Watch It

On DVD: TBD | On Blu-ray: TBD

Roosevelt in Africa Details


One of the biggest news events of 1910 was former president Theodore Roosevelt's safari into Africa. Striking while the iron was hot, the Selig company of Chicago, employing the talents of a Roosevelt lookalike and filming on-location at its own California game preserve, came out with a totally bogus documentary. Undaunted, the Motion Picture Patents Company, using Pathe as its distribution arm, released its own Roosevelt in Africa -- and this one was unquestionably 100 percent authentic, as verified by Teddy Roosevelt himself. Supervising the authorized cinematic record of the Roosevelt safari was British bird-and-animal photographer Cherry Kearton, who later became a prolific documentary filmmaker. Among the images captured by Kearton's camera were the first-ever scenes of Zulu tribeswomen in their native habitat; alas, he was unable to fulfill his dream of filming an African lion (the phony Selig version did feature a lion -- a toothless old creature who was forced to give up his life for the sake of show business). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi