Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Star of the month (special) "Toto"

Without question, the most known dog in movie history. Many dogs tried to eclipse Toto's success. Most don't know that Toto has an autobiography that's available in most stores. She almost lost her life when she broke her foot in The Wizard of Oz. Toto (Terry) appeared in over 10 Hollywood films. The industry took a big blow when she died.

Toto's real name was Terry. She was two years old when she starred in the Wizard of Oz. Her trainer was Carl Spitz. Trainer Carl Spitz was the trainer. Terry had done previous screen work. Some of her other appearances: Ready for Love (1934) The Dark Angel (1935) Fury (1936) The Buccaneer (1938) Bad Little Angel (1939) Calling Philo Vance (1940) Twin Beds (1942). As Toto, Terry made $125 per week. (Lana Turner start with $5 o perweek)
Terry became like a house pet to Hango Dennison (niece of Carl Spitz). Terry died around 1945 (11 yrs. old). She was buried on their kennel property in the San Fernando Valley.

Did you know???

  • Toto was a Cairn Terrier whose real name was "Terry". And, even though Toto was referred to as a "he" in MGM's classic film, Toto was really a "she".

  • Carl Spitz, Hollywood animal trainer, acquired Terry, who would play the role of Toto, almost four years before the film was made. Believe it or not, as Spitz began training Terry, the dog was so shy that for three weeks it didn't come out from under the bed as Harmetz notes in her book.

  • And, not to be slighted, Terry, or rather Spitz, received a salary of $125.00 per week for the use of the dog in The Wizard of Oz.

  • Just like her human co-stars, Terry was not exempt from receiving injuries during filming. Harmetz elaborates in her book as follows, "One of the Witch's soldiers stepped on Terry, the Cairn terrier who played the part of Toto. It had taken the dog weeks to learn how to cope with the wind machines. Eventually, she had learned to duck behind the principals when the wind machines were turned on. Then, during the rehearsals of the scene where Toto is pursued by the soldiers, one of them jumped on top of her and sprained her foot."
  • After The Wizard of Oz (1939) her name was officially changed to Toto.

    She spent two weeks at Judy Garland's house while training to play Toto in The Wizard of Oz (1939).

    Her salary for The Wizard of Oz (1939) was $125 a week, more than many of the human actors in the film.

    She attended the premiere of The Wizard of Oz (1939) at Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

checkout Willard Carroll's terrific book
I, Toto : The Autobiography of Terry, the Dog Who Was "Toto"

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