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The MOORE'S MONGRELS dog act was started in the 1930s by four Moore brothers from Grass Valley, California. Being farm boys, they knew all there was about animals. Their act flourished and they were soon working vaudeville and circuses. Things were going along fine until WWII broke out.
The war did not stop our family's animal training, as Sonny Moore was put in the army K-9 corps. My Uncle Sonny's first assignment was to train guide dogs for blinded veterans. His next mission was not as pleasant, as he was sent to Luzon in the Philippines for jungle fighting.
Jungle fighting was very dangerous, as the enemy units were experts at camouflage and our patrols would continuously blunder into ambushes. That stopped when our K-9 corps got there, since they could smell the enemy. The K-9s never let our troops blunder into an ambush.
Uncle Sonny's K-9 was named Captain - or just "Cap" for short - and the terror of war welded them together forever. When the war ended, Cap was sent back to the woman who had donated him to the army, but Cap wouldn't stop pining for Uncle Sonny. Cap's owner could see his pain and gave him to Uncle Sonny, who soon put him into the family act. So, Cap became a star in the entertainment business.
Cap and the rest of the Moore's Mongrels appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and were presented to Queen Elizabeth at a Royal Command Performance in London. Some of my earliest memories were playing army with Cap. He died in 1956, but thankfully Uncle Sonny is still going strong, and he has a houseful of dogs and one cat.
My father, Dwight Moore, had his own branch of the family act, and I grew up assisting him. One day, Walt Disney found us and brought us out to Los Angeles for a mini-series called Kilroy. When we were resting the dogs between takes, Mr. Disney would come out of his office to pet them. We became Walt's favorite dog act, and he used us in every way he could think of. We worked at Disneyland and at his studios, and we toured with "Disney On Parade." That same year, Bing Crosby brought us over to do his Hollywood Palace show. That was a wonderful time.
More recently, we worked on Broadway with The Will Rogers Follies and traveled with its national tour. We have toured internationally with Ice Capades, Holiday On Ice, Circuses, and the Beastie Boys. The dogs have appeared in several Las Vegas revues, such as City Lights.
Our dogs have been given many awards along the way. Priscilla Presley gave us her Sydney Award on Those Amazing Animals for saving the dogs from the pound and getting them jobs in show business. In Branson, we were given the Branson Entertainment Award for variety performances and the Leather Medal from the Calgary Stampede in Canada.
We still do variety shows when they come along, such as The Smothers Bros., Dolly Parton, Dick Clark, Disney Celebrity Circus, Circus of the Stars, and The Tonight Show. The dogs were fortunate to have worked with Merv Griffin and were frequent guests on Mike Douglas' show.
Thank goodness we get to do this one old-fashioned show one more time.