No onscreen credits. Directed and produced by
Dr King Brown and Dr Guy Busfield, Director of Camberwell Research.
This film was a joint production with the London Borough of
This film is about the consequences of not
immunising your children against diphtheria, a potentially fatal
but completely preventable disease. The poignancy of ‘the empty
bed’ only becomes clearer as the story unfolds.
The film opens with “two doctors made this
film...to save 16,000 children”. The intertitles offer an apology
if anyone is upset by its contents. The story then begins with Mrs
Smith, a working-class housewife. She has three children: Mary,
Jack and William. Mrs Smith becomes concerned about Jack, who is
having problems breathing; he develops diphtheria of the larynx and
goes into hospital.
He dies, freeing the hospital bed for another
Later, the doctor reminds Mrs Smith that her children could have
been immunised. Mary and William are then taken to the surgery to
test for natural immunity to the disease. Footage of the laboratory
is shown, including how samples are created. A gun is then pointed
at the viewer with the message that diphtheria germs are as
dangerous as getting shot at! The closing message is “YOU HAVE BEEN