FAMOUS DOGS I
Importance of Dogs in our SocietyThere are many dogs, both real and fictional, that are immediately recognized in our society. They have reached the level of icons. Some famous dogs of earlier days are still fondly remembered.
Nipper, the Dog Listening to the Phonograph
Nipper (1884–1895) was the dog, probably a Jack Russell Terrier, that served as the model for the painting titled His Late Master's Voice. In 1899 his owner applied for a copyright of his picture.
Thinking that the Edison-Bell Company might want to buy the picture, Nipper’s owner offered it to an Edison executive who, revealing a lack of imagination that would eventually result in Edison exiting the record business altogether, promptly said, “Dogs don’t listen to phonographs.”
Later that year the artist went to the offices of The Gramophone Company, where the Manager bought the painting. A modified form of the painting became the successful trademark of Victor and HMV records, HMV music stores, and RCA.
Lassie, “Timmy has Fallen in the Well”
The larger-than-life fictional collie Lassie was created by Eric Knight in a short story and was expanded to a novel, Lassie Come-Home, published in 1940. In 1943 MGM made the movie Lassie Come Home. Six more MGM movies starring Lassie were made in the next eight years. All starred a dog named Pal, owned and trained by Rudd Weatherwax.
Weatherwax acquired the Lassie name and trademark from MGM and appeared with Pal (as "Lassie") at rodeos, fairs, and similar events across America in the early 1950s.
In 1954, the long running, Emmy winning television series Lassie debuted, and, over the next 19 years, a succession of Pal's descendants appeared on the series.
Lassie routinely displayed extraordinary skill and ability to communicate to people when her young master was in trouble and needed to be rescued. “Timmy has fallen in the well!” Her heroic ability has been frequently parodied when a dog’s barking is translated by those humans listening as detailed information and instructions for the rescue of another character.
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