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Chapter Twenty-Eight. The Memory of Theodore Roosevelt through Motion Pictures

M. Patrick Cullinane


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Popular culture is everywhere; it is the ideas, values, knowledge, and perspectives that encompass everyday life. Its forms are vast and include literature, advertising, music, sports, ephemera, toys, fashion, and now the emerging cyber-medium. The image of Theodore Roosevelt has been transmitted through all of these channels. He has been the inspiration for children's stories as well as mystery novels. He has been the focus of advertising campaigns, perhaps most notoriously in the General Foods campaign which used TR's quip about Maxwell House coffee being “good to the last drop.” Other products including Moxie soda, Zig-Zag Confections, and ABA Travelers Checks have used the actual image of TR's face as their advertisement. His most inadvertent contribution to pop culture (and undoubtedly the most famous) was as the inspiration for the nickname of the traditional stuffed bear. After refusing to shoot a defenseless bear and the portrayal of TR sparing the cub in a popular political cartoon, the enterprising Brooklyn toy-maker Morris Michtom marketed a stuffed bear called the Teddy Bear. The name stuck. These forms of popular culture have certainly had an important impact on the memory of TR, but conceivably the medium that has most shaped and reshaped his image since his death is the motion picture. Its ability to reach massive audiences in living rooms or cinemas, its stimulation ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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