Freeway 


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Thanks to Giles for the graphic

Freeway was Jennifer's dog and was found in a box on the side of a freeway, (hence his name) . In the series Freeway is described as a distinguished mutt of mixed breed. Jonathan explained in The Dog Who Knew Too Much that he was actually "a miscellaneous breed" and he was entered in this category in a dog show in this episode. In Pounding Harts Jonathan explained that only "his mother knows" what breed he was. However, despite these comments from the scriptwriters, Freeway was not a mized breed, he was an unclipped Lowchen. (See below).

Freeway lived a charmed life, full of many adventures and travel. He was mixed up with criminal next-door neighbours and brought a gun home when he found a girlfriend (Which Way, Freeway?), and we learnt that he was cute puppy who chewed and stole shoes. Freeway has an incredible sense of smell, and put other drug sniffer-dogs to shame when he was on the trail of smugglers in Pounding Harts . In Murder Is Man's Best Friend he starred in a TV commercial (with a very nervous Max) and become addicted to chemicals in the food. (Jonathan was concerned that he may become a dog "with a golden paw").

Freeway was sometimes put to the test when his owners found themselves in tricky situations! He had to choose between two feuding Harts in Blue and Broken Harted, and was not able to be demonstrative when the Harts pretended to be their doubles in Homemade Murder.

Whatever the adventure, Freeway was an important part of the Hart household. He died before the movies were made, and his son (in real life) played the part of "junior" in the Hart movies.




Freeway's breed

Freeway is an unclipped Lowchen. [Thanks to Pamela for the information] Lowchen means "little lion " in German. The Complete dog book (quoted from http://www.naturesrecipe.com/dogs/lowchen.htm) says that this breed are referred to in words and photos as far back as the mid-l5th century. The breed is quite possibly from Germany, and has been a distinct breed for more than 400 years. It nearly disappeared in the 19th century, but tireless efforts by Madam Bennert, a Belgian breeder, ensured its continued existence. A small, bright and lively dog, the Löwchen is a companion breed of great style. The breed's name translates from the German as "little lion". The name comes from the traditional Löwchen clip, with close-cut hindquarters and a full, natural mane.

Pampered Pooch : "Star who escaped a death sentence.... and became a pampered pooch" [no details]. (Thanks to Christopher for sending this article)

How did Freeway become a star? 

One of the world's best-loved dogs was once a stray under sentence of death- until a Hollywood trainer saved him and made him a star. The pooch that won a reprieve is Freeway, star of Hart to Hart.

The sad secret of his past was revealed by his friend and trainer, Bob Blair Snr. Freeway had been under sentence of death in a shelter for stray animals and it was only his bright eyes and perky love of life that saved him. Today his earrings help to keep Freeway and Bob in comfort.

Bob, who now has 60 other dogs and 100 cats working for his company, The Blair Bunch, said " I saved his life. But he saved ours... in a way. It all comes out even." He told how he first met Freeway, whose off-set name is "Charlie Gray" (as Bob already had a "Charlie Brown.") "I went down to the shelter, just down the road from here and there was this little dog, looking at me and saying 'When's my call to go to the studio.?" I brought him back, and he turned out to be a great little dog.

"We don't know what he was before he got here, or exactly how old he is. But I got Freeway four years ago, so he is four or five. He is a natural talent. When you look at him, he just pops out at you. Freeway is just one of those dogs that just sits there asking you 'what do you want me to do next?'

"You just can't train them fast enough. They just pick everything up at once. When I look at a dog, say in the shelter, I can usually tell whether it has talent or not. Most of the dogs at the shelters are strays. If somebody doesn't take them in a certain time, they are put down. Tis would have happened to Freeway."

But the little stray, who was destined for the big time, landed lightly on his feet when he met Bob. "Freeway does everything- lie down, sit up, roll over, speak, and retrieve. His big trick tis to sneeze on cue." Bob said.

"When we get the scripts for Hart to Hart, we figure out what he's got to do. Usually its' a combination of at least five things he knows. The secret is to tailor-make it for the shots, so that it looks as though Freeway were just doing it naturally. We get the scripts in advance and go through them looking for dog action.

"If there's something Freeway doesn't know, we'll train him. If he know what is needed, we will brush him up on them, so that when he walks on the set, he is prepared. It's just like an actor learning his lines."

Freeway earns much more than the $200-a-day rate for an animal actor, and leads the same sort of life as a movie star. "Everyone at the studio knows him and they say hello to Freeway before they say it to me. The stars all make a fuss of him, especially Stefanie, " said 25-yearold Bob Blair jnr. "She loves him. A lot of times she'll come by and take him in her motor home with her and play with him for awhile. Bob Wagner likes Freeway a lot too."

Then Bob Blair snr explained how anyone can train their dog in the Freeway method. This can either be with a titbit or a tone of voice. With animals, and dogs especially, all they want to do is please you. "So when they do it right, let them know its good."

 


 Photos coming soon