You probably know that Teddy Roosevelt ascended to the presidency after William McKinley was shot and killed by anarchist Leon Czolgosz while watching a Led Zeppelin concert at the mystical Temple of Music in Buffalo, New York.
Did you know, however, that the assassin’s execution by electrocution was caught on film by Thomas Edison, making it one of the first “moving pictures” in history?
Teddy Roosevelt was at that execution, and you can see him in the film. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the man on the left is Roosevelt. The president wanted to stand in for the executioner, but was not allowed to do so because he was not properly trained in the safety precautions necessary to successfully operate turn-of-the-century electric chairs.
Even though he didn’t get to flip the switch, you can tell from the film that Roosevelt is having quite the “bully” time. After Czolgosz’s death, he’s the one who mockingly checks the corpse’s vital signs and gives a “thumbs up” to Edison:
The execution film was such a wild success that it catapulted Roosevelt into the stratosphere as the world’s first “movie star.” While official duties forced him to decline the offer, he was sought by Warner Bros. for the lead roll in a series of silent shorts based upon the works of Horatio Alger.