Dog Factory 1904

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Two men are operating a ‘dog factory’, using a device that they call a Dog Transformator. A man brings three dogs into their shop, which they purchase from him. They place the dogs one by one into the machine, which turns each dog into a string of sausages. As their customers come in, they are then able to select the kind of dog that they want, and the machine changes the corresponding string of sausages back into a dog.

Director: Edwin S. Porter
Production company: Edison Studios
Cinematography: Edwin S. Porter

Electrocuting an Elephant 1903


WARNING: Viewer Discretion – Disturbing Footage

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The execution of Topsy, a female elephant, in a publicity stunt advertising the opening of Luna Park on Coney Island. Topsy was originally owned by Forepaugh Circus where she killed a drunken spectator who burned the tip of her trunk with a cigar. She was sold to Sea Lion Park in 1902 which was then sold to new owners who turned it into Luna Park. After they decided they could no longer handle her, the owners of Luna Park announced they would hang Topsy, leading to an outcry by the ASPCA. The owners then decided they would electrocute the elephant, with a backup plan of feeding her cyanide-laced carrots and strangling her with a cable.

—Rob O

Directors: Edwin S. Porter, James Blair Smith
Distributed by: Edison Manufacturing Company
Producer: Thomas Edison
Cinematography: Edwin S. Porter, Jacob Blair Smith



Dog Factory 1904

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American short silent film. From Edison’s catalog : “On the walls of the factory a lot of different varieties of frankfurters are hung. Each is marked with the breed of dog it is made from. A combined dog and bologna making machine is seen in the foreground, and two Germans are working industriously over it. A tramp enters with about a dozen dogs of various types, and sells them to the Germans. They are soon transformed into sausage and the tramp departs with his cash. A dude now enters who wants to buy a spaniel. The dog is quickly made and sold. A number of customers follow and are supplied with dogs that suit their fancies. Finally a tough enters who wants a bull dog. A Boston Bull is produced, but does not suit him. He wants a fighting bull. The dog is made, and as he jumps from the machine he grabs the tough by the pants, and dog and man mix up in a rolling match all over the floor. The tough finally releases himself and disappears, leaving the fighting bull dog to be again turned into bologna


Director: Edwin S. Porter
Production company: Edison Studios
Cinematography: Edwin S. Porter

Kansas Saloon Smashers (1901)


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Kansas Saloon Smashers is a 1901 comedy short film produced and distributed by Edison Studios. Directed by Edwin S. Porter, it is a satire of American activist Carrie Nation(radical member of the temperance movement). Wikipedia
Initial release: March 16, 1901
Director: Edwin S. Porter
Production company: Edison Studios
Distributor: Edison Studios




What Happened in the Tunnel 1903


what happened in the tunnel

This is a short comedy from Edison that exploits racial stereotypes as well as gender relations but isn’t likely to offend modern viewers.

A woman riding a train must contend with the unwelcome advances of a male passenger.
Director: Edwin S. Porter

STUDIO – Edison Manufacturing Company
Stars: Gilbert M. ‘Broncho Billy’ Anderson, Bertha Regustus

Laughing Gas 1907

laughing gas 1907

A woman goes to the dentist for a toothache and is given gas. On her way home on the subway she can’t stop laughing, and every other passenger catches the laughter from her.

Director: Edwin S. Porter
Cinematography: Edwin S. Porter

Production Co: Edison Manufacturing Company
Cast: Mr. La Montte, Edward Boulden, Bertha Regustus, Mr. Sullivan

The Teddy Bears 1907

The teddy bears

Part charming fairy tale, part violent political satire, and part accomplished puppet animation, The “Teddy” Bears may strike us now as a bizarre mix.

In a sense, this film asked its audience to provide its unity. Many early films relied for full comprehension on viewers’ knowledge of preexisting stories and popular fashions. But this one stretched the audience to the limit, asking for knowledge of the English fairy tale “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” and an the incident in President Theodore Roosevelt’s life as a hunter that led to the Teddy bear craze in the first place. According to the story, Roosevelt had gallantly refused to shoot a small wounded bear during a 1902 hunting trip. His “sportsmanship” led political cartoonists to draw “Teddy” Roosevelt alongside increasingly cute bear cubs, and toy stores began selling cuddly stuffed bears, with button eyes and movable joints, as Teddy bears.

The film begins by asking only for detailed memory of the fairy tale, as the Goldilocks character intrudes into the three bears’ home to find the too-hot, too-cold, and just-right bowls of porridge and the too-hard, too-soft, and just-right beds. In this film version, the three bears (played by costumed actors) have their own Teddy bears, and Goldilocks spies through a knothole upstairs a group of six stuffed bears, which perform synchronized acrobatics. The amusing animation in the minute-and-a-half shot shown here was photographed a frame at a time and took Edwin S. Porter a full week of eight-hour days, according to Moving Picture World’s believable report. The animation is made even more complex by being combined into the separately photographed “knothole.”

The care taken with that shot underlines how the whole production was more elaborate than all but a few films made during this period, when full reels would typically be turned out in a day or two. One exhibitor offered stuffed Teddy bears to “every lady attending” a special screening. After its theatrical run, the film was shown in a New York department store as a merchandising tie-in to further sales of Teddy bears.

In the film’s conclusion, provided by its satiric retelling of the story of Teddy Roosevelt and the spared bear cub, it is Goldilocks who saves Baby Bear by pushing away TR’s rifle after he has shot Mama Bear and Papa Bear. The deaths come as a shock after the domestic scenes. As a political satire, there may be more than a hint of manifest destiny hubris shown in the film’s closing shot back at the bears’ home, to which TR hauls his leashed captive and where he helps Goldilocks to plunder an overflowing armload of Teddy bears. Variety praised the “acrobatic antics” of the animation but not the conclusion: “Children will rebel against this portion. Considerable comedy is had through a chase in the snow, but the live bears seemed so domesticated that the deliberate murder…left a wrong taste of the picture as a whole.”—Scott Simmon

Directors: Edwin S. Porter, Wallace McCutcheon, Sr.
Cinematography: Edwin S. Porter