Billy Possum, polar bear toy controversy

Clipped from US, New York, New York, New York Times, December 12, 1909

Roosevelt Trip a Boon to Toy Shops.Roosevelt’s African trip has been asmuch a boon to the toymakers as to thecartoonists, for there are already twlt; games called “With Teddy in Africa.'There is Roosevelt himself, Kermit wit! the camera, the beaters, the skinners, and co on in realistic figurettes, not forgetting the rhinoceri, hippopotami, giraffe, lion, and so on, which are also part of the game. Then, too, there are other weird creatures, no doubt the hartebeest, wildebeest, warthog, and so on, whicr have been prominent in the published nar-Matching the African hunt Is the arctic explorer, with seals, wolves, polar bears, musk oxen in place of the equatorial animals. The toymakers have avoided the polar controversy, however, by calling their main figure The Polar Explorer, ' with no names mentioned.Roosevelt's biggest assistance, however, is in the matter of the menagerie. The Teddy bear still sells, but not with the wonderful rapadity of two years ago. This Fall they introduced a Billy Possum, but Billy was a mere commercial venture and jiot the inspiration of a Schwartzwald animal maker, hit off to amuse the workman's own grandchild, and Billy Possum didn’t “ take ” at all. In fact, you willhardly find him around the stores.An experiment in the grotesque are the Russian doll nests, about the first of distinctly Russian toys to be placed on the American market. The large nests have twenty-four dolls, one within the other. Within the snake charmer is an old gentleman, who in turn conceals the Grand Turk who shelters a lady, and so on through all twenty-four. This toy is more patronized by elderly uncles who. wish to show the baby how it works, than by the little girls themselves.