Kids and dentists don't usually mix, but Racine, Wis., endodontist Jim Kreutzer is trying to change that. He and some of his endodontist cohorts comprise Wind Chill Productions, a company with a mission to produce movies that are "kid friendly."
Kreutzer forged an additional career as an executive film producer because of his desire to make movies he would feel comfortable showing to his own kids. So, with some friends in the business, and some spare cash, Wind Chill Productions was born in 1994.
Since then, it has produced three films: Fever Lake, a 1995 horror flick; Just Write, a romantic comedy released this past September; and The Last Great Ride,
a family adventure that will be in theaters early next year. Kreutzer says the company's low-budget films (they cost less than $2 million to make) attracted Hollywood actors like Sherilyn Fenn, Corey Haim and Jeremy Piven because of the quality of the projects.
Kreutzer says the company will be making more movies in the future: "We're on everybody's radar screens now." But Hollywood success hasn't affected his down-to-earth Midwestern attitude. "I'm very content to do root canals. And I like living in the Midwest," he says.
Boxers or briefs? John Wes Ruffin, M.D., didn't expect his 15 minutes of fame to come with his pants down, but that's just what happened to the emergency pediatric transport physician.
Ruffin, 29, is one of five healthcare professionals featured in a Jockey underwear ad. The enormously popular ad campaign, which features real physicians and therapists dressed in scrubs on top and skivvies on bottom, debuted last winter and has been turning heads ever since. The advertisement ran in national magazines and often made news itself. Ruffin and the other models even made appearances on several television programs, including the talk shows "Leeza" and "The Roseanne Show."
Ruffin (third from left) heard about Jockey's model search from a fellow physician. On a lark, he headed to the audition, where he was asked to pose first in his boxers, then in his briefs. Ruffin says the reaction to the ad has been somewhat overwhelming, but it's "definitely helped my social life." He also says he would consider modeling for Jockey again but doesn't plan to abandon his medical career to become a supermodel.
"I'm a doctor first. This is all nice, but being a doctor was all I ever wanted to be," he says.
Ben Dover has left the building. First Ben Dover, M.D., opted out of low-paying managed-care plans. Then he opted out of Medicare. Finally, after eight months, he's opted out of telling the world about his struggles with the insurance industry on his "Medical Burnout" Web site.
The site is up, but Dover hasn't added anything to his screeds on the evils of managed care and Medicare since May 23, when he posted a note saying he was taking a self-imposed summer vacation. "As Arnold said, 'Ah'll be back,' " wrote Dover, referring to Arnold Schwarzenegger's signature line from the 1984 movie "The Terminator."
But in an Oct. 17 mass electronic-mail message, Dover, the pseudonym for an Austin, Texas-based primary-care doctor, said, in effect, "Ah won't be back."
He said his break from tracking declining payments from insurers and posting that information on a self-designed Internet site made him realize starting it up again would result in his own medical burnout.
"Be assured that Ben Dover continues to monitor EVERYTHING," Dover wrote in his oft-capitalized style, "and he'll come out of retirement if he gets mad enough."
Murder, he wrote. Just in time for the American Medical Association's December meeting in Honolulu comes a tale of intrigue and murder involving the AMA, the CIA, a Japanese crime syndicate and Big Tobacco.
Retired pediatric surgeon and former AMA President Dan Cloud of Phoenix spins his yarn in a newly released book called The Aesculapian, a title drawn from Aesculapius, the Greek god of healing whose image adorns the AMA's logo.
The novel, Cloud's first, is published by Savannah, Ga.-based Frederic C. Neil, a boutique cited by reviewers as much for the quality of its printing as for the books themselves.
The plot revolves around fictional Phoenix surgeon and AMA President Joe Hawkins, who, after speaking out against the U.S. president's bashing of the medical industry, gets caught up in a web of murder, political corruption and blackmail, some of it within his own organization.
Creative writing teachers say to write what you know. But despite the similarities between writer and character, Cloud says the novel is purely fiction. "It's meant to entertain," he told the Phoenix Business Journal.