Friday, April 20, 2018

Dear Abby - Favorite Dog Movies: One Hundred and One Dalmatians

Dear Friends,

I am happy to be back to talk about another favorite dog movie this week.  One Hundred and One Dalmatians is a movie my Momma has loved since childhood, and we have the DVD here, so it is one of my favorites too!

One Hundred and One Dalmatians is the story of Pongo and Perdita, a Dalmatian couple who have 15 puppies!   They are living happily with their people, Roger and Anita, until a frightening villain named Cruella de Vil decides to steal the puppies for fur coats!   After a long chase, the puppies do find their way back home and they have a happy reunion with their family.  They bring along 84 other puppies that were also being held by Cruella.  Roger and Anita decide to buy a farm so they can keep all 99 puppies -- which makes 101 Dalmatians along with Pongo and Perdita.

One Hundred and One Dalmatians was a 1961 Disney movie.  It was based on the children's  book The One Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith.  (Momma recommends the book as well!)  Dodie Smith enjoyed the movie adaptation and said that she thought it improved upon her original story!  The movie was both a box office and critical success.  When it was released, this was the top grossing animated movie to date.

Some trivia about this movie:

Author Dodie Smith actually had a Dalmatian dog who had 15 puppies!  That was her inspiration for the original book.  She also owned a Dalmatian named Pongo.

The dogs in the movie have deeper voices than their owners so they are seen as having more power.

Some of the dog sounds in the movie are provided by Clarence Nash, who was the voice of Donald Duck.

A new type of animation involving Xerox was used in this movie, and it helped give the movie its distinctive look.

Several characters from Lady and the Tramp make cameo appearances in this movie. Jock is seen barking through a drainpipe to a dog in an upstairs apartment.  Peg and her bulldog friend are seen in a pet store.  Lady and the Tramp are seen during the Twilight Barking scene.

The boy puppies wear red collars and the girls wear blue.  This is also true of Pongo and Perdita.

Cruella de Vil was inspired by actress Tallulah Bankhead.  Old time character actress Mary Wickes provided a live reference for Cruella de Vil.

Author Dodie Smith said her favorite scene in the movie was the one near the beginning where Pongo is stretching out by a window.

This is one of the only Disney movies to feature cigarette, cigar, and pipe smoking.

This was the first animated Disney movie in a contemporary setting.

Here is the movie trailer:

The Twilight Barking is my favorite scene in the movie.  This is how the dogs communicate at twilight, by barking to one another to spread the news.  I often try to do this with friends in my neighborhood.  My dear Momma says she likes the Twilight Bark more in the movie than in real life.  When you watch this scene, be sure to look for the characters from Lady and the Tramp!

Have you seen One Hundred and One Dalmatians?   I would love to hear from you in the comments.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Abby xoxoxo

Book Review and Giveaway - The House on Harbor Hill by Shelly Stratton

Book Synopsis
Set in the past and present, The House on Harbor Hill is a murder mystery that tackles the issues of racial prejudice and spousal abuse in the lives of two very different women…

She’s generous, kind, and compassionate–yet Delilah Grey will forever be an outcast in the small seaside town of Camden Beach, Maryland. She takes in women shattered by abuse, poverty, illness, or events beyond their control. But no matter how far she’s come or how many she’s helped find their way back, there is no safe place for Delilah. Acquitted of her rich husband’s mysterious death decades ago, she lives in her beautiful mansion consumed by secrets–and mistakes she feels she can never atone for. . . . Until she takes in desperate mother Tracey Walters and her two young children.

Tracey won’t say where she’s from or what sent her into hiding. But her determination and refusal to give up reminds Delilah of the spirited, hopeful girl she once was–and the dreams she still cherishes. As Tracey takes tentative steps to rebuild her life, her unexpected attraction to Delilah’s handsome, troubled caretaker inadvertently brings Delilah face to face with the past. And when Tracey’s worst fears come brutally calling, both women must find even more strength to confront truths they can no longer ignore–and at last learn how to truly be free . . .

Resonant, moving, and unforgettable, The House on Harbor Hill paints an unforgettable portrait of two women struggling to forgive themselves, take a chance on change, and challenge each other to finally live.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

My Review
The House on Harbor Hill tells two stories.  Delilah Gray lives in a beautiful and mysterious beach house in Camden Beach, Maryland.  Her personal background leads her to help young women who are escaping abusive marriages.  That is how she meets Tracey Walters.  Tracey is a young mother with a little boy and a baby girl.  She comes to Harbor Hill to stay with Delilah.  While she is there, rebuilding her life, she also meets Harbor Hill's handsome caretaker, who is wrestling with memories of his own past.

This is such a unique book!   It is a dual storyline, told in the present and also in 1968, so there is an element of historical fiction.  It is women's fiction, but it also is a mystery, as the pasts of Delilah and revealed bit by bit.  There is a mystery in Delilah's past that she has struggled with her whole adult life, and she is able to solve that mystery at last.

The 1968 period details were particularly well done and the story of racial prejudice was powerful and moving.  Shelly Stratton does a wonderful job at evoking a time and place.  I could visualize Harbor Hill and Camden Beach from her descriptions in this book.

The characters, though, are the real stars.  Delilah is one of my favorite characters that I have met through reading this year.  She is warm and vulnerable, but also so strong and compassionate.  What she does for Tracey, and what she has done for many other women in trouble, is a real gift.

I loved the storytelling and the way the narrative revealed itself in bits here and there as the reader learns about the past, and especially Delilah's story and the mystery of what happened the fateful night that changed her life.

I recommend The House on Harbor Hill for fans of women's fiction, mysteries, and historical fiction.  It is a beautifully told and engrossing read.

Author Bio
Shelly Stratton is an award-winning journalist who earned her degree at the University of Maryland, College Park. Another Woman’s Man, her novel written under the pseudonym Shelly Ellis, was nominated for a 2014 NAACP Image Award. A film buff and amateur painter, she lives with her husband not far from Washington, D.C. Visit her online at

Connect with Shelly

Website | Facebook | Twitter

One lucky reader will win a copy of The House On Harbor Hill.  Giveaway is for the U.S. only and ends at midnight on April 27.  Winner will be contacted by email and will need to respond within 48 hours or another name will be drawn.  Good luck!

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I received a copy of this book from TLC Book Tours.