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Electrocuting an Elephant (1903)

The execution of Topsy, a female elephant, in a publicity stunt advertising the opening of Luna Park on Coney Island. Topsy was originally owned by Forepaugh Circus where she killed a ... See full summary »

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The execution of Topsy, a female elephant, in a publicity stunt advertising the opening of Luna Park on Coney Island. Topsy was originally owned by Forepaugh Circus where she killed a drunken spectator who burned the tip of her trunk with a cigar. She was sold to Sea Lion Park in 1902 which was then sold to new owners who turned it into Luna Park. After they decided they could no longer handle her, the owners of Luna Park announced they would hang Topsy, leading to an outcry by the ASPCA. The owners then decided they would electrocute the elephant, with a backup plan of feeding her cyanide-laced carrots and strangling her with a cable. Written by Rob O

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Documentary | Short

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12 January 1903 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Electrocution of an Elephant  »

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1.33 : 1
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The event was originally witnessed by an estimated 1,500 people. See more »

Connections

Featured in Kingdom of Shadows (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

Cruel? Yes, but see this movie as part of that period of history
29 January 2014 | by See all my reviews

First of all: It wasn't Edison who sentenced this poor elephant to death It wasn't Edison who abused the elephant It wasn't Edison who made the public bloodthirsty

Edison's involvement with the execution of the elephant is by providing the equipment and then filming the event. So making use of two of his "inventions". That he also makes a profit off the fate of the elephant has to be blamed to the nature of humankind that is still eager to see extreme violence. I only have to mention the success of the Faces of Death movies and you see that nothing has changed in 100 years.

What about the movie which in fact is a documentary or rather a newsflash. The filming is accurate en there is some historic significance. So it is important that this movie still exist and shows us a world where cruelty on animals (and human beings) was still a public affair.


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