Century Film Project

Celebrating the movies our ancestors loved

Tag: Theodore Roosevelt

The Teddy Bears (1907)

This short movie from Edison mixes three kinds of fantasy together to make a somewhat incoherent family-style film. Probably one of the more expensive productions the studio brought out in the dry year of 1907, it remains fascinating from a historical perspective.

The movie begins with a shot of a rustic cottage in the woods, with snow on the ground all around it. A small figure is dancing for the camera in the front yard – it is someone dressed up as a bear. This child-bear holds a Teddy Bear as he dances. Shortly, a Mama bear (with an apron) comes out and calls him into the house, but the cub resists, he wants to go on playing. After a brief chase the Mama bear calls out the Papa bear (he wears pants and glasses). Baby starts throwing snowballs at them, but he is shortly caught and brought in by the ear. Then the family goes inside the house. They quickly return, now dressed in winter clothing for a walk. They walk offstage together, Baby again dragging his Teddy Bear along. Read the rest of this entry »

Terrible Teddy, the Grizzly King (1901)

Terrible Teddy

This may be the first American political satire film, as well as being an early example of the work of director Edwin S. Porter. Porter, who up to this point had made many actualities as well as short comedic subjects strongly reminiscent of the work of Méliès, but this one does seem to express more of his “voice” as a director. It is apparently based on political cartoons that had run in major newspapers the same month as it was produced, giving an idea how fast the turnaround on film production was at the time. Theodore Roosevelt was being played up in the press as a serious outdoorsman, and a story ran about how he heroically killed a mountain lion; the cartoons and the film show him as a bumbler, followed by a press agent and a photographer, who guns down a harmless house cat, and skins it for the audience. Americans have always enjoyed laughing at our political figures, and Teddy was a particularly congenial subject for both friendly and unfriendly media humor. While this picture may not be as sophisticated as “The Daily Show,” it gives some hint as to the future importance of political comedy in our culture.

Director: Edwin S. Porter

Run Time: 1 Min

You can watch it for free: here.