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Oh Heavenly Dog
By Andrea, on August 4th, 2011 For the Love of the Dog
Since a few of you have rushed to Amazon.com to order Won Ton Ton, thought I would continue with another not-so-well-known dog movie. Oh Heavenly Dog is a 1980 comedy flick starring Chevy Chase, Jane Seymour, Omar Sharif, Alan Sues, and Benji.

Like Won Ton Ton it won no awards, got goofy scenes, nothing great about the plot or the performances, critics hated it, but a select audience (like me) love this movie.

Chevy Chase plays a private investigator named Benjamin Browning who is called to investigate a murder. When he arrives at the scene and finds a dead woman, the bad guy suddenly steps out from the shadows and stabs Browning to death. Once dead, he finds himself at the intake processing area for the *newly deceased*. (Formerly known as The Pearly Gates.) His file is in such disarray, that it cannot be decided if he is destined for Heaven or Hell. In order for him to improve his record for acceptance into Heaven, he is given the chance to return to Earth. But the catch is that they have no available human bodies for him to use, so he is to return to Earth as a dog. Naturally he protests but he is quickly informed its either return as a dog, or return as a rat.

Once back on Earth as a dog, he finds that his case is also being investigated by a magazine journalist named Jackie Howard (Jane Seymour). Apparently this murder turns out to be quite a political scandal and Jackie intends to write a novel about it. They keep running into each other in their separate investigations.

Of course Benji/Chevy Chase falls madly in love with the beautiful Jackie and cuddles up to her as only a dog would by hiding in her car, jumping into her bubble bath, and burying his wet little nose into her cleavage. She, in turn, becomes smitten with the little canine. They solve the mystery, dog gets the girl, but not exactly in a way that you would think.

It was panned by the New York Times and by Roger Ebert. You can read Ebert’s review here but WARNING! Spoiler Alert!

Even Chevy Chase refused to watch the finished movie. Said it was the worse role he ever accepted.

I think it was great. I loved watching Benji perform and having much of the movie shot from a dog’s perspective. Alan Sues had a small part but was a riot. And Jane Seymour is just too beautiful and graceful to not like.

It was filmed in Canada instead of London and Paris (as set in the movie). Animals had strict quarantine requirements entering Europe – six months. So shooting had to be done elsewhere. And the dog was not really Benji, it was his daughter, Benjean.

The DVD was released back in 2006 and is kind of hard to find. You may be able to order through one of Amazon.com’s resellers. It is available on Netflix. You could also try Walmart.

The movie features songs by Paul McCartney and Elton John. One of Elton John’s songs, Return to Paradise, is featured in this movie. Not one of his most famous songs, but one of his loveliest.

It’s not the summer blockbuster but a nice movie without sex, drugs, and gory severed body parts.

Won Ton Ton – Became the Biggest Star in 1924 (link/Video)


Won Ton Ton
By Andrea, on August 2nd, 2011 | Comments (9)
Here is the dog that launched a thousand stars. He saved a Hollywood production company from bankruptcy. He saved the girl! He had books, photo ops, autograph sessions, and his own personal masseuse.

He became the biggest star in 1924. He carried a budding Hollywood starlet and would-be Hollywood producer to the top of Fame, Fortune, and Glory.

Is he Strongheart? Rin Tin Tin? Who was this fabulous shepherd?

Won Ton Ton.

Won Ton Ton: The Dog that Saved Hollywood. A 1976 spoof about Rin Tin Tin starring Madeline Kahn, Bruce Dern, Art Carney, and over 70 other famous Hollywood stars in cameo roles.

Estie Del Ruth (Madeline Kahn) is an aspiring actress determined to make it big in Hollywood. Her big break comes when she bonds with Won Ton Ton and stars in a host of movies with him. Won, being a shelter dog, didn’t listen well to Hollywood directors unless he was on set with Estie.

Grayson Potchuck (Bruce Dern) is a tour bus driver who constantly pitches movie ideas to studio head J.J. Fromberg (Art Carney). All Grayson’s ideas for movies gets him tossed out the studio entrance. Too bad, because he had some great ideas. One was a little girl who gets swept up by a tornado and lands in a magical kingdom. Another was a shark that terrorized a small New England coastal town. It wasn’t until he pitched a story about a hero dog saving the girl that he got some interest from the studio. So Grayson had to rush down to the local pound for a dog. He returned with a German Shepherd, named him Won Ton Ton, and movie history was made. The popularity of the Won Ton Ton saved the studio from ruin and created the Golden Age of Movies.

The flick capitalizes on the old corny slapstick jokes of 1920’s Hollywood, and many great Hollywood stars from the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s make cameo appearances. Stars such as Joan Blondell, Dorothy Lamour, Jackie Coogan, Johnny Weismuller, John Carradine, Keye Luck, and a bunch more. For the complete list of appearances, you can check out the Wikipedia entry.

For many of these stars, it was their last time in front of the cameras – ever.

It won no awards. It didn’t do well in the theaters. It was criticized as being made only to highlight a cavalcade of Hollywood’s aging stars. And movie fan sites are filled with people who hate it. But also filled with people who loved it.

It’s great fun about the good old days in Hollywood. If you can get a hold of a copy. Re-released several years ago, copies are hard to find. You can try Amazon. Netflix is not offering it yet.

If you can get a hold of a copy, see it. No great script. No oscar winning performances. Kinda goofy. But it’s a good time.

Simply, it’s boy meets girl. Girl meets dog. Dog makes boy and girl stars. Boy and girl lose dog. Boy and girl find dog and walk together into the sunset.

Check out the original trailer.

copy and paste…

Here is the dog that launched a thousand stars. He saved a Hollywood production company from bankruptcy. He saved the girl! He had books, photo ops, autograph sessions, and his…
Won Ton Tonhttp://fortheloveofthedogblog.com

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