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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 »

Director:

Thomas A. Edison
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Cast

Credited cast:
Carl Goliath Carl Goliath ... Self (elephant handler)
Topsy Topsy ... Self
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Storyline

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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Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

This may have been the first death ever captured on film. See more »

Connections

Featured in Snuff: A Documentary About Killing on Camera (2008) See more »

User Reviews

Hmmmmm. Interesting.
19 October 2003 | by bigsleepjSee all my reviews

Boy, talk about a gratuitous documentary. Imagine the pre-production scene that happened!

Edison: "Hey, an elephant killed some people, LET'S ELECTROCUTE IT BEFORE CAMERA!"

"Really, Mr Edison, is it decent?"

"WHO CARES! ELECTRICITY! ZAP! ZAP! ZAP!"

Seriously, this is a very odd piece for PETA to use in their campaign for animal rights. I'm not a very PETA-person, but I'm with them on electrocuting elephants, which Edison surely should have been. This is a very disturbing piece of work, especially when you see that the shock did not kill the poor animal.


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Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

12 January 1903 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Electrocution of an Elephant See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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