The "Teddy" Bears
Starting out as an adaptation of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," the picture moves outside the confines of the studio, suddenly changing moods and referents. The bears chase Goldilocks across a snowy landscape until "Teddy" Roosevelt intervenes, kills the two full-grown pursuers, and captures the baby bear. The sudden appearance of T. R. was based on a well-known incident when President Roosevelt was on a hunting expedition in November 1902 and refused to shoot a bear cub. Shortly thereafter a New York toy store owner began to make and sell "Teddy's bear", a stuffed version of the spared cub. The novelty had become a craze by 1906-7, when thousands of toy bears were being sold each week. The combining of these two referents was key to the film's humor.