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CAIRN MOVIE DESCRIPTIONS

1940’s

·         *Son Of The Navy-1940,
    James Dunn, Jean Parker, Toto, directed by William Nigh.
     The dog is Terry aka Toto the Cairn in the role of Pal. This is a story of a runaway orphan boy and his dog searching for parents at Christmas. This picture was made at the extremely low budget Monogram studios and was often billed as a double feature with "The Barefoot Boy" another Monogram film and one of Toto's early films.

            The orphan boy in the story finds two parent candidates who are a perfect, squabbling match. With the help of the little Cairn, he tricks the parents of his dreams into each other’s arms. His future dad is a Navy officer and his future mom is an officer’s daughter who is determined to never marry into the Navy. They both grow to love the little boy and his dog despite their constant bickering. Together the dog and boy finally find the family of their dreams. This is a touching holiday movie.
     The diner scene with Terry at the lunch counter is adorable, as is the scene where Terry and her little boy owner say their prayers before bed. Terry steals most of the scenes while demonstrating a remarkable range of acting talent in this funny, sweet, entertaining picture.
     This movie is historically special as well because it contains a great deal of military footage of several famous battleships, including the California and others. The California was the flagship of the Pacific fleet. Look carefully and you'll see the battleship Arizona leaving for its first Pacific tour of duty. This ship was famously lost along with most of its crew the following year in 1941 during the attack on Pearl Harbor. DVD made to order in DVD-R format from Amazon.com.

 

·        *Calling Philo Vance-1940,
     James Stevenson, Margo Stevenson. Toto, directed by William Clemens.
    This was a remake of the 1933 film “The Kennel Murder Case with William Powell and Mary Astor based on the novel of the same name by S.S. Van Dine. Terry aka Toto the Cairn is featured as the pet dog MacTavish. When watching this picture you might be fooled into thinking Toto's not in it. Don't make this mistake. Her owner and trainer Carl Spitz and Jack Weatherwax of Weatherwax Kennels, the family known for training and breeding the famous Lassie dogs, worked a magical grooming on her to change her over from Cairn to Scottie. This is one of two pictures where Toto works in disguise as another breed of terrier. With some care and blonde hair coloring, she played a Sealyham in another film early in her career.,  Not available for home viewing as of 2011.

 

·        *Cinderella's Feller- 1940
     (19 minute short), Juanita Quigley, Scotty Beckett, Marjorie Whatley, Anne Bennett, Virginia Brissac, Maris Wrixon, Toto, directed by William C. McGann.
     The dog is played by Terry aka Toto the Cairn.  Keep an eye out when you rent or buy old films on VHS, DVD or in collections. There are often short films attached to them in the extra features menus and this little fairy tale might just turn up unexpectedly.
     Cinderella’s Feller may be available in the Errol Flynn movie collection as a short feature on the collection. It was edited into a 1940 musical film short entitled “Musical Movieland directed by Leroy Prinz. Not available for home viewing as of 2011.

 

·        *The Chocolate Soldier-1941,
     Nelson Eddy, Rise Stevens, Toto, directed by Roy Del Ruth.
    Terry aka Toto the Cairn plays the dog of the opera singer Maria whose jealous husband sets up the plot. This movie has his and hers pet dogs, his is a Great Dane, hers is the Cairn Terrier. The two dogs provide comic relief during home rehearsals while listening to each owner’s singing practice behind the doors of separate bedrooms.
      Rise Stevens stars as Maria, the Opera diva, whose jealous husband Karl is played by Nelson Eddy. Nigel Bruce, later to be known best in his role of Dr. Watson opposite Basil Rathbone in the Sherlock Holmes movies, plays the opera critic and dear friend of the couple. The diva’s personal friend and attendant Pugsy, or Madame Helene in the credits, is played by Florence Bates best known later in her career as Mrs. Van Hopper in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rebecca.
     This is one of my dad’s favorite operatic movies, he loves Rise Stevens. She is lovely. Her singing is amazing. This film pairs two of Hollywood’s highest paid singing stars of the forties with one of its highest paid canine stars. Nelson Eddy really plays the roles of jealous husband and ardent Russian lover perfectly. It’s a light frothy musical romance based loosely on various opera plots that features music from Oscar Straus’s “Chocolate Soldier”.
     In this picture the two stars sing in the opera but offstage the jealous husband pretends to be an ardent Russian admirer. The husband attempts to expose and prove his belief in his wife’s tendency to infidelity. However, the dogs and the wife are not fooled for long so plenty of very funny mix-ups ensue. VHS.

 

·         All The World’s A Stooge-1941
   
Moe Howard, Shemp Howard, Larry Fine, directed by Del Lord, directed by Del Lord and Hugh McCollum written by John Grey.
    In this short the rich Mrs. Bullion who has filled her home with child substitutes of dogs and cats looks to adopt an orphan war refugee. She ends up with three of them, all Stooges in disguise. Nothing cures the longing for the patter of little feet like 6 little Stooge feet. This is a very funny short full of classic Stooge slapstick humor. The wheaten Cairn Terrier is uncredited and appears briefly in the early dinner scene sitting at the dining room table where Mrs. Bullion would like to see a child. Available on VHS, in various DVD collections, Netflix, and online at youtube.

 

 ·        Love Crazy 1941, 
     William Powell, Myrna Loy, Florence Bates, directed by Jack Conway.
    This is a hilarious comedy with a sweet little wheaten Cairn who is uncredited. The Cairn has the funniest scene in the film where he licks the face of the main character played by William Powell as he's stuck in an elevator shaft on the way home for his anniversary. Romantic misunderstandings force Powell to commit himself to save his marraige. Powell and Loy are as charming in this picture as in their famous pairing in "The Thin Man" series. Available on Netflix and for purchase at Amazon and other retailers.

 

·         *Twin Beds-1942,
    Joan Bennett, George Brent, Toto, directed by Tim Whelan.
     Poochie, the pet of young newlyweds, has a close friendship in this picture with a Wolfhound named Ninochka that helps to move the plot along. Terry the Cairn aka Toto, plays the role of Poochie. Margaret Hamilton, later to become famous as the Wicked Witch of the West, appears as the sharp and funny housekeeper in Poochie’s apartment.
     This is the story of what happens when young newlyweds have too many married friends, and all of them have jealous wives. Three couples change apartments in this bedroom farce to avoid romantic entanglements but due to the mistakes of a dense real estate manager they all end up in the same apartment building and often in the same bedroom. VHS, DVD.

 

·         #Reap The Wild Wind- 1942,
     John Wayne, Ray Milland, Paulette Goddard, Raymond Massey, Robert Preston, Susan Hayward, Hedda Hopper, Rommy the Cairn, owned/trained by Frank Weatherwax, brother to the trainer of the Lassie dogs, directed by the great Cecil B. Demille.
     John Wayne is terrific in this really exciting picture. This film is full of nifty pre-CGI underwater special effects and action. The fight with the octopus/squid is tons of fun and steampunk fans will enjoy it, along with the time period setting of the film. The scenes with the old diving suit are expertly done. There is a lot of tension and excitement throughout.
     John Wayne is young, brave, honest, and handsome in this full color ocean tale. The Cairn is a prominent actor throughout and quite the seadog. The Cairn actor in this picture is Rommy the Cairn. Rommy was trained by the famous Weatherwax family known for all the Lassie dogs of film and television. This is a great movie. This picture earned one Academy Award and two Academy Award nominations. VHS, DVD, available on Netflix.

 

·        *Tortilla Flat-1942,
     Frank Morgan, (seem familiar, see Wizard of Oz), Spencer Tracy, John Garfield, Heddy Lamar, and guess who, Toto, directed by Victor Fleming, (another “Wizard of Oz veteran).
     Frank Morgan, (the Wizard himself), once again plays a loner, named Pirate, working with Terry the Cairn and an assortment of other dogs in this picture. Terry the Cairn aka Toto plays Pirate’s dog little Paelito This casting of Frank Morgan is superb. John Garfield is excellent in the role of young Danny, the heir to a fortunate inheritance. The picture suffers from a miscasting of Spencer Tracy as the neer-do-well friend and con artist. He just doesn’t do accents or ethnic roles well at all.
     The viewer should keep in mind this is a 1942 Hollywood treatment of a great early Steinbeck novel about Monterey, CA and the charm and drama of personal lives changed by money and love. The portrayal of Mexican, Portuguese, and Chinese Americans is dated and naive. Having said that, this film has a number of virtues that override the casting issues, dated portrayals, and the scripting.

    
The movie has some of the most beautiful scenery of the Monterey coast and the big coastal Redwoods of 1940’s California on film. This is one of the very few films with redwood forest footage that provides the viewer a feel for the scale and majesty of the big trees. It also contains footage of the beautiful Carmel Mission and a reenactment of a sardine canning assembly line that was actually filmed in a small cannery. This makes the historic nature of the film important.
     The movie contains one of the most touching  and sweetly written scenes ever filmed with a Cairn Terrier, pug, pointer, or assorted other breeds of dog. There is a scene in this picture where the miracle of St. Francis of Assisi is told to a group of dogs in a makeshift chapel in the redwoods. Frank Morgan, who does an excellent and charming portrayal of a citizen of the tortilla flats, gathers his dogs in the woods to tell them the story of the miracle of St. Francis they could not accompany him to the church to hear.
      The scene with the circle of dogs that have the miracle revealed to them in the filtered light of the redwood forest is beautiful and touching. It is worth the entire movie to see this one scene and the accompanying footage of the coastal redwood forest. Witnessing this little sermon of the dogs leads to the religious conversion of the Spencer Tracy character and the happy course of events that proceed to the end of the picture. If you can obtain a copy of this film on videotape, it is worth an evening to watch this film. VHS.

 

·        George Washington Slept Here- 1942,
     Jack Benny, Ann Sheridan, Charles Coburn, Rommy the Cairn Terrier, owned and trained by Frank Weatherwax, part of the Weatherwax dog training family best known for training the Lassie dogs, directed by William Keighley.
     This film is a cacophony of old house renovation mayhem. A revolutionary war era home fixer upper becomes more work than the new owners count on. (Some things never change). Did George Washington sleep here or Benedict Arnold? This film answers the question.
    The Cairn starts things off in a hurry by chewing up the rug in the hall of his Manhattan apartment building and getting his owners evicted. They have to find a new place to live so Mrs. Fuller, (played by Ann Sheridan), buys a new home and doesn’t tell Mr. Fuller, (played by Jack Benny), what she has done. This picture is “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House”, “Green Acres”, and “The Money Pit” all rolled up in one funny story.  
     The Cairn Terrier is featured throughout the film and saves the day in the end. The best part of the movie is the unique stripping of the terrier’s fur in the last scene by a million 17 year locusts. If you can find this picture on video tape, don’t miss your chance to see it. It is wonderful. VHS.

 

·         Airforce- 1943,
     Gig Young, Faye Emerson, John Garfield, Harry Carey Sr., Rommy the Cairn Terrier owned/trained by Frank Weatherwax of the famous Weatherwax animal training family best  known for training the Lassie dogs, directed by Howard Hawks.
      It is a movie about WWII flyers who witness the Pearl Harbor attack while airborne. The day changes their lives and sends them flying full force into the Pacific battles of WWII.
      The Cairn is named Tripoli and is called to service when they are asked to transport it during an airbase stop in the film. The Cairn serves admirably as a military mascot/soldier in the Pacific campaign. The scenes with the dog wearing an oxygen mask and serving as assistant to a gunner are terrific. It is a very good WWII picture filmed to inspire the home fight and those in service for the war. It won an Academy Award. This film contains scenes with violence. VHS, DVD, available on Netflix.

 

·   ?Back To The Front, 1943 
The Three Stooges go to war, undermining and satirizing the Nazi's at sea. The Cairn Terrier in this film may be Terry or one of her pups. The doggie travels from ship to ship, changing sides with the stooges as Curly's dog. In real life Curly was a great dog lover who owned many breeds of dogs throughout his life.  There's lots of slapstick and plenty of contempt for the enemy Nazi's. Stooges fans will be in stitches. This film contains scenes with slapstick violence.  On DVD as part of a set, "The Three Stooges Collection, Vol 4, 1943-45", available at Amazon.

 

·         The Uninvited- 1944,
    Ray Milland, Ruth Hussey, directed by Lewis Allen.
     This classic horror picture is nice and creepy. The ghost is dangerous and scary. It is a suspenseful story that will keep you guessing. The Cairn Bobby is crucial to staging the plot. When a terrier refuses to go upstairs, there is always a reason. This is good picture for a night of popcorn and surprises. VHS, DVD.

 

 

·      Mrs. Parkington- 1944,

            Greer Garson, Agnes Moorhead, Walter Pidgeon, Edmund Gwenn directed by Tay Garnett
       This lavish MGM film is adapted from the popular novel "Mrs. Parkington" by Louis Bromfield. It is the story of a young girl raised in a mining town boarding house who loses her mother in a deadly accident. Within days of her mother's death she finds herself marrying the man whose mine collapse killed her mother. Over the years, with help of her husband's former mistress, played by Agnes Moorhead, she grows into a wise family matriarch who is more than up to the task of being the wife of a powerful industry mogul. Edmund Gwenn has a wonderful role in this film as Queen Victoria's son Bertie, the Prince of Wales, who charmingly helps Susie Parkington fight off a rival. There are two terriers at the beginning of the film who play family pets and are uncredited. They play the roles of Bijou and Mignon. One of them is definitely a Cairn Terrier the other appears to be a Westie mix. This film garnered Academy Award nominations for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress for Greer Garson and Agnes Moorehead. VHS, DVD

 

 ·         *The Heavenly Body- 1944, William Powell, Hedy Lamarr, Toto-uncredited. Directed by Alexander Hall and Vincent Minelli

       Lamarr stars as an ignored wife whose astrologer leads her to a new man outside marriage. When her astronomer hubby tries to get her back confusion ensues. Toto has a bubbly scene in a bath when the hubby calls a veterinarian pretending to be giving orders to a detective. Available on DVD at Amazon.com 

 

·         *Easy To Look At-1945,
      Kirby Grant, Gloria Jean, Toto, directed by Ford Bebe.
     Terry aka Toto the Cairn plays the dog. This is an office romance musical. Not available for home viewing as of 2011.

 

·         Without Love- 1945,
     Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Lucille Ball, Keenen Wynne, Rommy the Cairn Terrier owned/trained by Frank Weatherwax of the Weatherwax family also known for training the Lassie dogs, directed by Barbara Sass.
     Spencer Tracy turns out to be a quirky Cairn fancier in this movie. The Cairn in this film, Dizzy is uncredited in the role of best friend and sleep walker therapy dog.
    This is a light, romantic wartime romance between a scientist and his lady landlord who attempt to make a marriage of convenience. VHS, DVD, this film is also available as part of The Katherine Hepburn Collection on DVD, available on Netflix.

 

· The Adventures of Rusty, (Rusty teaches Danny about Love and Friendship)- 1945,
Ted Donaldson, Margaret Lindsay, Conrad Nagel, Ace the Wonderdog as "Rusty", Uncredited Cairn as "Skipper", and several other assorted breeds of dogs as the friend's pets. Directed by Paul Burnford.

          This one of a series of Rusty Adventure films made for Columbia Pictures in the 1940's. It stars one of America's two most famous German Shepard actors, Ace the Wonderdog. Ace is the only dog in the film to get a screen credit. It is the story of a young motherless boy whose dog Skipper the Cairn is killed in an accident on his Dad's wedding day to a new stepmother. The child is inconsolable, feeling isolated by the new family arrangement and the only creature man or animal he is able to identify with and bond to is a vicious German Shepard war dog from the german side brought back by a neighbor returned from his Navy war duty. When the dog runs away and is injured the child and dog start a relationship when the child helps the injured dog. The movie has characters and situations similar to Lassie films with an added patriotic theme.
     However, this is WWII rural America. Today's helicopter parents may find scenes of kids leaving home to hunt and fish by themselves in the distant woods, and confronting gun toting men in the woods uncomfortable. Some parents may also be uncomfortable with scenes of boys 8 to 14 years old going rabbit hunting unsupervised and fully outfitted with their own rifles.  Parents who dislike fishing and hunting may find this film is not their cup of tea.   Available VHS  format from Amazon.com.

 

·         The Valley Of Decision- 1945,
     Greer Garson, Gregory Peck, Donald Crisp, Lionel Barrymore, directed by Tay Garnett.
    This film has a simple, Victorian plot; a wealthy 1800's mill baron falls for the housemaid. The tension in the film comes from the conflict between the lowly maid from a working class, union home, the unions, and the Mill Baron’s position over them all. The Cairn has a walk through. This film was nominated for two academy awards. Available made to order in DVD-R format from Amazon.com.

 

·         Undercurrent-1946,
    
Edmund Gwenn, Katherine Hepburn, Robert Taylor, Robert Mitchum, Jayne Meadows, Marjorie Main, Rommy the Cairn,  directed by Vincent Minelli.
    This film features an uncredited Cairn performance by “Rommy” the Cairn, owned/trained by Frank Weatherwax, brother of Rudd Weatherwax best known for training all the Lassie dogs for film and television. Rommy was so well liked by his film co-stars that Humprey Bogart once called him “the best actor in Hollywood”.

     This film noir mystery stars Katherine Hepburn opposite Robert Taylor and Robert Mitchum. She plays a woman who falls for a millionaire government scientist with a past full of dark family secrets to uncover. Caught in a destructive sibling rivalry she slowly discovers her husband’s secrets. The Cairn in this picture is the same Cairn she shared the screen with in “Without Love with Spencer Tracy. The Cairn is featured in the first part of the movie as a childhood family pet. This film features adult themes. VHS, DVD, Available on Netflix.

 

·        The Ghost And Mrs. Muir- 1947,
     Gene Tierney, Rex Harrison, George Sanders, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz.
     What a great picture! It has a wonderful, engaging screenplay by Phillip Dunne based on a novel by R.A. Dick with plenty of laughter, romance, and only a few tearful moments. Rex Harrison is fantastically sexy. Gene Tierney is at her most charming and beautiful at the top of her career. George Saunders is elegantly vile. This is a movie that has a timelessness and romantic charm that is beautifully endearing. It is one of Hollywood’s best romantic movies. How can anyone resist this love story between the sexy, ghost Captain and the lovely widow of Gull Cottage?
      Cairn Terrier? Yes Indeed! Watch it again, and this time, take note of Mrs. Muir's dog. This film had one Academy Award nomination. VHS, DVD, available on Netflix.

 

· Stallion Road- 1947,

          Ronald Regan, Alexis Smith, Zachary Scott, directed by James V. Kern.

           This picture is campy and fun. It's the story of a handsome local veternarian, his romance, the horse ranching community he serves, and a deadly Anthrax outbreak among the horses. It starts off told from the point of view of a visiting friend who is a novelist. The picture also features a Cairn Terrier, possibly Rommey, the offspring of the famous Toto. Ronald Regan who plays the vet has his romance interrupted by a fast moving outbreak of Anthrax and he must act quickly to save all the livestock in the valley. Regan has some dramatic hospital scenes inside and outside the stables in this picture. One of them will remind fans of the "win one for the Gipper" scene of another film. The Cairn scenes are throughout the film. The horse show sections where the lead actress's six year old sister and her Cairn pup run a betting sequence worthy of a seasoned racing tout are adorable. The horses are dramatic, the children, and the Cairn Terrier are super cute. The plot does have a few unscientific twists, but all in all, both Regan and Cairn fans won't be dissapointed. Available as a made to order DVD at Amazon.

 

·        *?Malice In The Palace-1949,
     Moe Howard, Shemp Howard, Larry Fine, directed and produced by Jules White, written by Felix Adler.
     This picture is hilarious. It is one of 190 film shorts produced with the Three Stooges over a thirty year time span. The three stooges play the proprietors of the not so fabulous Café Casbah. They serve up hot dogs. When one of their hot dogs is mistaken for an actual dog in the bun, their days as restaurateurs come to an abrupt halt. As they serve the hot dogs, they overhear a criminal theft plot from their customers and decide to go to the palace of the Emir Schmow to steal a famous priceless diamond and get rich quick. The café scenes are just hilarious. The dog and the cat actors do terrific work. The stooges are at their best playing along with it.
     There was a section of this short that was one of the last with Curly Howard, but it was deleted and the part of the chef was reshot with Larry Fine. This short was remixed and rereleased in 1956 as “Rumpus In The Harem”. It does have a Cairn Terrier in the sections of the pictures set in the Café Casbah. Since Toto died in 1945 and the scene in the café with the Cairn Terrier was shot in 1949, even though the Cairn in this role looks like Terry playing the part of the “hot dog”. She could not have been in this film unless the stooges filmed the bit over 4 years earlier and put it in the picture later.
      The dog on film looks just like Terry and does all the types of performances on camera Terry was known for with ease. The Stooges producers were known for reediting films with old footage so this might have been done, but without further documentation, I must assume this Cairn Terrier is not Toto. The dog is a really good Toto look alike so I am leaving a question mark on this selection even though I think it is highly unlikely to be Terry aka Toto.
     I have been told the dog appears in other shorts. I have watched a dozen or so of these shorts and have not seen this dog again. Since there are 190 shorts I will depend on list fans to let me know of other shorts that may contain this dog. Although Curly Howard was known for adopting strays, and having dogs around him all the time, the dogs in the shorts are canine actors. If his pets were used in them, which is possible but unlikely, they were in the background parts and not the leads. This film is available for viewing on YouTube, on VHS, available on various VHS collection tapes, available on various Three Stooges Collection DVDs, Netflix.