Film: 7462

Natural History | 1900 | Silent | B/W


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Electrocuting an elephant 1903 filmed by Edison

Synopsis: Bleached out shot of an elephant being led out by the keeper. Crowd of men follow. Elephant wears leather headdress or harness. Elephant is tied to the ground by strong ropes or chains around its neck. It thumps on the ground with its front leg. Cloud of smoke billows out from its legs. The elephant stiffens her back legs and throws her trunk forward. She collapses forward. Smoke billows over her and then clears. Elephant twitches her back leg. Elephant convulses. End.

History: As far as can be established, Topsy the elephant had killed someone and was going to be put down. Edison at the time was putting on public shows of his electricity and filming them. He acquired Topsy for one of his shows and publicly executed her at Coney Island on the 4th of January 1903, resulting in this piece of film.

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