The ‘Teddy’ Bears (1907)

Article 4826 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 5-19-2015
Directed by Wallace McCutcheon and Edwin S. Porter
Cast unknown
Country: USA
What is is: Odd mix of fairy tale and satire

Three bears go out for a walk. While they are gone, a young girl shows up, eats their porridge, sleeps in their beds, and steals their teddy bears.

I found this on YouTube, and the site claimed it was a satire on Teddy Roosevelt. I was scratching my head for the most part on that comment; how was a retelling of the “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” story a satire on Roosevelt? It doesn’t become apparent until the last two minutes, when Teddy shows up and becomes a participant in the action; apparently, the short was somewhat inspired by a tale of Roosevelt’s where he killed a mother bear but spared its cub. Still, I’m not sure if there was a hidden but coherent critique of Roosevelt here rather than just a riff on a hunting story of his. At any rate, the most impressive sequence is also the most anomalous; at one point, Goldilocks looks through a knothole and sees a collection of stop-motion teddy bears performing acrobatics. While this scene is entertaining enough, it also has little to do with the rest of the short. All in all, this is an odd one.

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