It’s a terrier’s world, we just live in it

Posts Tagged ‘schnauzer

Uncle Ralph, writer for television

leave a comment »

THE diversions in the writers’ room of the FX series “Damages” are countless: there’s a football, a dartboard, a futon, a television and a golf putter that inspired a scene. But none are louder than Uncle Ralph, the schnoodle rescued from the streets of Brooklyn that belongs to Todd A. Kessler, one of three creators and executive producers.Uncle Ralph barks at the printer, Mr. Kessler said, which the team members at first took as “a quality-control thing,” until they realized that he barked at every page that came out. “Either we only write bad pages, or it’s in his DNA,” Mr. Kessler said. “He just doesn’t like the show.” Given that the scheming lawyer Patty Hewes, played by Glenn Close, killed a dog in the first season, maybe it’s with good reason.

Uncle Ralph doesn’t seem to object to the dry-erase boards that line the room, however. They reflect “a visual depiction of our minds, and none of us can figure out what anyone else is saying,” Mr. Kessler said.

New York Times

Schnoodle characteristics, from Wikipedia

The schnoodle mixes the intellect of the Poodle with the companionship and devotion of the Schnauzer. Schnoodles are very astute. They may, for example, react very strongly when the owner simply glances to the floor for his or her shoes, or the sound of the clanking of car keys; the dog knows that this can be a precursor to the owner leaving the home on some errand. This intelligence (which can range from introspective and analytical, to raw and instinctual depending on the specific dog), coupled with the terrier desire to please the owner, makes most schnoodles easily trainable. The vocabulary of a schnoodle is quite impressive, considering they are able to pick up phrases, such as “go get your toy” with ease. Their high intelligence can also assist in participating in dog sports such as agility and obedience. While mischievous, schnoodles are fun-loving, energetic dogs.

Snow Schnoodle. Photograph by Joe Cool at Flickr. 


Written by aterrier

June 18, 2008 at 1:09 am

Posted in schnauzer

Tagged with

Asta, schnauzer

leave a comment »

From the book “Paper Dreams”: an unattributed story panel for “Lady and the Tramp”

I was leaning against the bar in a speakeasy on Fifty Second Street, waiting for Nora to finish her Christmas shopping…

Asta jumped up and punched me in the belly with her front feet. Nora, at the other end of the leash, said: “She’s had a swell afternoon – knocked over a table of toys at Lord and Taylor’s, scared a fat woman silly by licking her leg in Saks’s, and has been patted by three policemen…

That afternoon I took Asta for a walk, explained to two people that she was a schnauzer and not a cross between a Scottie and an Irish terrier, stopped at Jim’s for a couple of drinks, ran into Larry Crowley, and brought him back to the Normandie with me. Nora was pouring cocktails…

Dashiell Hammett. The Thin Man

Written by aterrier

June 12, 2008 at 3:10 pm

Posted in schnauzer

Tagged with ,

Snowy, superstar

with one comment

He was named for Tintin’s fox terrier by an eight year old girl who was just starting to read Herge’s adventures. Her eyes lit up when she saw him for the first time, as if he’d jumped out of the pages of her comic book. He’d been rescued in Hollywood running across a busy main road, dodging traffic. He then found a true and happy lifelong home with a dancer and an artist.

He was quite a dancer and artist himself. The first time he met the dancer he stood on his hind legs and performed a perfect pirouette. He performed with the Tiger Lillies, upstaging them with an inspired improvised comic gesture that brought the house down. They say he was more professional than them. He was well-travelled and when he wasn’t going off into the world for adventures the world came to him: bones from steak frittes in Paris were brought back to Los Angeles for him.

He was smart. When he was first rescued he lived in a house with three big dogs, and a labrador who was a day-dog there. He thought rings round all of them. When his bed was taken apart after he moved to his new home it was found to be full of big dog biscuits he’d taken from the big dogs.

Snowy’s life was cut short yesterday by a devestating form of cancer. He was nine years old.

Snowy was a cocktail, some poodle, some terrier, all the smart and sweet characteristics of whatever breeds he was made up of. His phenomenal ability to learn new tricks, and to enjoy performing them for a crowd, reminded me of Higgins, a terrier mix known to the movie world as Benji, who also appeared in Petticoat Junction, Greenacres and the Beverly Hillbillies. He was “marked like a Border Terrier and Frank Inn, his trainer, believed him to be a mix of Miniature Poodle, Cocker Spaniel, and Schnauzer,” says his Wikipedia entry.

“Higgins had an extraordinary ability to convey a broad range of emotions through his facial expressions. Frank Inn, who trained thousands of animals of all species during his lifetime, told reporters that Higgins was the smartest dog he had ever worked with, and noted that during his prime years in television, he learned one new trick or routine per week, and that he retained these routines from year to year, making it possible for him to take on increasingly varied and complex roles. Higgins’s special tricks included climbing ladders, opening a mailbox and removing a letter, yawning, and sneezing on cue.”


Some of the best terrier stars started out as abandoned dogs. Higgins was rescued from the Burbank animal shelter. Moose, the Jack Russell who portrayed Eddie on on Frasier, was a wild puppy, and given away by his original owners.

Moose was born on Christmas Eve, 1990 in Florida, United States, the youngest littermate. He was the largest puppy in the litter. Like Pal, the original Lassie, the obstreperous puppy was too much for his original owner. According to an article by Lori Golden:

” In fact, chasing cats was one of the activities that led to this troubled terrier becoming one of TV’s most precious pooches. Originally owned by a Florida family, Moose was too hard to handle. He couldn’t be house trained; he chewed everything; he dug and barked a lot; and he was constantly escaping and climbing trees. Eventually given to the Florida manager of Birds and Animals Unlimited, a company that trains animals for TV and motion pictures, Moose was put on a plane at 2½ years old and sent to Mathilde DeCagny, an LA trainer working for the show-biz animal company. ”

DeCagny has been quoted as saying that Moose was very highly trainable and won the role on Frasier after only six months of training. Moose had the ability to fix Kelsey Grammer with a long hard stare; this became a running sight gag on the show.




Written by aterrier

May 30, 2008 at 12:22 pm

The Thin Man

leave a comment »

From Wikipedia:

The Thin Man (1934) is a hardboiled detective novel by Dashiell Hammett. Although he never wrote a sequel, the book became the basis for a successful film series which also began in 1934 with The Thin Man and starred William Powell and Myrna Loy. A Thin Man television series followed in the 1950s.

An early draft of the story, written several years before the published version, and now in print in several collections of Hammett’s work, does not mention the main characters of the novel, Nick and Nora Charles, and breaks off after ten chapters. It is about a quarter of the length of the finished book.

The story is set in Prohibition-era New York City. The main characters are a former private detective, Nick Charles, and his clever young wife, Nora. Nick, son of a Greek immigrant, has given up his career since marrying Nora, a wealthy socialite, and he now spends most of his time cheerfully getting drunk in hotel rooms and speakeasies. Nick and Nora have no children, but they do own a schnauzer named Asta, changed to a wire haired fox terrier for the movies.


Schnauzer Photograph by Piotr M at Flickr

The two decide to investigate a murder because Nora thinks it will be fun. The case brings them in contact with a rather grotesque family, the Wynants, and also with an assortment of policemen and lowlifers. As they attempt to solve the case, Nick and Nora share a great deal of banter and snappy dialogue, along with copious amounts of alcohol. The characters of Nick and Nora are often thought to reflect the personalities of Hammett and his long-time lover, Lillian Hellman.


Because the “Thin Man” title was used for the subsequent movies, there is a widespread misapprehension that the term refers to Nick Charles himself; in fact it refers to Clyde Wynant, the murder victim in the novel.


Written by aterrier

May 24, 2008 at 4:25 am