Throwback Thursday: Pets in Pop Culture

Memorable animal movie stars, from Babe to Bronies


A scene from the movie Babe. Picture / Supplied.

1. Babe, the 1995 film about an orphaned piglet, sent pigs skyrocketing into the world’s hearts. It garnered seven Academy Award nominations, and inspired actor James Cromwell to become a vegan after playing the role of Farmer Hoggett.

2. Jack russell terrier Uggie was made famous in silent film The Artist. He has since been a “spokesdog” for Nintendo and PETA and enjoyed cameos in movies including Will Ferrell’s The Campaign. Now retired, his legacy includes a “memoir” and a paw print on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

3. Orangey, a male tabby cat, had a number of film and television roles, most memorably featuring as Audrey Hepburn's “poor slob without a name” in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

4. They may not be real horses, but they’re close to pets for their fans. My Little Pony was an 80s TV series based on toy horses made by Hasbro. Subsequent remakes have included 1992’s My Little Pony Tales, and the current series My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. The movie Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony follows a group of male fans of this series as they head to a BronyCon convention.

5. Who could forget Smelly Cat, as made famous in a song by Phoebe on Friends. The unloved cat and its namesake song ended up featuring in a number of episodes, one of which featured Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders.

6. Toto from The Wizard of Oz was played by a cairn terrier named Terry, who featured in many other movies. As well as attending the premiere of The Wizard of Oz she has her own “autobiography”.

7. Grey Gardens, a 1975 documentary (and subsequent 2009 film featuring Drew Barrymore), tells the sad story of mother and daughter “Little Edie” and “Big Edie” Beale — relatives of Jackie Kennedy Onassis — living among numerous cats in their declining Long Island estate.

8. Rescued German shepherd Rin Tin Tin was one of the earliest canine film stars, appearing in 27 films. After he passed away in 1932, his descendants continued his legacy, including via The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin TV series in the 50s, and working as service dogs to assist special needs children today.

This week at Viva we’re celebrating animals - the influential, the kind that keep you company, and the ones in need. To raise money for the SPCA we’ve launched The Pet Project, asking local designers and artists to donate and create special items to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. We’ll donate all of the proceeds to the SPCA, so get bidding!

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New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald

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