Toto (Oz)

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Oz character
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, 013.png
Toto (Oz)--illustration by W. W. Denslow (1900)
First appearance The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
Created by L. Frank Baum and W. W. Denslow
Portrayed by Terry
Species Dog
Gender male
Occupation Dorothy Gale's pet dog/royal dog of Oz

Toto is a fictional pet dog in American author L. Frank Baum's Oz series of classic children's books, first introduced in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900). His name is pronounced with a long "O", a homophone of "toe-toe". He also reappears in numerous adaptations based on the novel and its sequels, most notably the 1939 MGM musical movie version of the first Oz book, starring actress Judy Garland as the film's main character and Toto's owner, Dorothy Gale. Surprisingly, despite L. Frank Baum specifically intending Toto's character to be a boy, in the MGM film, Toto was portrayed by a well trained female dog named Terry.

Baum did not specifically state Toto's exact breed, but describes him as a — "Little black dog with long silky hair and small black eyes that twinkled merrily on either side of his funny, wee nose".

Toto was originally illustrated by artist W. W. Denslow as a small, dark-haired and shaggy terrier in the first edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. From the illustrations in the first novel many have concluded that he is a Cairn Terrier while others believe he is a Yorkshire Terrier, as this breed was extremely popular at the time and also fits the illustration quite well. However, in subsequent Oz books artist John R. Neill illustrates him to be an all black haired Boston Terrier.

The Classic Oz Books[edit]

Toto wears a big green bow and the green tinted spectacles in Emerald City--illustration by W. W. Denslow (1900).

Toto is the loyal and beloved pet dog of a little orphan girl named Dorothy Gale, who is the adolescent protagonist and main heroine of the first and many subsequent Oz books by Baum. When Baum first introduces Toto in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, he lives with Dorothy on an isolated farm in the midst of a great sun baked prairie in early 1900's Kansas. He is usually decipted strictly as a sidekick companion who is not used as the focal point in the story, but simply follows Dorothy wherever she goes. Toto is a very energetic dog by nature, one who plays with Dorothy daily and makes her laugh, thus saving her from sharing the same bleak fates as her guardians; Uncle Henry and Aunt Em, who are said to have forgotten how to laugh and are described as being joyless and gray, much like their surroundings in Kansas —"It was Toto that made Dorothy laugh, and saved her from growing as gray as her other surroundings. Toto was not gray; he was a little black dog, with long silky hair and small black eyes that twinkled merrily on either side of his funny, wee nose. Toto played all day long, and Dorothy played with him, and loved him dearly."

In the beginning of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Toto is the reason why he and Dorothy ended up in the Land of Oz. If he had not become frightened and jumped out of Dorothy's arms and hid under her bed to escape the horrible howling sound of the approaching cyclone, Dorothy would've been able to reach the storm cellar with her aunt and uncle in time. At one point in Baum's story, it is made clear that Toto didn't care whether he lived in Oz or not, but since Dorothy was ultimately unhappy there, it made him unhappy too. This is stated when he and Dorothy are imprisoned by the book's main antagonist, the Wicked Witch of the West— "Dorothy's life became very sad as she grew to understand that it would be harder than ever to get back to Kansas and Aunt Em again. Sometimes she would cry bitterly for hours, with Toto sitting at her feet and looking into her face, whining dismally to show how sorry he was for his little mistress. Toto did not really care whether he was in Kansas or the Land of Oz so long as Dorothy was with him; but he knew the little girl was unhappy, and that made him unhappy too."

Toto never spoke actual words upon entering the universe of Oz although other animals native to Oz, did. Throughout the series, it is revealed other non-native animals immediately gained the ability to magically speak when reaching Oz and the several enchanted lands neighboring it, due to the fact Oz is a country that lies within a realm containing fairy-regions. However, Toto still remained speechless, only barking to communicate, even after Dorothy befriends Oz's rightful ruler, the child Queen Princess Ozma, and her aunt and uncle move to Oz permanently in The Emerald City of Oz (1910). In Baum's Tik-Tok of Oz (1914), continuity is restored: Toto finally reveals that he is able to talk, just like other animals in Oz. He says he could've spoken all along but simply chose not to so he didn't lead on. In the novel's after that, Toto still barks a lot but does speak occasionally.

Later books[edit]

Toto is the title character in two apocryphal Oz books, Toto in Oz (1986) by Chris Dulabone and Toto of Oz (2006) by Gina Wickwar.

In Toto in Oz, after receiving taunts from his friends when falling into a flower basket during a celebration of Midsummer Day 1986, Toto decides to see Glinda about getting a title so that he can command respect. On the way, he wanders into the town of Arfrica (a human population, in spite of its name), digs up an ivory scepter that he mistakes for a bone, and is proclaimed First Magistrate for a term of nine years. He requires everyone to learn the language of dogs in a series of lessons. When he is about to be forced into a marriage with a human princess, he escapes on a magic carpet, and becomes smitten with a Hawaiian Scottish Terrier named Labyz. Ultimately, he names a Second Magistrate to serve in his place and returns to the Emerald City.

In Gregory Maguire's novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, Toto is a minor character who is only described as being vile and annoying. In the musical adaption Wicked, he is only mentioned briefly when Glinda mistakenly calls him "Dodo".

Terry and the MGM film[edit]

Terry with Judy Garland in the 1939 feature film, The Wizard of Oz

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 reportedly received $50 to $100 a week).

During production, Terry's foot was broken when one of the Winkie guards accidentally stepped on it. A second dog had to be used while she healed. Due to the popularity of the movie, and because that role was the one she was most remembered for, her owner and trainer changed her official name to Toto in 1942. She actually appeared in 13 different films.[1] She died at age 11. Willard Carroll wrote her "autobiography," I, Toto (2001).

When she died in 1945 Carl Spitz buried her on his ranch in Studio City, CA. However, the construction of the Ventura Freeway in 1958 destroyed her grave. On June 18, 2011 a permanent memorial for Terry was dedicated at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles.[2]

Later film versions[edit]

  • In Disney's 1985 movie Return to Oz, Toto was played by a female Border Terrier named Tansy.
  • The 1978 movie version of The Wiz featured a dark gray Schnauzer as Toto.
  • Toto appears in The Wizard of Oz cartoon with his vocal effects provided by Frank Welker.
  • In ABC's telefilm The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, he is played by Pepe the Prawn.
  • In 1996 an animated series The Oz Kids, Dot and Neddie have a puppy named Toto 2 who is named after Dorothy's dog Toto. One of the episodes says Dorothy's dog Toto is a female.
  • In the VeggieTales episode "The Wonderful Wizard of Has", he is replaced by a pig named "Tutu".
  • In the Sci-Fi Channel miniseries Tin Man, Toto is portrayed as a shape-shifting human. He was originally the tutor of DG and her sister, and his name of "Toto" came from DG's childhood inability to say "Tutor". He was played by Blu Mankuma.
  • Toto also appears in the film Inkheart. In that film, Silvertongues have the ability to bring a character from book to life by saying the words loud and clear. Meggy accidentally brings him out of the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and he becomes her companion (until he's sent back into it at the end). Toto helps defeat the evil shadow monster as well.
  • In the Disney Channel original movie The Cheetah Girls the main character Galleria has a dog named Toto. This name is given to him because The Wizard of Oz was Galleria's favorite movie, and incidentally her mother is named Dorothea (Dorothy). However, this dog is a Bichon Frise instead of a black Cairn Terrier.
  • Toto appeared in Dorothy and the Witches of Oz. Toto lived with Dorothy even when she was invited to New York City to get her books published.

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