WINKY CAUSES A SMALL-POX PANIC (1914) film no: 2234
This is one of a number of films featuring a comic character called Winky – starring Regie Switz, a personality mime actor who made over fifty Winky films – who in this film causes panic when he dresses up as a bear. The film was made by Bamforth and Company of Holmfirth.
The film begins with Winky opening a box on the pavement with a wall and broken gate behind him. He pulls out a bear costume from the box, holds it up whilst pointing to himself and grins to the camera. He emerges from behind the broken gate wearing the costume and walks off down the road. Arriving at a grand house Winky goes into the drawing room and panics an elderly man with a hearing aid. The man runs out of the house and sees a large group of police who happen to be marching past. He gets the police to go into the house, but they soon re-emerge falling over themselves and run off chased by the bear.
Winky then enters a pub and goes up to the bar while three men chat at a table in the foreground oblivious to his presence. Winky get a tray of beers off the barmaid and takes them over to the three men. At this point they run off and Winky drinks the beers, rubbing his stomach in contentment. He then appears behind the bar swigging from a bottle and grinning and winking at the camera. On leaving the pub drunk he is caught and dragged off by police.
[The title is puzzling as although smallpox was rife at the time, it is not carried by animals – this might not have been known at the time.]