Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Today's the day...

We'll be honest with you. We've been doing this for over a year, and quite honestly, we're getting burnt out with this Wednesday Feature nonsense. Since Theodore Roosevelt is up this week, we were going to just leave a silly video of Mt. Rushmore and call it a day.

We feel that this video is so delightful that alerting our readership of its existence should almost count as a public service announcement or community service; thus, it would probably be able to carry itself as a post. However, being the teachers of all things that could be easily Wikipedia'd we are, we realized that the Roosevelt connection doesn't end there.

For starters, there's the fact that the Teddy bear originates from Theodore Roosevelt. Back in 1902, Roosevelt was on a hunting trip with Mississippi Governor Andrew Longino. Someone in the group had cornered a black bear and tied it to a tree after the bear had been exhausted after being chased by the hounds. The group had presented the tied up, near-dead bear to Roosevelt and told him to shoot it. Roosevelt thought it would be unsportsmanlike to shoot the bear in that condition and told someone else to put it out of its misery.

TRANSLATION: "Dick move, guys. Besides, I only shoot bears that I personally wrestle."

The story made its way to the press and Washington Post political cartoonist Clifford Berryman made it the subject of a cartoon.
WARNING: Dramatization may have overstated cuteness of bear.
The cartoon gave Morris Michtom an idea for creating little stuffed bears for his shop's window. After getting the OK from the president to use his name, Michtom named the stuffed toys "Teddy bears." The bears were quite successful, and Michtom later launched Ideal Novelty and Toy Company. Ideal later gave us the ideas for the Magic 8-Ball and the Rubik's Cube.

Just think, if Jimmy Carter's swamp rabbit incident had shaken out differently, we could have also had "Jimmy rabbits" today.
Hmmm, maybe not.
The popular toy also made way for the song Teddy Bears' Picnic, composed by John W. Bratton in 1907 -- during the Roosevelt administration.

Moving forward to the 1920s, when someone got the idea of carving four presidents' heads into the side of a mountain in South Dakota. That idea had been coming along swimmingly (for the most part), and by 1933, the U.S. National Park Service took control of Mt. Rushmore.

The previous year, songwriter Jimmy Kennedy put lyrics to Bratton's Teddy Bears' Picnic. Though, some would argue that the song's narrative is sloppy...

... we're glad all of these parts lead up to the delightful animation of the Mt. Rushmore Barbershop Quartet singing the song for us -- even if the Teddy bear made way for more unfortunate products.

Meanwhile, away from the forest, the battle between Teddy Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy rages on, and only one will chisel his place in the Rushmore Four.

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