Throwback Thursday: How John Wayne's… - Wyoming Medical Center

Throwback Thursday: How John Wayne's 'Hellfighters' helped WMC buy this Circ-O-Electric bed - July 11, 1968

By Kristy Bleizeffer Jul 24, 2014

In July 1968, a Circ-O-Electric bed cost $1,400. Supposedly good for patients with back injuries, the Soroptomists Club of Casper spent two years raising money for the bed, raising $700 before the club disbanded.

Enter John Wayne. In May 1968, he came to Casper to film "Hellfighters," the story of "macho oil well firefighters and their wives," according to, the Internet Movie Database. Universal Pictures asked Natrona County Memorial Hospital if it could hire nurses, at $50 per day, to work on set during filming.

According to this newspaper article - which is, unfortunately, unidentifiable in the WMC scrapbook,- hospital night supervisor Bertha Stone suggested that nurses volunteer to work on the set and donate their earnings to the bed fund. They raised $1,600 in all. Some of the extra money was used to buy a Stryker pad, "made of a substance which closely approximates human fat and is used to help heal or prevent bed sores." Um, okay ...