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Canine Screen Stars – Their Early Impact on Purebred Dogs

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134 – March 2017

by Amy Fernandez

Dogs were inseparable from the entertainment business long before Hollywood started cranking out screen idols like Lassie and Strongheart. Unwary humans throughout history have had a front row seat for those incredible performances that were guaranteed to win sympathetic coop- eration and basically get the goods way before that payoff was gauged in terms of box office jingle. Their ability to master the essentials of performance arts and all those basics of stage- craft were honed to lethal perfection without the assistance of acting coaches, professional trainers, or talent scouts who came along to take the credit (and the cash) for this boundless pool of natural talent.

In that respect, dogs haven’t changed. The entertainment in- dustry most definitely has, and for reasons that are completely irrele- vant to the canine aspect of the deal. The main point is that audiences; expectations have risen steadily since Jean the Vitagraph dog first stepped in front of a camera back in 1911. No cardboard trees falling over, no strings manipulating the hub- cap flying saucers, and definitely not multiple visibly different dogs playing the same role. That’s created a new and interesting complication for canine show business.

While it’s emblematic of media preoccupations and biases, it likewise has nothing to do with the dog part of this situation. Essentially, if there’s a dog involved in the project it better be rescued, adopted, or recently snatched from the jaws of some horrific fate. Few things are guaranteed to capture public attention more predictably than the heartrending rags to riches story of the misfit, misunderstood canine narrowly escaping a dreadful fate thanks to some perceptive individual who recognized raw talent and launched a star. That scenario occasionally requires a bit of reframing for public relations purposes, which of course is also normal procedure in show business. Even so, it works on several levels.

Click here to read the complete article
134 – March 2017
 

Short URL: http://caninechronicle.com/?p=121710

Posted by on Dec 31 2020. Filed under Current Articles, Dog Show History, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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