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American Hippopotamus, Or How The US Tried To Import Hippos For Food

Illustration for article titled emAmerican Hippopotamus/em, Or How The US Tried To Import Hippos For Food

Back in 1910, in the midst of the American meat crisis, the US government came up with the idea to import hippos for food. This is how the "American Hippo Bill" was introduced. And now Bret Ratner and Edward Norton are turning this strange hippo story into a movie.


Louisiana Congressman Robert Broussard wanted to introduce the hippo to the bayous of Louisiana. Theodore Roosevelt thought this was a great idea, and two rival spies ended up spearheading the project. It ultimately fizzled out, but there are some spectacular tales about the men involved. And now it is all going to be a movie. Deadline is reporting that the hippo tale is coming to the big screen thanks to Brett Ratner and Edward Norton's individual production companies (who picked up the rights to the book American Hippopotamus). Based on the digital imprint by Jon Mooallem, here's what Deadline has to say about the translation:

Responding to a meat shortage in the U.S. in 1910, two bitter enemies joined forces to try and import hippopotamuses to the swamps of Louisiana and convince Americans to eat them. Even though Theodore Roosevelt and The New York Times endorsed the plan, the fact that you don't find hippo on the menu shows how well their campaign fared. Key to the movie is the rivalry of the hippo duo, both of whom were spies. Frederick Russell Burnham was a frontiersman and freelance adventurer whose exploits were the inspiration for the Boy Scouts, and he teamed with Fritz Duquesne, aka the Black Panther, a virtuoso con man and cynical saboteur who believed only in his own glorification and revenge. Burnham and Duquesne only recently had been under orders to assassinate each other, and they would return to being bitter enemies. But they took a break to try and get American hungry for hippos.


I'm in; I would like to see the pitch for the "Hippo Bacon" that was allegedly being pushed all over the South.

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Who knows, if the plan took off Wilbur might have been a hippo.