Today's television viewers are relentlessly exposed to endless dramas, documentaries, and “reality” shows centered on the operating room. But the dramatization of the surgeon's workshop, replete with urgent calls for scalpels and sponges, represents a rather recent wrinkle in the long history of American popular culture. To be more precise, on September 26, 1933, the operating room made its Broadway debut in Sidney Kingsley's medical melodrama, Men in White.1 Its opening curtain essentially lifted a sluice gate, releasing a torrent of medical shows for public consumption.
Markel H. Men in WhiteThe Operating Room's Debut Into Popular American Culture. JAMA. 2009;302(21):2376-2378. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1771