body… and the true value of any health service is determined by its effectiveness in getting sick people well.

Chiropractic offers to the person who is sick the most effective way to health, and it earnestly invites your unprejudiced and conscientious investigation and trial.


Okay, the next one — and you’ll pick up quickly on a theme here… especially once I play this one, as it is the most direct … this one from the Talk entitled “Chiropractic as a Valuable Health Service.”


[clip from original, 1931 BJ Palmer Broadcast Recording: Chiropractic as a Valuable Health Service — that was played in SpinalColumnRadio episode 018]

Dr. BJ Palmer: Success breeds antagonists.  If Chiropractic were not making a remarkable health record, and if  it were not restoring health to the sick and suffering, much of the criticism and condemnation from antagonistic sources would be nonexistent.


And lastly — although this one is a little more subtle — from the one we featured on this podcast: “The Desire for Health.”


[clip from original, 1931 BJ Palmer Broadcast Recording: The Desire for Health — that was played in SpinalColumnRadio episode 019]

Dr. BJ Palmer: Its impressive record of achievement, in restoring sick people to health, merits your consideration, investigation, and trial.


So why was BJ appealing to the population to make their own decisions when it comes to their health?  Why did he state that Chiropractic “earnestly invites your unprejudiced and conscientious investigation and trial?”  And why did he have to make a case that the effectiveness of Chiropractic is attracting antagonists?

Simple:  The American Medical Association.  You see from Chiropractic’s earliest days, we have been a threat to the AMA.  And while my intention is to not open this can of worms too much on this particular podcast, if you dig deep enough, you’ll find money at the root.  Although they’d have you believe it’s in the name of “public safety.”

Medicine’s organized campaign to “Snuff the Chiropractor” has been a long, arduous, and layered one… and I’d be naive if I told you it was over… because it still continues to this day….it’s just not as overt.

Chiropractor, Dr. Mildred Creveling in the Ohio’s Mahoning County Jail for “practicing medicine without a license.” – Circa 1930

Understand that back when BJ would have given these Talks, it wasn’t too long before that by the hand of the AMA, his Chiropractic colleagues were literally being thrown in jail all across our great nation for doing nothing more than practicing Chiropractic.  Actually, the charge was “practicing medicine without a license.”  You see,  MD’s were the first one’s to gain licensure… and with that came the need for governmental oversight.  So, the medical profession became the de facto governing board with all health trades falling under their umbrella.  So… in their eyes, we chiropractors were practicing medicine without a license, and thus, many, many chiropractors went to jail…. a topic for a future podcast.  How’s that for your tax dollars at work?

Another one of Medicine’s efforts to devalue the Chiropractor in the public’s eye was, ironically, the radio.

In 1925, the Texas Medical Association and the state attorney general launched their “quack-busting campaign” on Dallas station WFAA.

In 1927, New York Chiropractor Lyndon Lee reported that organized medicine was using radio as part of their much larger campaign against chiropractic… describing their programs as a “last desperate effort to ruin us.”

In Pittsburgh a campaign that involved radio was underway to block the reelection of Helen Grimes, who had cosponsored a 1927 bill to license Chiropractors in the state of Pennsylvania.

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported, in 1928, that the chairman of the Allegeny County Medical Society, spoke over radio station KDKA charging that “700 Chiropractors were practicing illegally in the State of Pennsylvania — although there was a law whereby they may obtain license.”

That just cracks me up.  I wonder if he mentioned, “Oh by the way, we are doing our best to see to it that the legislator who helped bring about this law is not reelected!”

…By the way, I don’t mean to digress, but KDKA out of Pittsburgh… They were the first commercial radio station in the nation… with BJ’s WOC in Davenport, as I’ve mentioned before, being the second.

The Medical attacks on Chiropractic continued in the radio airwaves.  Remember in our last episode how I talked about how the American Chiropractic Association had their radio programs?  Well, they, and any other Chiropractic group for that matter, that wanted airtime had to raise the money to do it….  makes sense.

Curiously, in the year 1934, according the the Montana Chirolite, the American Medical Association conducted 7,277 radio talks over the National Broadcasting Company and the Columbia Broadcasting Systems’ coast to coast chains.  They did all this without cost — without any expenditure from the annual budget of the AMA.  Half of the talks were conducted by the infamous editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association, Morris Fishbein.  (And if you do any research into the AMA’s contention with Chiropractic, you will see his name a lot).

The Montana Chirolite stated, “The week of May 5, Fishbein told the public about the ‘Character of a Quack.’  A quack in Fishbein’s mind,” the Chirolite continued, “is anyone opposed to his ‘bread and butter,’ the AMA….  [All] this occurred despite the fact that we have a Federal Radio Commission in Washington, which governs the broadcasts of propaganda….”

Later, the National Chiropractic Association reported that “The Citizen’s Medical Reference Bureau… which is an altruistic organization advocating no particular form of treatment but opposed to compulsory medicine or surgery, has made a very vigorous protest to the broadcasting companies, requesting that both sides be heard in arranging these free medical broadcasts.” [emphasis mine]


[transitional sfx]

Well… hopefully, that little walk down memory lane will give you an idea of the climate that BJ was faced with, and would have been broadcasting in, during the year of 1931 … and most certainly, would have influence on what he said.


[transitional sfx]

So on that happy note, we here at Spinal Column Radio would like to remind you that Chiropractic “earnestly invites your unprejudiced and conscientious investigation and trial.”


[outro theme music]

Thanks again to Mr. Todd Waters for joining us on the program again and for freely sharing his “Salvation Army Chiropractic Radio Historical Treasure.”

Spinal Column Radio would like to remind you that this is 1931 chiropractic… and that true health comes from the inside out — not outside in.  As such, the content of this podcast, along with the show notes and related links, is not intended to cure, diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease.  But, instead, is meant to inform and inspire you in asking better questions regarding your health.  Since the circumstances surrounding your particular situation are unique, you are encouraged to consult with a present day Doctor of Chiropractic — or other health care practitioner of your choosing.

Next time on Spinal Column Radio, it’s part four our BJ Palmer Broadcast Series and Mr. Todd Waters joins us  again to share how his digitally remastering these rare recordings was not only a creative way for him to monitize his tremendous find, but from a historical perspective, an absolute necessity.  Well tell you all about that in seven days.  So, until then, for my son Logan, tweaking the knobs on the mixer board, this is Dr. Thomas Lamar, your podcast chiropractor.


Spinal Column Radio is a production of Spinal Column Communications in conjunction with AnchorChiropractic.net.  Copyright 2010.

Download a PDF version of these Show Notes


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Love your podcast. I will be listening and I will be sharing with my patients.
Thanks and keep up the great work.

Dr Mark

Comment by Dr. Mark Eiler

Thanks Dr. Mark for your encouragement and willingness to share our content with your patients. 🙂

Comment by drlamar

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