Thursday, December 16, 2010

Toto's Grave Situation

After a full life of joyful celluloid antics and as a beloved family pet off screen, the little female Cairn Terrier who was Toto was buried in a modest grave on the kennel property of Hollywood dog trainer Carl Spitz around 1945. Much has been lost in the name of “progress” and Toto’s final resting spot was a causality of the expansion of the Ventura Freeway in 1958 when Spitz was forced to relocate. The kennel grounds were destroyed and apartments now stand where the most famous film dog in history once played.

The past can not be undone, but there is an effort underway to ensure Toto has a permanent tribute in the Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park.

JP Myers is becoming a champion to memorialize the lost, but not forgotten souls of Americana. He raised funds for a beautiful headstone for Jack Norworth who penned the lyrics to “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Now JP Myers has teamed with author Steve Goldstein (L.A.’s Graveside Companion: Where the V.I.P.s R.I.P) to take up the cause for Toto.

The Wizard of Oz brought Toto immortality, but she has appeared in at least 14 other films alongside such notables as Shirley Temple, Spencer Tracy, and Greer Garson. It’s difficult to fathom such a symbol of loyalty and bravery was once a timid little creature that was wary of strangers. A frustrated couple incapable of house training her properly had left Toto in the care of Carl Spitz and ultimately abandoned her. Toto was discarded by a couple, but in that simple thoughtless act she was given to the world. The gentle perseverance of Carl Spitz brought Toto out of her shell and one day she would journey over the rainbow winning the hearts of millions.

In the book I, Toto by Willard Carroll Carl Spitz’s widow says her husband would be so very happy Toto is still loved and remembered today. “He once said that one of the saddest experiences of life is outliving our dogs. It’s good to remember them. To honor them.” Undoubtedly, Carl Spitz would be overjoyed today. And Toto too.

You can help Toto by donating, promoting the effort, and/or leaving messages of support. Visit the links below for more details and to learn more about Toto.

Toto Canine Movie Star Memorial Marker Official Facebook Page

If He Only Had a Grave: An Effort to Honor Toto

Terry the Dog AKA Toto Turner Classic Movies Blog

And just for fun here's a look at the newest Toto in Oz-dom from Andrew Lloyd Webber's production of The Wizard of Oz. How adorable is this little guy!!

Wizard of Oz Blog: Toto Training

I want to do a more in depth Toto entry at a later date but in honor of Toto’s memorial, here are just some of my favorite Totos. I love Toto and Toto collectibles so much, they’re really all my favorites so it was really difficult to choose just a few!

Shown above this blog entry is a plush Toto charity event giveaway Kurt Adler 2009

Shown below is the 5" tall figurine. A "lifesize" 16" version was made in an edition of 1000 Merry Mac 2002

Mary Tretter Wizard of Oz Storybook Ornament Collection Ashton Drake 2000

Flocked figurine Presents 1989

Doll accessory Effanbee 1990

Run, Toto, Run! limited edition ornament Hallmark 2010

MGM Grand figurines 1997

San Francisco Music Box 2003

Toto porcelain surprise box Warner Brothers Studio Stores edition of 500 1998

Make Room for Toto Snowbabies Department 56 2002

gold charm 1999

Bad Little Angel still 1939 Barefoot Boy glass slide 1938

Portraits of Oz plate Hamilton Collection 1989

I, Toto by Willard Carroll 2001