Diminutive psychosexual therapist Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer was a pop-cultural icon in the 1980s. The Jewish, German-born émigré best known simply as Dr. Ruth was regarded with equal parts respect and amusement as an unlikely ambassador for positive sexuality in the repressive AIDS-obsessed Regan era. Her dolly voice and ability to roll her r’s made her a joy to listen to and watch, which led to her own Jerry Springer-esque TV series: What’s Up with Dr. Ruth.
In the episode below, the good Dr. discusses sexuality in horror movies with Masters Wes Craven and Clive Barker. Ruth does her best, but clearly isn’t a true horror fan; she refers to Barker as “Baker” and calls Wes Craven’s seminal classic “The Night on Elm Street”. She ribs the boys, insinuating they’re motives for creating horror movies are shallow; but Craven and Barker give the thoughtful responses we’d expect from the iconic artistic geniuses.
Watch the segment below for an unprecedented time capsule of 1980s horror, pop culture, and sexuality.
About Dr. Ruth: Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer is a psychosexual therapist who sprang to national attention in the early 80’s following the beginning of her live radio call-in program, Sexually Speaking. She went on to have her own TV program, appeared on the cover of People Magazine and TV Guide, and is the author of 36 books and counting. Her fans of all ages can find her advice on her own website, www.drruth.com, on Twitter @AskDrRuth, at www.YouTube.com/drruth and in her syndicated newspaper column. In the spring of 2012 will be the debut of Dr. Ruth’s Vin D’Amour and a one-woman show about her life, Dr. Ruth All The Way at Barrington Stage in Pittsfield, MA. Dr. Ruth lives in New York and has two children and four grandchildren.