Snoopy, Lassie, Marmaduke, Beethoven, UnderDog, and even Huckleberry Hound all had their moment in the sun over the years. Some were flashes in the pan and others have become societal icons. Dog posters of these characters are easy to find, but what about some of the more obscure canine companions? For every superstar, there were at least ten not so famous pups that could use a little recognition. Some of them have become enduring symbols and others are just what they are supposed to be, man's best friend, ever by our side and never seeking recognition for their achievements.
Since the beginning of the Twentieth Century, there have been films and famous artists portraying dogs of all breeds doing heroic and humorous things that have made them worthy of at least a mention. Before 1900, there were artists who painted dogs, some of what became famous for other works. That also happened in recent years, as you'll read below. If you're a dog lover and trivia buff, this is one list you'll definitely want to check out. It's not numbered or ranked, because there's no way to rate one dog as somehow more important than others. It is however, a list of important furry four-legged friends who have quietly made history. You will definitely be surprised by some of the little known facts contained here.
Rover's Real Name was Blair
Hollywood has glamorized dogs since they first started making movies back in the early Twentieth Century. In 1905, a silent film called Rescued by Rover depicted a heroic collie saving an infant from a beggar woman who kidnapped her while the family nanny was distracted and speaking to a handsome soldier. The film is widely considered to be the first movie of any kind to use paid actors. The nanny, the soldier, and the beggar woman were all given half a guinea to play their roles. The film was so successful that the filmmaker, Britain's Cecil Hepworth, had to shoot it twice. The negative from the first shooting wore out after several shows. In both versions, Hepworth used his family dog and his own infant child. The dog's name was not Rover. It was Blair.
Where Would Annie have been Without Sandy?
Little Orphan Annie, a popular comic strip character created by Harold Gray, first appeared in print on August 5, 1924 and was published illegally uninterrupted until June 13, 2010. During that time, she was loved and hated, respected and scorned, pitied and envied, but there was always one constant – her dog Sandy. Like any good canine companion, Sandy stand around her through thick and thin, never wavering even when Gray's politics transformed to sink their fledgling career. During their radio years, from 1930 to 1942, Sandy had a speaking role in the intro and a regular spot during the fifteen minute afternoon show. Who did Sandy's voice? Beginning in 1936, it was a little known NBC employee named Orson Welles. He was twenty years old when he was first hired for the part, just two years before his famous War of the Worlds broadcast.
Mike, Fritzi, Rags, Bozo, or Homer?
Most people have seen the movie dog poster from Disney's 1955 animated film Lady and the Tramp, and most just assume the stray's name is simply "The Tramp". There are friendly families that feed him and call him Mike or Fritzi, but neither of those is his real name. During the film, he is not specifically addressed by any title other than "The Tramp". The cast of the film, those who did the voices, experimented with a number of different tags, including Rags and Bozo, but chose not to assign the poor pup one when the film was finally released. For those of you who are trivia buffs, his real name, the one that they wrote into the original script, is Homer. Why is this historic? Homer and his pals were all part of the first animated feature filmed in CinemaScope Widescreen, a revolutionary look that would change the scope of filmmaking for the decades that followed – the 1960s and 70s.
Andy Warhol and Maurice
Andy Warhol was an American painter and filmmaker who 1963 painting The Eight Elvies sold for a record $ 100 million. The purchase made Warhol a legend, on par with Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollock. The painting, which is a silkscreen, is a portrait of Elvis Presley which was owned at the time of the sale by Italian art collector Annibale Berlingieri. The buyer is unknown. Warhol also produced another painting called, Portrait of Maurice, a depiction of a dachshund that belonged to friend and fellow art collector Gabrielle Keiller. You can find reproductions of Maurice anywhere where dog posters are sold for as little as $ 10 apiece. You will not however, find him listed on any of the many internet lists of famous Warhol's, but total sales of the image far exceeded the selling price of The Eight Elvises. It sees that small amounts really do add up over time.
Toto – The Dog Who Saw in Color
They say that dogs see in black and white, but there's one dog on this list that definitely saw things in color, at least once the house finally landed in the merry old land of Oz. Toto, one of the most celebrated dog poster dogs of all time, was the first Canis Lupus Familiaris to set foot in Munchkinland and will be forever immortalized because of it. The movie itself is ranked as the most watched of all time and was credited with finally bringing vivid color into the filmmaking industry. Toto, however, was not the dog's real name, nor was he the male dog that Frank Baum created him to be. Toto was played by a female black Cairn terrier named "Terry" and she was a professional actress. She was paid $ 125 a week, which was $ 75 more than each of the munchkins made, and she broke her foot during production when one of the witch's guards stepped on it. Her owners, no doubt influenced by the film's popularity, changed her name to Toto in real life after the film's release in 1939. She lived to be eleven and is the only dog on this list to have her own "autobiography", written by Willard Carroll.
Copyright (c) 2010 Trey Markel
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