In The Navy Of The 1970s, Syphilis Was A Cartoon Vampire (VIDEO)

Sometimes a cartoon vampire named Count Spirochete* is the only way to get sailors to use protection.

In 1973, the Navy made a 20-minute animated movie warning sailors — in graphic detail — about the dangers of venereal disease. The plot: The annual Communicable Disease of the Year Awards sees a huge upset when Venereal Disease, represented by the syphilis-carrying Count Spirochete, wins the coveted Fourth Horseman award over diphtheria and smallpox.It’s such an upset, in fact, that the host must explain in great, cringe-worthy detail, the history, science and symptoms of syphilis. Think lots of tiny horned devils stabbing mucus membranes with their pitchforks.

The movie was dug up this week by the military’s Armed with Science blog (tagline: Get Scienced!) and is available on VHS for $55.

Or you can watch it here. Enjoy:

*The count is named after “spirochetes” — the class of bacteria that spawns diseases such as syphilis and Lyme disease.

[H/T: Spencer Ackerman, who beat us to it]