Moviegoers know of Lassie, Old Yeller, Toto, Asta in the original Thin Man series, and Einstein in Back to the Future, (1985), but few know of the people behind the paws in films such as The Wizard of Oz (1939), Lassie Come Home (1943), The Thing (1951), Lassie television series (1954-1973), Hondo (1953), Old Yeller (1957), and Big Jake (1971).
From kennels to klieg lights, legendary dog trainer Bob Weatherwax pays tribute to Rudd Weatherwax, his father and the man whose genius guided some of the most beloved animal icons in motion picture history. This is their Hollywood inside story that no one could have ever imagined.
They were the most successful film dog trainers of all time, and they faced personal tragedy and fear of failure and loss, yet they survived to tell the tale of tails. Through humor and heartbreak, some of the most famous dogs on the silver screen owe their careers to an ordinary man rising to extraordinary fame and success. Against backdrops from the silent film era to the present, their story unfolds with a roster of characters that would make any casting director envious, including John Wayne, Elizabeth Taylor, Steven Spielberg, Vincent Price, Louie Armstrong, Richard Kiel, John Carpenter, Emmett Kelly, Lady Bird Johnson, Johnny Carson, Will Estes, Jon Provost, Tommy Rettig, June Lockhart, Mary Pickford, Michael Landon, Harvey Korman, Tim Conway, Lorne Michaels, Jesse Owens, John Ritter, Fred Wilcox, and Roddy McDowall.
Illustrated. Filmography. Index.
About the authors: Robert W. Weatherwax has won several PATSY awards and a Genesis award for directing.
Actor and producer Richard Lester’s animal documentary, The Weatherwax Legacy, earned an Honorable Mention from the Los Angeles Movie Awards. He is also the author of Hollywood Legend: The Johnny Duncan Story; A Wish Beyond the Stars; Flight of the Blue Heron; Feldpost Letters - Lifeline in a Time of War (Vol. 1 and 2).