Ghetto Science Pride in "Panic in Echo Park"

Blaxsploitation hero Shaft was pretty cool, but not nearly as cool as Dr. Michael Stoner, the groovy medical nerd protagonist from epidemic scare flick Panic in Echo Park. Set in the barrios of East LA, the movie is a rare combination of blaxsploitation style and medical mystery geekery ala House. As the heroic Dr. Stoner races to figure out what's causing paralysis among residents of a housing project, he also fights racist and classist bigotry among his colleagues (and, in this scene, among his white, upper-crusty girlfriend's family friends). For a special treat, I've spliced together a moment of Stoner's ghetto science pride with a scene where he gets funky in the hospital after saving the projects from disease. This cheesy science action flick from 1977 really should be a cult classic. [Panic in Echo Park via IMDB]



The protagonist doesn't seem to be getting especially funky in that second scene. He walks down a hospital corridor, getting congratulated by patients and hospital staff, greeted by his proud girlfriend. Please tell me this wasn't a case of, "Omg, look how funny they dressed in the 70's..."

And, also, what exactly is "ghetto science pride"? I will grant you the cheesy, cliche dialogue, but your characterization doesn't fit. The scene wasn't about science, but the fact that the upper-crusty gentleman out of fear was discounting and ignoring the suffering in the area where the protagonist was from...the ghetto, perhaps, but Dr. Stoner wasn't glorifying it. It wasn't pride. He was being an advocate.

Anyhow, so, how was the science in this flick?