A good dog is an asset. And that’s especially true in the entertainment industry, where working animals are required to be highly disciplined. Fans of “The Andy Griffith Show” will remember the television star Pluto, who played Barney Fife’s hound Blue. While Pluto was a good boy and talented animal actor who really committed to his roles, classic TV fans might recognize him from other shows of the 1960s.
Pluto was in serious demand during this period. And we’re pretty confident that he wasn’t bothered one bit by the fact that his roles were all so similar. You know… Because he was a dog. Okay, poor attempts at comedy aside, Pluto was a product of the Frank Inn school of animal acting.
Inn was one of the most accomplished animal trainers of all time. For those who are unfamiliar, the American Humane Association used to give out PATSY Awards each year. PATSY stands for Picture Animal Top Star of the Year. And throughout his career, Frank Inn’s animals captured 40 of the awards.
Pluto himself never won one, but he was a finalist for his performance in the 1963 film “My Three Loves.” Just because Pluto was snubbed, though, doesn’t mean his career was anything less than prolific. This dog’s reach went far beyond “The Andy Griffith Show.”
Before appearing in “Barney’s Bloodhound” in 1964, Pluto had already played the role of Walter on classic Western “Bonanza” in 1963. In 1965, he took his talents to the set of “The Beverly Hillbillies” in an episode titled “Dash Riprock, You Cad.” That same year, Pluto went back to “The Andy Griffith Show.” But he didn’t reprise his role as Blue. He played an entirely different dog character in the “A Man’s Best Friend” episode.
Frank Inn Contributed Animals to Far More Than Just ‘The Andy Griffith Show’
The life of an animal trainer like Frank Inn is a fascinating one. He was directly responsible for the performances that his animals delivered in shows and movies. Yet they’re the ones who got all of the credit on-screen.
He probably wouldn’t have it any other way, as he gained a reputation for being one of the most effective animal trainers in Hollywood. And while we remember Pluto fondly from “The Andy Griffith Show,” Frank Inn’s animals made quite the footprint across the industry.
Fans of “Green Acres” will remember Arnold Ziffel. He was the proxy child of Fred and Doris Ziffel on the classic show. He was also a pig. And not just any pig. He was a product of Frank Inn. In keeping with the proud tradition of the Inn school, the talented porker took home a few PATSY awards throughout his career.