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Broadway Tails: Heartfelt Stories of Rescued Dogs Who Became Showbiz Superstars Paperback – Bargain Price, June 28, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Animal stage trainer Berloni has been rescuing animals and putting them on the boards for more than 30 years, and his career memoir brings with it some expected charms-lovable, heartbreaking animal stories; giddy tales of Broadway success; and showbiz backbiting. His story begins compellingly when, as a 19-year-old intern on the set of the original 1975 production of Annie, he was charged with finding and coaching the dog that would play Sandy; miraculously, "the dog nobody wanted... that had been run over by a truck just twelve days earlier" played Sandy for seven years. Berloni's at his best when describing his methods or recounting theatre gossip; the chapter about the 1995 Annie revival, and the abrupt dismissal of 11-year-old star Joanna Pacitti (who won a contest), is related with real ire (Berloni was friends with Pacitti and her family). Unfortunately, much else is dully dutiful; neither Berloni nor his co-writer Hanrahan bring a particularly strong voice to the typical business of memoir. Since it focuses on his remarkable craft, it should interest animal lovers and fans of Broadway. B&w photos.
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Review

“[Bill] can do anything you ask, has enormous love for and control of the animals, is kind to them and to humans. He is the best. The one and only.” --Mike Nichols 

“Bill Berloni is a master of his profession. His experience and patience are welcome in any rehearsal room.” --Susan Stroman

"Bill's genuine love and respect for animals has always been foremost in my thoughts of him. He is guided by compassion, empathy and kindness for all beings, qualities too rarely seen." -Virginia Chipurnoi, President, Humane Society of New York

Animal stage trainer Berloni has been rescuing animals and putting them on the boards for more than 30 years, and his career memoir brings with it some expected charms—lovable, heartbreaking animal stories; giddy tales of Broadway success; and showbiz backbiting. His story begins compellingly when, as a 19-year-old intern on the set of the original 1975 production of Annie, he was charged with finding and coaching the dog that would play Sandy; miraculously, “[t]he dog nobody wanted... that had been run over by a truck just twelve days earlier” played Sandy for seven years. Berloni’s at his best when describing his methods or recounting theatre gossip; the chapter about the 1995 Annie revival, and the abrupt dismissal of 11-year-old star Joanna Pacitti (who won a contest), is related with real ire (Berloni was friends with Pacitti and her family). Unfortunately, much else is dully dutiful; neither Berloni nor his co-writer Hanrahan bring a particularly strong voice to the typical business of memoir. Since it focuses on his remarkable craft, it should interest animal lovers and fans of Broadway. --Publishers Weekly
 


 



“A heartwarming book . . . If you’ve encountered a furry friend in a Broadway show it likely was put there by Bill Berloni, the theater industry’s top animal trainer. . . . It’s Wild Kingdom meets 42nd Street—and a fun read for anyone who loves theater or animals (and especially those who love both). . . . A canine critique would insist it’s ‘four paws up’ for Broadway Tails.”
—Houston Chronicle
 
 
“[A] treat for animal lovers and theater fiends—if you are both (as I am), it cannot be beat. Backstage theatre gossip abounds. . . . You’ll hold your breath as Berloni rescues animals from some despicable situations, and then brings out the best in them despite serous obstacles.”
—Fetchdog.com

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press; 1st edition (June 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599213532
  • ASIN: B002PJ4I4I
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #465,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Bill Berloni wasn't a professional animal handler; in fact he knew nothing about training dogs. But when the musical ANNIE came to the stage it was Berloni who was tasked with finding a dog to play Annie's mutt Sandy, as well as to train him. And so he did. This is Berloni's tale of finding the original dog, plus a substitute if the star was unwell, and learning how to train animals for the stage. He not only trained Sandy's successors, but trained a long list of other stage dogs, cats, and other animals, using his wits, love and kindness.

This is an enjoyable tale of a man and the love for his animals, and the mark that he left on rescue organizations (the dogs and cats he trained were chiefly rescue animals, and showed that even a "mutt from the pound" could succeed in show business).

The only thing that bothered me about this book was a two-paragraph story about how Benji and his (actually her, because the second Benji was female) trainer Frank Inn visited the set of ANNIE. Berloni comments that the dog seemed robotic and only alive when she was doing routines. I thought that was kind of odd because Frank Inn had a great reputation in Hollywood and he was known to favor the dogs who played Benji (the original "Higgins" and then his daughter). Maybe Benji just adored her trainer and kept her eyes on him at all times. Some dogs are like that.
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What an inspiration this book is. The photos are a delight. His conversational style is endearing. The author Bill Berloni documents how he sought out and rescued rejected animals from dogs and cats to birds pigs or rats - and trained them for key roles in theatrical productions. You can't help falling in love with his critters as the author takes you along for the ride. Each animal becomes a star after Berloni's extensive training. Sometimes against all odds, only his instinct, love and 'dogged ' determination enables the show to go on. After reading this book I couldn't wait to see the play 'Annie' in Australia, and watched their dog's performance with enhanced appreciation. Scruffy or fluffy, maimed, placid or over-excitable - all the Berloni's trained dogs anors have brought delight to countless audiences from stage to screen. Bill Berloni's book indicates that his work has raised the bar for care and control of animals in show-business. You'll love this book - and hopefully consider adopting one of the numerous strays in animal shelters across the country.
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I heard this man speaking on NPR one day, and it fascinated me. As someone who wants to go into this sort of field myself, I figured I had to own this book.

While it does not unlock any special training secrets, it's not made to. The hilarious stories of dropping bologna to get dogs to stop on stage, the heartfelt stories of all the dogs he adopted who usually went to new, great homes after performances, and the way he talks about the stars he worked with are truly sincere feeling. It's so interesting how for the most of the shows, the dogs training was barely pulled together, but the audience would never know. Getting a dog to bark by having someone offstage in a horse costume, is one example! But they always came through, and the show went on.

I only wish it were longer! Anyone who is interested in dogs, dog rescue, or show business, I encourage to read this book.
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I grew up in Connecticut, attended college in New Britain where he grew up, and have many times gone to Goodspeed Opera House where he began his career by provided "Sandy" for Annie. Those things attracted me to the book, but his amazing career working with animals, especially rescues, and training them to perform was outstanding. I loved the first book so much that I gave it to an ill CT dog owner who I knew would enjoy it. Was thrilled to have the chance to purchase the updated version. This one will stay with me.
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By Ralph Osgood on September 3, 2013
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Berloni put his dogs and their care and welfare first even when his economic situation could have strongly tempted him otherwise. He is a great advocate for a great truth: pound dogs are just as good as any pure-bred; get your pup from the pound. It is also a very fun read, and one can learn much about animal training, about Broadway, and about efforts to humanely treat animals. He genuinely cares for his critters, and this comes through in the book.
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By T. Shields on January 2, 2013
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If you are an animal lover you will absolutely LOVE this book. If you aren't, you will still LOVE this book! The stories are sooo moving, and full of emotion. This man is a true animal activist and really changed the way animal shelters are run! He saved alot of dogs and cats lives! Thank God !
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Fun book to read. Amazing how the author got involved in the business.
Endears the reader to the animals by the way he trains and relates to them.
Fascinating to learn how he figured out to train the animals and get them to do amazing things.
Also, rescued animals and found great homes for them after they finished their roles.
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We purchased this book and had it sent to our granddaughters, ages 8 and 11 in GA. They love dogs and have two of their own, so the book was appropriate for them. The oldest one told us she and her sister loved the stories and the dogs that were featured therein. I would recommend this book for children with a love of dogs.
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