July 2004
Cylinder of the Month

See also the  Cylinders of the Month Archive.

Now a quintessential sound of summer; hear how it sounded when it was new: from 1908, The Teddy Bears' Picnic.

The Teddy Bears' Picnic
Company Edison's National Phonograph Company
Cylinder # 9777
Category Orchestra
Title The Teddy Bears' Picnic
Performed by Edison Symphony Orchestra
Circa March 1908
Announcement "The Teddy Bears' Picnic, played by the Edison Symphony Orchestra."

The idea of the "Teddy Bear", a bear cub spared by President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt, caught the American public's imagination in late 1902.   Cuddly stuffed teddy bears soon became a growing fad toy.   In 1907, as the fad grew, this descriptive musical piece was written by John W. Bratton (lyrics came much later, in 1933).   This recording by Edison is possibly the earliest commercial recording of The Teddy Bears' Picnic.   Still well known today, this tune, and the teddy bear craze that prompted it, show how firmly established they are in popular culture.

To hear The Teddy Bears' Picnic  —

For help playing these sounds, click here.

9777   The Teddy Bears' Picnic Edison Symphony Orchestra
    A characteristic novelty by a favorite composer of instrumental numbers.   The music is at times "spooky" in character and suggests a gathering or march of "Teddy Bears."   The various instruments are used to advantage in suggesting large bears, small bears, and bears of all kinds.   The bassoon is heard prominently at intervals in the rendition.   Composer, John W. Bratton; publishers, M. Witmark & Sons, New York.
— January 1908 Edison Phonograph Monthly [announcing the March records]

To learn more, see:

— This cylinder of the month is from the collection of  Art Guenther —


To hear other examples of wax cylinders, see the

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