Teddy the Great Dane, who became known as Keystone Teddy, the Wonder Dog captured the hearts of Americans in the early 1900s, making him one of the most famous dogs at that time.
Teddy stood 42 inches tall and weighed almost 150 pounds. The giant dog began his acting career in 1913 at Mack Sennett's Keystone Studios. He started out as an extra in a short film called A Little Hero, and got his break in 1916 in Sennett's one-reeler The Nick of Time Baby. By 1917, his name appeared in the title of Sennett's most famous Keystone comedy short film called Teddy At The Throttle, where he starred alongside Gloria Swanson and Bob Vernon. In this silent film, Teddy sings with Gloria, dances with the maid and near the end of the film he saves Gloria who is chained to a railroad track from an oncoming train.
|Teddy pulling Bob Vernon with his tail on "Teddy At The Throttle."|
Because of his athletic ability and onscreen antics, Teddy - dubbed as "the dog with the human brain" - became the most popular dog film star in America. He appeared in magazines, made public appearances, and even sold war bonds. Interest in Great Danes grew throughout the nation and the name Teddy became the most popular dog name. According to one magazine article, Teddy earned $50 a week and paid $25 in taxes, and he received six soup bones a week. At the peak of his career, he became one of Sennett's highest paid actors, earning $350 a week. The public adored Teddy, and soon he became known as Keystone Teddy, the Wonder Dog.
|Teddy with Louise Fazenda and Mack Sennett.|
Teddy continued to appear in many comedies alongside all of Sennett's biggest stars like Chester Conklin, Marie Prevost and Louise Fazenda. He was featured or starred in at least 60 films, mostly all shorts. During one filming on the beach in 1918, he became a real-life hero when he rescued an actress from the water. His last film was The Extra Girl with superstar Mabel Normand. Teddy retired in 1923 and passed away in 1925 at the age of 14. According to a movie critic writing for Variety, Teddy's performance was "wonderfully interesting" and "this canine performer does many things better than some human beings."
"Teddy At The Throttle"