Friday, February 2, 2018

Dear Abby - Favorite Dog Movies: The Shaggy Dog (1959)

Dear Friends,

Today I would like to share an older Disney movie called The Shaggy Dog.  This movie, from 1959, was Disney's first live action comedy.  It was based on a novel called The Hound of Florence by Felix Salten, who also wrote Bambi.

The movie starred Fred MacMurray (later seen in My Three Sons) as the father of a boy named Wilby.  Wilby, played by Tommy Kirk, is a boy who loves inventions.  Wilby finds a mysterious ring belonging to the Borgias at a museum and it transforms him into a dog!  Wilby the dog is adventurous -- just like Wilby the teenage boy.  He even enjoys driving an old jalopy!  After a number of fun-loving misadventures, Wilby turns back into a boy ... and his family ends up adopting a dog.  It seems they discovered they loved dogs when he was one!

Here is a photo of Fred MacMurray and Wilby the sheepdog:

This photo shows Tim Considine (who also later appeared in My Three Sons), a dog friend, and Tommy Kirk (Wilby).

Some fun trivia about this movie:

The Shaggy Dog was originally imagined as a TV pilot.

The producer of The Shaggy Dog liked to joke that perhaps The Shaggy Dog inspired My Three Sons:  "Same kids, same dog and Fred MacMurray!"  

The movie was later the inspiration for a Scholastic book for children (1967) and a comic book.

There was a sequel in 1976 starring Dean Jones as a 45 year old version of Wilby.

It was also remade in 2006 with Tim Allen.

Here is a clip from the movie:

Have you seen The Shaggy Dog or the remake?   I would love to hear from you in the comments, below.

I enjoyed visiting with you today and look forward to catching up again next week!

Abby xoxoxo

Book Review and Giveaway - The Secret Life of Mrs. London by Rebecca Rosenberg

Book Synopsis
San Francisco, 1915. As America teeters on the brink of world war, Charmian and her husband, famed novelist Jack London, wrestle with genius and desire, politics and marital competitiveness. Charmian longs to be viewed as an equal partner who put her own career on hold to support her husband, but Jack doesn’t see it that way…until Charmian is pulled from the audience during a magic show by escape artist Harry Houdini, a man enmeshed in his own complicated marriage. Suddenly, charmed by the attention Houdini pays her and entranced by his magnetism, Charmian’s eyes open to a world of possibilities that could be her escape.

As Charmian grapples with her urge to explore the forbidden, Jack’s increasingly reckless behavior threatens her dedication. Now torn between two of history’s most mysterious and charismatic figures, she must find the courage to forge her own path, even as she fears the loss of everything she holds dear.

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My Review
The Secret Life of Mrs. London tells the story of freethinking Charmian London, the wife of author Jack London.  She wanted more than the conventional life women had in the 1910's.  She wanted to be a supportive wife, but also longed to be a writer in her own right.  Her life changed when she met Bess and Harry Houdini.  She became friends with Bess and became involved with Harry.  This novel tells the story of these complex people and their lives.

I was intrigued by The Secret Life of Mrs. London from first mention.  I love historical fiction, and am particularly interested in novels that focus on the lives of writers.  I will admit that I knew very little about Jack London going into this novel.  I knew the titles of a few of his novels (i.e. The Call of the Wild, White Fang, The Sea Wolf).  I knew a little more about Houdini and his career as a magician.  

These famous men and their wives led very complex lives with a great deal of moral ambiguity.  That said, their lives were fascinating and the interplay between these characters - based on real life people - made for a very interesting read.

Rebecca Rosenberg is a gifted writer, and she does an exceptional job at developing and delineating these characters.  I found The Secret Life of Mrs. London a page turner because I really wanted to know what happened next.

As a fan of historical fiction, I loved the wealth of historical detail in this novel.  I was particularly intrigued by some of the descriptions of Houdini on stage.  I love information on World's Fairs, and was glad to see that the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition figured into this story.

I think that other fans of historical fiction, and anyone interested in the lives of famous authors, will find The Secret Life of Mrs. London a compelling read.

Author Bio
A California native, Rebecca Rosenberg lives on a lavender farm with her family in Sonoma, the Valley of the Moon, where Jack London wrote from his Beauty Ranch. Rebecca is a long-time student of Jack London’s works and an avid fan of his daring wife, Charmian London. The Secret Life of Mrs. London is her debut novel.

Rebecca and her husband, Gary, own the largest lavender product company in America, selling to 4000 resorts, spas and gift stores. The Rosenbergs believe in giving back to the Sonoma Community, supporting many causes through financial donations and board positions, including Worth Our Weight, an educational culinary program for at-risk children, YWCA shelter for abused women, Luther Burbank Performing Arts Center to provide performances for children, Sonoma Food Bank, Sonoma Boys and Girls Club, and the Valley of the Moon Children’s Home.

For more information, please visit Rebecca’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook and Goodreads. Visit the Facebook page for The Secret Life of Mrs. London.

One lucky winner will receive a paperback copy of The Secret Life of Mrs. London.  This giveaway is open to the U.S. and ends on Friday, February 9.  The winner needs to respond to their email notification within 48 hours or another name will be drawn.

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I received a copy of this book from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.