Roadside Impresario (1917)

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George Beban was known on stage and screen for his portrayals of simple Italian characters. The plot to this picture, on the other hand, was head-spinning in its complexity. Giuseppe Franchini (Beban) travels around with his trained bear and lands in the town of Monterey, California, where there is much intrigue going on. Two rivals are battling it out in a mayoral election -- Craig Winton (Harrison Ford), who is running on the Reform ticket, and John Slade (Fred Huntley), a newspaper editor who runs the infamous Rumble Inn. Slade bribes a floozy (Adele Farrington) to trick Winton into a compromising position, and a photo of them together runs in Slade's paper. While all this is going on, Winton's fiancee Adelaide Vandergrift (Julia Faye) makes friends with the eccentric Giuseppe. But the bear knocks over the beehives owned by her magnate father J. Stewart Vandergrift (Harry DeVere), and both bear and trainer are arrested. In lieu of a hundred-dollar fine, the bear -- not Giuseppe -- is thrown in jail for ten years. While searching for the money to get his bear out from behind bars, Giuseppe goes to the Rumble Inn and gets his hands on the agreement that the floozy made with Slade. He gives it to Adelaide and her father, thus saving Winton's reputation and career. Only then does he discover that Adelaide is his long-lost daughter, but he doesn't reveal himself as her father to keep from disrupting her happy life. With that, he and the bear head off together into the sunset.