“If you go down in the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise
If you go down in the woods today, you’d better go in disguise
For every bear that ever there was will gather there for certain
Because today’s the day the teddy bears have their picnic…”
If you find yourself singing along to these lyrics, then you’re certainly not the only one. “The Teddy Bears’ Picnic” has been a hit with all ages for over 100 years. First written in 1907, this song represents the love each generation has for our stuffed teddy bears.
“The Teddy Bear Two-step”
The very first teddy bear was made in 1902, and they soon took the nation by storm. They were so popular, in fact, that they became inspiration for books and, eventually, songs. In 1907, John W. Bratton, an American composer, wrote “The Teddy Bear Two-step.” This version had no lyrics, but it nevertheless gained traction among the American public. In fact, one of the first recordings of the song occurred in 1907 by the Black Diamond Band.
It took nearly thirty years until lyrics were added to “The Teddy Bear Two-Step.” Written by Irish songwriter Jimmy Kennedy in 1932, this is the version that we know and love today. It was renamed “The Teddy Bears’ Picnic,” and it was first recorded by Henry Hall and His Orchestra, with the vocals done by Val Rosing. The song went on to be covered by several other famous singers including Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, and Anne Murray.
So, if you plan on going down to the woods today, make sure you bring along your friend teddy bear. Here at The Zoo Factory, we have plenty of teddy bears that are sure to enjoy their teddy bear picnic. Look through our inventory or contact us today for more information.
We all love our favorite teddy bear, but why exactly do we call them ‘teddy bears’? And why did people start making them in the first place? Turns out, it’s all thanks to a certain U.S. President and a hunting trip gone wrong.
Theodore Roosevelt’s Hunting Trip
On November 14, 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, went on a bear hunting trip near Onward, Mississippi. The trip didn’t go well. The group of hunters had spent three days in the wilderness tracking bears, only to come up empty. Finally, on the fourth day, Roosevelt’s hunting guide, Holt Collier, managed to track down an old, tired bear. Tying it to a tree, he went back to the President and encouraged him to shoot it. Finding this very unsportsmanlike, Roosevelt refused, and went home empty handed.
A Political Cartoon and a Candy Shop
News spread about the incident, prompting Clifford Berryman, a political cartoonist, to draw a cartoon satirizing Roosevelt in the Washington Post. Two candy shop owners, Morris and Rose Michtom, saw the cartoon and had an idea. Rose had been making and selling stuffed toys in their shop for years, but she had never made a stuffed bear. The cartoon inspired her, so Rose made two stuffed bears and put them in the store window. Morris even asked for Roosevelt’s permission to call them “teddy bears,” since the President was often called “Teddy” by friends. Roosevelt loved the idea, as did the public, and they became an instant hit.
Over a hundred years later, teddy bears have become a staple of American culture, and no child should be without one. Here at The Zoo Factory, we have plenty of stuffable teddy bears to choose from, so take a look!
Here at The Zoo Factory, we love teddy bears. We also love learning and reading about rare, antique teddy bears. We recently found an article distributed by Antique Trader highlighting some incredible vintage teddy bears. These bears have contributed to the history of the teddy bear brand and paved the way for teddy bears as we know them today.
Antique Trader explained that teddy bears likely originated well before President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, although many people believe they were invented because of him.
However, there is information that could support the existence of teddy bears as early as the 1800’s.
Steiff (located in Germany) is often credited with creating the first ever teddy bear in 1902. The oldest Steiff bear, which can only be found today in museums and private collections, was known as the “Rod Bear.” The rod had internal iron rods that held the stuffing in place. Some of these special bears also had a button inside of their ear that had an elephant symbol on it. These bears now sell for $10,000 to $30,000 today.
“Doll” Size Bears
In 1907, Steiff sold about one million teddy bears on the Atlantic City boardwalk. The company created a smaller version of the “Rod Bear” that was 10 inches long. The bear was intended for little boys that had sisters who loved to play with dolls. The bear allowed boys to play with their sisters using small teddy bears instead of dolls. This bear, along with its concept, became extremely popular. They now sell today for about $500 per inch so the bigger the bear, the bigger the price tag.
In 1912, Heinrich Mueller started his own business. He had previously worked at a toy company before deciding to branch out on his own. In 1920, he introduced the first “talking” bear. His “Schuco Yes-No” teddy bear had a mechanism that shook the bear’s head up or down. By tugging the bear’s tail, the person holding the bear could make him say “”yes” or say “no.” This bear was especially popular in schools, and librarians loved to use them in order to tell stories.
If you’re inspired to start building your own collection of priceless teddy bears, visit The Zoo Factory today.