Going To The Dogs

TotoDespite its generally positive portrayal of diversity, even in the the marvelous Land of Oz, lack of equality was apparently a problem.

In the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz, Toto was played by a female brindle Cairn Terrier whose real name was Terry. She was paid a $125 salary each week, which was far more than many of the human actors (the Singer Midgets who played the Munchkins only received $50 a week. From Oz Wiki: The performers were paid $50 per week plus expenses during the preliminary costume and makeup tests, and $100 per week through the rehearsal and filming of the Munchkin scenes.


Of course, this comes from a period when it was considered fair game to play up a dog at the expense of some human stereotyping.

For example, here’s a bit of FDR defending himself against the birther-conspiracy of his day – that he’d lost track of the presidential pup during a naval tour, and had retrieved him only at massive expense to the taxpayers (emphasis mine):

You know, Fala is Scotch, and being a Scottie, as soon as he learned that the Republican fiction writers in Congress and out had concocted a story that I had left him behind on the Aleutian Islands and had sent a destroyer back to find him–at a cost to the taxpayers of two or three, or eight or twenty million dollars–his Scotch soul was furious. He has not been the same dog since.

Fala: The World’s Most Famous Dog

Which, to my mind, seems to imply that FDR’s dog was so Scottish, and thus supposedly cheap, that, realizing he’d been left behind, the pooch refused the costly ride, instead constructing a raft of cabers and modifying a bagpipe to act as propulsion.

This may seem far-fetched, but have you ever met an Irish Setter? Drunks, the lot of them.
Franklin D. Roosevelt's dog Fala, listening to the president's speech on the radio. Photo: AP