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In 1984, Keanu Reeves Was A Teddy Bear Convention News Reporter

It's always fascinating to see the entertainment exploits of big movie stars from before they were famous. There's Steve McQueen in "The Blob," a low-budget horror movie that has almost nothing to do with the kinds of films McQueen would become known for later in his career. Many who know Leonardo DiCaprio from his collaborations with Martin Scorsese might be shocked to see him as part of the cast of the family sitcom "Growing Pains" back in the early 90s. Marylin Monroe was famously a pinup girl before she broke into films, and then there are the former child actors who manage to eclipse their young brushes with fame like Kurt Russell or Jodie Foster.

One of the most charming examples of this comes from the career of Keanu Reeves. He's best known as the steely assassin John Wick or the messianic Neo in "The Matrix" today, but once upon a time, he was just another young person trying to make it in the competitive world of Canadian broadcasting.

It was back in 1984, a good five years before his breakthrough in "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" and even before he'd done any real acting at all to speak of. Reeves's first showbiz job was as a correspondent on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's "Going Great," a youth-focused news magazine program. And one of his more unusual assignments on the program has become the stuff of pre-fame movie star lore.

Keanu's take on the Canadian International Teddy Bear Convention has shades of his Bill & Ted persona

Years before "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure," "Point Break," or "Bram Stoker's Dracula," Keanu Reeves was just another correspondent on "Going Great." His most memorable assignment? Covering the inaugural Canadian International Teddy Bear Convention (via Far Out), an event that attracted serious teddy bear collectors from across the country and possibly the world. As Reeves himself put it:

"When I was sent to check out the first Canadian International Teddy Bear Convention, I thought I was in for a lot of craziness. But then I met thirteen-year-old Graham Abby and his 53 bears and discovered there's a serious side to collecting teddy bears."

You can watch a clip of Reeves covering the Canadian International Teddy Bear Convention on YouTube, and if you're like most viewers you will detect a hint of Ted Logan, his character in the "Bill & Ted" franchise, in Reeves's approach to human interest TV news. And his unbridled enthusiasm for the strange world of teddy bear collecting is a great reflection of the open-heartedness he is known for when he's not killing rival assassins or rogue agents in his most famous feature film roles.

The highlight of the video is Keanu Reeves locked in combat with a rabid teddy bear

Of course, the violence of "John Wick" or "The Matrix" isn't completely unrepresented in this piece of early Keanu Reeves juvenalia. In what is perhaps the video's highlight, Reeves performs a great gag where he pretends to be attacked by one ostensibly friendly fluffy white teddy bear, perhaps showing an inkling of the kung fu fighter he would later become, or the intensity of the "John Wick" fights he has professed to love. And this moment is naturally a great showcase for his sense of humor, just like the rest of the piece is.

If you're a Reeves superfan, it's unlikely that his "Going Great" coverage of the 1984 Canadian International Teddy Bear Convention will replace "The Matrix" or "My Own Private Idaho" in your personal Keanu Canon, even as it does provide an invaluable glimpse at the screen performer in his early days. But it's definitely more entertaining than "47 Ronin."