Thursday, September 13, 2007

I, Toto: The Autobiography of Terry, The Dog Who Was Toto by Willard Carroll

One of the benefits of working at a library is discovering interesting books when you are supposed to be doing something else. I happened to be looking through the movie books to answer a question yesterday and found I, Toto: The Autobiography of Terry, The Dog Who Was Toto by Willard Carroll. Of course, I checked it out.

There are some surprising statements in this cute little book. The author says that Toto is the real star of The Wizard of Oz. He argues that it is Toto's actions that spark the story. He also goes on to say that Toto is in more scenes that Dorothy! There are nine solo shots of Toto, who barks 44 times.

The central part of the book is a memoir written by Terry, found by the author in a metal box at a road construction site outside Hollywood. Toto tells all about her discovery, training, and auditions for various movies. Her first film was costarring with Shirley Temple in Bright Eyes (1934). According to Terry, it was a pleasure working with Miss Temple. The Wizard of Oz was Terry's seventh movie. There were problems on the set, as several directors left the production, the script was often changed, costuming was elaborate, and the wind machines nearly blew Terry over. The hardest part was working with winged monkeys and winkies, which were very frightening. Margaret Hamilton, a dog lover, however, was lots of fun. Terry made fourteen movies, getting to know almost all the studios in Hollywood.

Not many libraries in my area seem to have this humorous book, but it is available through interlibrary loan. Wizard of Oz fans (there are lots of them) will enjoy it.

Carroll, Willard. I, Toto: The Autobiography of Terry, The Dog who Was Toto. Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2001. ISBN 158479111x.

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