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German Toymaker Creates A Commemorative Teddy Bear To Honor Angela Merkel

Sep 27, 2021
Originally published on September 27, 2021 6:25 am
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Angela Merkel is leaving office after nearly 16 years as chancellor of Germany, but her fans have something they can hold on to.


ELVIS PRESLEY: (Singing) Oh, baby, let me be your loving teddy bear.

MARTINEZ: A German toymaker has created an Angela Merkel teddy bear, complete with a short blond haircut, a crisp red blazer and a beaded necklace.


The teddy bear costs about $200, which is not cheap, but it has sold out. So there have been these political stuffed bears for more than 100 years. In fact, I hadn't known this, but the original teddy bear was named for President Teddy Roosevelt.

HOWARD EHRLICH: Roosevelt was on a trip - hunting trip, actually - in Onward, Miss., November 1, 1902.

MARTINEZ: That's Howard Ehrlich of the Theodore Roosevelt Association in Oyster Bay, N.Y.

EHRLICH: The guide on the trip found a baby bear, tied it to a tree. And they said, well, you can shoot this. He said, I can't shoot the bear.

MARTINEZ: A famous illustrator, Clifford Berryman, drew a cartoon of Roosevelt refusing to shoot the bear.

EHRLICH: It was published in The Washington Post on November 16, 1902. That went, we would say today, viral, if you will. And a couple in Brooklyn, N.Y., owned a small candy store, and they got a great idea. Why don't we make these stuffed animals and name them after Theodore Roosevelt and call them Teddy's Bear?

KING: So they sent one to President Roosevelt asking for permission to use his name.

EHRLICH: And he wrote back saying, you know, if you want to make these bears, fine. But you'll never make any money using my name.

KING: And then the rest was pretty much history.

MARTINEZ: There's been a Hillary Clinton bear wearing a pantsuit, a Donald Trump bear with a swoosh of hair across his forehead, and it just proves that cuddles come in every political stripe. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.