Hemo the Magnificent

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Hemo the Magnificent
Genre Educational
Written by Frank Capra
Directed by Frank Capra
William T. Hurtz (animation director)
Starring Richard Carlson
Dr. Frank C. Baxter
Country of origin USA
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Frank Capra
Editor(s) Frank P. Keller
Cinematography Harold E. Wellman
Running time 55 minutes
Distributor N. W. Ayer & Son
Original network CBS
Original release
  • March 20, 1957 (1957-03-20) (USA)
Preceded by Our Mr. Sun
Followed by The Strange Case of the Cosmic Rays

Hemo the Magnificent is a one-hour Technicolor made-for-television educational film, released in 1957 by Bell Laboratories and directed by Frank Capra, and first telecast by CBS. It details the workings of the circulatory system. Although Time magazine gave it an extremely negative review,[1] calling it "condescending" and citing it as an example of how the scientific information was presumably "dumbed down" by including cute cartoon animals, it quickly became a classic of the genre, featuring incredibly detailed television animations for its time. It is one in a series of nine Bell Telephone science specials telecast in prime time on commercial network television, from the late 1950s to the mid-1960s. All but one of these specials starred Frank C. Baxter; the last of them starred Walt Disney.

Baxter played his usual role as "Dr. Research", the resident scientist in the film series. Richard Carlson played the other recurring character in The Bell Laboratory Science Series, a writer for television. Several well-known voice artists were employed for the animated sequences, including Marvin Miller as the title character, Hemo. Also appearing were Mel Blanc and June Foray, as a squirrel and a deer respectively. Sterling Holloway appeared in an uncredited role as a lab assistant.

The film is currently packaged on DVD with another film featuring Dr. Baxter, The Unchained Goddess (1958). Hemo the Magnificent and another Bell Laboratories film, Our Mr. Sun, were favorites for showing in school science classrooms.

In popular culture[edit]

A brief sequence from Hemo the Magnificent is seen in the film Gremlins and also in Disney's Bill Nye the Science Guy. One of the evil gremlins sneaks into a classroom while the science teacher (Glynn Turman) is showing Hemo to the class.

The film is mentioned in the Freaks and Geeks episode "Discos and Dragons" by the A/V supervisor.


  1. ^ "Television: Review". TIME.com. 1 April 1957. 

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