Geoff Geis

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Teddy Roosevelt was the world’s first movie star!

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.

Leon Czolgosz, anarchist and president-killer.

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.

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Once, Teddy Roosevelt got shot in the chest.

Once, Teddy Roosevelt got shot in the chest. You know in movies when the hero gets shot but is saved because, instead of hitting his heart, the bullet gets lodged in a lucky pendant that was given to him by a loved one? The same thing happened to Roosevelt, except instead of a lucky pendant he was saved by the bulky text of an overlong speech that he’d written in support of his failed third-party bid for the presidency in 1912.

Roosevelt, of course, delivered the speech before seeking medical attention.

The man who shot him, John Schrank, claimed that the ghost of William McKinley told him to do it. According to Schrank, McKinley’s ghost blamed Roosevelt for his death. This is funny, of course, because everyone knows that McKinley was killed savagely by lions while on safari in Africa.

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Music

This is Soft Sailors! We're a new band from Los Angeles. We don't have any upcoming shows scheduled, but you can hear us online:

Also, here are some solo songs I've uploaded recently to Soundcloud. I'm playing solo July 19th at the Pickle Factory at 647 Lamar Street in Los Angeles and September 1st at Los Globos in LA for a KCHUNG benefit.

In 2011, I released my first solo album, Princess. You can listen to it and download it on Bandcamp:

From 2005 until 2011, I was in the band Pizza! This is our album We Come From the Swamp:

From 2008-2010, I was in the band Big Whup. Here's one of our songs that I sang, called "Cover My Eyes:"

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