“I’m a dog man,” Walt Disney once said. “I’ve always had a special feeling for dogs.”
Walt’s affection for dogs is well-known and gave birth to films such as Lady and the Tramp (more on that classic in a sec), but here’s one thing we didn’t know: He wanted to raise dogs. The difficulty of breeding made that impractical, but Walt made up for that by having plenty of dogs around.
“We had little Cockers, big Shepherds, and a Keeshond, and when my daughters were small, a Chow — and you couldn’t want a better guardian for children.”
Walt’s most memorable tribute to dogs comes at the beginning of Lady and the Tramp, in the form of a quote by Josh Billings (which is the pen name of humorist Henry Wheeler Shaw): “In the whole history of the world there is but one thing that money cannot buy … to wit — the wag of a dog’s tail.”
Disney then added his own bit: “So it is to all dogs — be they ladies or tramps, that this picture is respectfully dedicated.”
This weekend marks the 60th anniversary of Lady and the Tramp, and D23: The Official Disney Fan Club is making a celebration out of it with the Fanniversary Home Edition. What’s that? Well, for one thing, it hopes to be the biggest Lady and the Tramp viewing party ever. Disney gave Dogster a first look at some of the special features and content, including the above info about Walt’s own dogs, that Disney plans to unveil during the weekend.
All you have to do to participate is watch the film, starting at precisely 5 p.m. PT on Saturday, June 13. How you watch will be up to you: DVD, Blu-Ray, VHS, maybe even reel-to-reel for you hardcore fans. Then, the fan club wants you to tweet or post about the film on your favorite social media using the #D23Fanniversary hashtag.
D23.com also plans to unveil some new and classic stuff about Lady and the Tramp throughout event, including:
- A new video featuring original artwork from the Animation Research Library
- A series of the original “Scamp” comics
- A gallery of Lady and the Tramp items from the Walt Disney Archives
- Features about the film, including a piece by Disney music historian Randy Thornton looking at the development of the movie’s beloved songs
- A story on Walt Disney’s own dogs and how they influenced some of his movies
Check out the D23: The Official Disney Fan Club for more info, and tune in at 5 p.m. Friday, June 12!
Read more about dogs in films: