9.15.2010

dog day afternoon

i count myself infinitely lucky that my folks were kind enough to get me a dog when i was a kid. i got jake when he and i were both pups and there wasn't a better pal a kid could have had. he was a mutt - beagle was the only discernible ancestry that we could determine - and was my boon companion, my partner in crime. we had countless adventures, read many a comic book together and wore out a mountain of batteries playing merlin, which always made him turn his head sideways at the noise it made when i won at tic-tac-toe. on those fateful saturday afternoons when i discovered our gang/little rascals shorts and the creature from the black lagoon (1954), jake was sitting right there beside me. i am, without a doubt, a dog person. i think the way people interact with dogs says a great deal about them and if a dog doesn't trust you i might be a little skeptical of you myself.

the reason i bring this up is because i stumbled across this great picture of buster keaton and a pal of his:


two great stonefaces.

this sent me looking for more and i discovered something that only makes me like the golden age of hollywood even more when compared to today - these folks loved their dogs. you know, like normal people. yes, i know a lot of these photographs were publicity shots, spreads for life magazine, et cetera, and geared to make you think just that - "these stars are just like us!". and i am sure there are plenty of celebrities these days that love their dogs just like i do but there is just a different quality present in the photographs then versus now. so many of the shots you see now seem to be designer dogs in designer carriers, dogs as accessories. they don't strike me as part of the family. i don't picture paris hilton (horrible example, i know) getting down in the floor and roughhousing with her pup but lauren bacall damn sure would.


it's just nice to see people whose work i admire exhibiting a facet of their own humanity that has nothing to do with playing a character. here are a few more...


carole lombard and the luckiest dog in the world.


alfred hitchcock.


jean arthur.


a young groucho and harpo marx.


audrey hepburn.


marlon brando.


ingrid bergman.


stan laurel.


elizabeth taylor.

i'm really not one for taking pictures, but if only one document of my life survives, i hope it's a picture of me playing with my dogs.

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