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Aloysius too ancient to revisit Brideshead
June 5, 2007 / 7:36 AM / in 11 years

Aloysius too ancient to revisit Brideshead

LONDON (Reuters) - At the ripe old age of 100, Aloysius is too weary to revisit Brideshead -- but one of the world’s most famous teddy bears may consider a cameo appearance.

<p>Aloysius the teddy bear is seen in this undated photograph released in London June 4, 2007. At the ripe old age of 100, Aloysius is too weary to revisit Brideshead--but one of the worlds most famous teddy bears may consider a cameo appearance. Aloysius gained iconic status as the teddy bear clutched by effete Oxford student Sebastian Flyte in the 1981 television adapation of the Evelyn Waugh classic "Brideshead Revisited." REUTERS/mmstudios/Handout</p>

Aloysius gained iconic status as the teddy bear clutched by effete Oxford student Sebastian Flyte in the 1981 television adaptation of the Evelyn Waugh classic “Brideshead Revisited.”

Now, with a remake of Brideshead being filmed, stardom could beckon again -- if age does not catch up with him.

“He is in good spirits but is getting on in years and really looks like a centenarian,” said Ian Pout, owner of the Teddy Bear Museum in Witney, western England where Aloysius resides.

“He would come out of retirement for a cameo role if offered. But he wishes his successor all the best,” Pout told Reuters.

Andrew Davies, one of the scriptwriters on the new Brideshead film, caused a literary stir when announcing that in the remake “There will be no Aloysius. He’s out.”

Author John Mortimer, who wrote the original Brideshead screenplay, was outraged: “Aloysius is remembered by everyone. He’s an integral character.”

So the makers of the new adaptation moved fast to quell the Teddy Bear backlash with Davies’ fellow screenwriter Jeremy Brock insisting ”Rumors of his demise are premature.

“Aloysius does make an appearance in the film, a subtle performance full of quiet authority which seems to hint at his master’s latent immaturity without ever resorting to teddy-bear stereotypes.”

The original Aloysius had an intriguing, well-traveled life.

Made in 1907 by the Ideal Toy Company in America, he lived quietly in Maine where he sat on display in Euphemia Ladd’s grocery store for four decades.

When she saw British actor Peter Bull waxing lyrical on the Johnny Carson show about his love of teddy bears, Ladd sent Bull her teddy.

Brideshead’s original director Derek Granger approached Bull for a suitable bear and praised Aloysius’ professionalism.

“He was never late on set, he never bumped into other actors and was never drunk,” Granger recalled.

After Bull’s death in 1984, Aloysius starred briefly at the Stratford Teddy Bear Museum before being bought by Californian collectors who in turn agreed to sell him back to Britain and his present owner.

Pout said: “Unlike Winnie the Pooh and Paddington Bear, Aloysius is a real-life bear, so I think he can lay claim to being the most famous bear in the world who has been seen by millions of viewers.”

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