Friday, August 14, 2009

The Dog Days of Hollywood

When I think of Hollywood nowadays, what unfortunately fills my mind is pictures of vapid actresses who need to be tied to a chair and fed a cheeseburger. But this blog deserved more than that, and so I decided to take a look further back at some of the most beloved, ahem, actors and actresses of all time.

Rin Tin Tin: Found as a puppy huddled with his mother and three siblings in a muddy German trench during WWI, Taylor Swift has nothing on this dog’s rags-to-riches story. At the age of five, he was signed by Warner Bros, commanding an unheard-of salary of $1000 a week, which he earned by doing all his own stunts.

Lassie: An unwanted dog named Pal who spawned—literally—a cinematic tradition. It was Pal’s problem with chasing motorcycles which dropped him in the laps of the foremost Hollywood dog trainers of the time, Frank and Rudd Weatherwax. Pal and his sons firmly entrenched Lassie in the hearts of Americans for almost 70 years and counting.

Toto: A female Cairn terrier named Terry, the poor dog actually had to be replaced midway through the film when one of the the Wicked Witch of the West’s guards stepped on and broke her foot. No matter, though…she made more per week than the munchkins, and had a resume of 13 films before she passed away at the age of 10.

Old Yeller: My personal favorite, Spike, as he was named in real life, was a rescued Black Mouth Cur (a breed I’d never heard of before today) who was initially too friendly to play the part of a stray prairie dog. His owner managed to finagle a second tryout, though, and a week later, a toughened up Spike landed the part. He starred in several more films, but Old Yeller is the one that made him a star.

Jacquelyn Sylvan is the author of Surviving Serendipity. Buy it now at Amazon!

1 comment:

Pam Ripling said...

What a great post! How creative of you to go with Hollywood dogs. Thanks for the background on these talented canine actors.