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Published on Apr 23, 2011
This 1903 film by Thomas Edison records the lethal execution of elephant Topsy.
This film documents the publicly announced January 4, 1903 killing of Topsy the elephant at the (still under construction) Luna Park on Coney island. The elephant had recently been acquired from Forepaugh Circus, where she had a reputation as a "bad" elephant, having killed a drunken spectator the previous year who burnt the tip of her trunk with a lit cigar. After several incidents at Luna Park (sometimes attributed to the actions of her drunken handler, William "Whitey" Alt) the owners of Luna Park, Frederick Thompson and Elmer Dundy, claimed they could no longer handle the elephant and announced they would hang Topsy in a public spectacle and charge admission. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals stepped in, questioning the idea of hanging an elephant as well as making a public spectacle out of the death of an animal. Thompson and Dundy cut the event back to invited guest and press only and agreed to use a more sure method of strangling the elephant with large ropes tied to a steam powered winch. They also agreed they would use poison and electricity as well. Info via wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electro...