vintage, nostalgia and memories


April 8, 2017

Back when men would wrestle bears: Here's an amazing photo of a bear wrestling a man from 1902

Back when pro wrestling was a more stripped-down affair, when men wore plain black trunks and grapplers executed nothing remotely close to a moonsault, promoters looked for ways to add spectacle to the sport.

A bear wrestles with his trainer, circa 1902. (Photo: R. H. Trueman/Library and Archives Canada)

Bear wrestling had first been a popular spectacle in Europe. The Europeans watched bruin take on man the mid-1800s, but it wasn't until later that century that the Americans welcomed bears into the ring.

The above image — which was snapped in 1902 by R.H. Trueman — comes from Library and Archives Canada's strange photo collection. As the site oh-so pithily notes of this match-up:
The practice of keeping bears for amusement — common in the 19th century — has thankfully fallen out of fashion, making this image very difficult for contemporary Canadians to relate to. Add to that the apparent disinterest of the bear in his obviously unhappy "wrestling" partner, and you have a very strange image indeed.


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