Toy companies tried to replace the Teddy bear with a Billy possum!
The teddy bear has been a childhood best friend for over a hundred years, but if the toy companies had gotten their way, we'd have been holding a different animal altogether!
Teddy bears really rejuvenated the toy industry in the early 1900's. The toy companies thought it was just a passing fad, though. They figured that once Roosevelt was out of office, the buzz would die down.
So what did they do to keep their profits up? They decided since it worked with one president, maybe it would work with the next.
When William Taft was elected, he feasted on the dish possum and taters. He was also presented with a stuffed possum by local boosters. They told him it would be the next big thing and replace the teddy bear.
The next day he told reporters how much he liked possum…esp
ecially eating it.
What came next was essentially a smear campaign against teddy
bears. The market was flooded with anti-teddy bear products, many featuring the new billy possum. One had a possum feasting on a roasted teddy bear.
In the end, the billy possum was a flop and teddy bears remained
in demand.Perhaps it has to do with the story behind the two toys. One showed off compassion towards a cute animal, while the other was about eating well. Let's face it, bears are cuter than possums anyway.