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Teddy at the Throttle (1917)

Bobby Vernon, Teddy the dog, and Gloria Swanson in Teddy at the Throttle

Bobby Vernon, Teddy the dog, and Gloria Swanson in “Teddy at the Throttle”

This famous two-reel, 1917 slapstick comedy is notable for several reasons. It’s now one hundred years old. Think of that. A movie made a hundred years ago. I think it’s interesting to see the way people dressed, what they drove, and how they comported themselves a hundred years ago. Of course, it’s a silent film (sound movies were still about twelve years off). It stars eighteen-year-old Gloria Swanson and the first of her six husbands, Wallace Beery, who was fourteen years older she was. Her male love interest in the film is diminutive (5’ 2”) Bobby Vernon. Gloria is an heiress who stands to inherit a lot of money, but she doesn’t know it yet. She wants to marry little Bobby, but Wallace Beery wants to marry her so he can get the money. Wallace and his odd (and very statuesque) sister, played by May Emory, want Bobby to marry her (May), so he (Bobby) will no longer want to marry Gloria. Bobby and May are as mismatched as Gloria and Wallace are. Gloria ends up chained to the railroad tracks with a train coming along any minute but—never fear!—Gloria’s faithful dog Teddy is on the way to save her!   


 View the 24-minute film here:


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