Last month in a blog about Cary Grant we featured a picture of Cary with Irene Dunne and a canine, who in their film The Awful Truth, was called “Mr. Smith.” In the 1930s, this terrier was the world’s most famous four legged movie star.
Hello. everybody. Joe Morella and Frank Segers, your classic movie guys, back again to talk about Hollywood’s “other” (and in many cases a lot more congenial) stars.
By the time Skippy — “Mr. Smith’s” real name, which eluded even dedicated dog-lover Frank — appeared in The Awful Truth he was already known to millions as “Asta”, pictured above with his co-stars William Powell and Myrna Loy.
“Asta” was an important character in the Thin Man features, those very popular comedy-mysteries begun in 1934 based on a Dashiell Hammett novel. Five sequels were spawned through the late Forties.
Sometimes billed as Skippy and sometimes as “Asta” this pooch made about a dozen films between 1934 and 1939. And quite a few are considered classics, including Bringing Up Baby.
In addition to The Thin Man and After the Thin Man he also appeared in The Big Broadcast of 1936 and Topper Takes a Trip.
Skippy lookalikes were found for subsequent Thin Man films and the eventual TV series and were given billing as “Asta.”
Just like Rin Tin Tin before him and Lassie after him (and the Jack Russell on Frazier), his fame made his breed extremely popular for the time.
Frank generally dislikes child actors, but is far more indulgent to the animal variety. Why not tell us about your favorite four-legged stars, feline or canine.