From Kook Science

Sonus Film-O-Sonic - Health Frauds and Quackery (1964).jpg

a.k.a. Sonus Film-O-Sonic 105
Vendors Sonus Research & Products Co. (Webster Billington, Emerson B. Hartman)

The Film-O-Sonic was a vibro-therapeutic device (or "sound therapeutic vibrator"), promoted by chiropractor Emerson B. Hartman and manufactured by Webster Billington's Sonus Research & Products Co., which was described as "consisting of a continuous cycle tape play-back mechanism, and an amplifier, transformer unit, and electrode pads," all housed inside a box-type cabinet.[1] Per the advertising copy, the user would apply the electrodes to their body and play a particular recording associated with a desired treatment, running the tape on a loop and thereby becoming suffused by the electrical signals of the recording; such treatment would, Sonus claimed, act to cure various "pathological conditions," as well as building up physical strength and immunity to disease. Among the therapeutic music selections was "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," a 1933 showtune from the musical Roberta, for treatment of cancer, and "Holiday for Strings," David Rose's 1942 composition (and theme song for the The Red Skelton Show), for arthritis.[2]

The advertisement and sale of the device ultimately resulted in legal proceedings being filed by the State of California against Sonus Research in 1959. Both Emerson Hartman and Webster Billington, his business partner, were prosecuted and convicted under the California Pure Drugs Act, each being sentenced to two years probation, including ninety days in jail, and fines of two hundred and fifty dollars; while a sales representative, Golda Franzen, received a six month suspended sentence for her role in their operations.[3][4] For his part, Hartman refused to pay the fine and was sentenced to six months in San Francisco County jail.[5]


  1. 6075. Sonus Film-O-Sonic device. (F.D.C. No. 43276. S. No. 73-661 P.), 
  2. "FDA Memo for Consumers from the FDA: Your Money and Your Life", Health Frauds and Quackery, Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1964, p. 133, 
  3. California's Health (California Department of Public Health) 17-18: 85, 1959 
  4. "Appeals In Cancer Case Lost", San Francisco Examiner: 18, 27 Sept. 1960,, "Convictions of a woman and two men, found guilty here a year ago of selling a phony cancer cure machine, were upheld by the Superior Court's appellate department yesterday." 
  5. "Justice Must Be — But Is Delay In The Public Interest? Vendors of Quack Device Sentenced After Long Delay", Jour. Southern California State Dental Association 29 (4): 175, April 1961,