Boxing Cats (1894)
This may well be the original funny Internet cat video – made 100 years before the World Wide Web even existed! This is a short video of two cats in odd harnesses and miniature boxing gloves, being made to fight on a stage at the Black Maria studio. It will remind regular readers of the “Boxing Kangaroo,” made a year later in Germany. This film is unusual for the Kinetoscope period, in that the camera has been moved much closer to the action, probably because our subjects are so small. Behind them sits their trainer, Professor Henry Welton, who seems to have specialized in animal acts. He holds the cats upright and keeps them from flying out of the miniature boxing ring, smiling through his mustache all the while. Note that we only see his head and his hands, making this an early close up. Later critics would argue that audiences found close ups disturbing, because they presented only “parts” of a human body in an “unnatural” way, but so far as I know, no one ever objected to it in “The Boxing Cats.”
Director: W.K.L. Dickson
Camera: William Heise
Run Time: 30 secs
You can watch it for free: here.