Almanac: Sigmund Freud

Dr. Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, in a 1921 photo. AP Photo

(CBS News) And now a page from our Sunday Morning Almanac . . . September 23rd, 1939, 73 years ago today . . . the day a young medical specialty lost its world-renowned founder.

For that was the day Sigmund Freud died at the age of 83 in London, a year-and-a-half after fleeing the Nazi occupation of his native Vienna.

Freud had achieved fame for his near single-handed creation of psychotherapy, and for his theories about the role of the subconscious.

Highly controversial then, his theories and practices remain controversial today.

However, there is no disputing the lasting impact Freud has had on our popular culture.

Hollywood portrayals of Freud have ranged from the serious (as in last year's "A Dangerous Method," starring Viggo Mortenson), to the fanciful, as in the 1976 film "The Seven Per Cent Solution," in which Alan Arkin played a young doctor Freud collaborating with Sherlock Holmes.

. . . To the downright comical, as in this gag from the 1977 Woody Allen film "Annie Hall":

"I was in analysis with a strict Freudian. If you kill yourself you have to pay for the sessions you miss."

Jokes about Freud have long been a mainstay of New Yorker magazine cartoons as well:

We analyzed Freud with New Yorker cartoon editor Robert Mankoff back in 2006: "Anytime you see anyone on a couch, that's our debt to Freud."

Mankoff's favorite cartoon? "The doctor asks, 'Would it be possible to speak to the personality that pays the bills?'"

Freud was even the subject of a light-hearted song by the Chad Mitchell Trio, "The Ballad of Sigmund Freud":

He forgot about sterosis and invented the psychosis
And a hundred ways that sex could be enjoyed
He adopted as his credo "Down repression of libido!"
And that was the start of Doctor Sigmund Freud.

Would Freud have enjoyed all the jokes at his expense? There's no way of telling.

But as a therapist who believed jokes opened a window into the subconscious, Dr. Freud today would doubtless find much to analyze . . . in multiple paid sessions, of course.

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