The other day I learned something by chance from a quiz show I saw on TV. Sspecifically that when L. Frank Baum's book The Wizard of Oz was being adapted originally for the stage in 1902, the producers decided to replace the dog Toto with a different animal that they thought would "appeal more to children."
Wh-a-a-t? Really? I was floored by the concept. What animal might they suppose would appeal more to children than a dog, even granting that theToto of later movie fame was a nasty, yelpy, unattractive little critter who today would be replaced by something stylish like a golden lab?
The quiz show offered multiple choice answers: Sheep? Horse? Cow? Rooster? but it turns out it was a cow. A cow named Imogene! Wow! Cow! That seems from our perspective more than a century later, but not so many people had housepets back then; maybe more families actually had cows?
Anyway, a couple of days later my mind returned to this surprising trivium. I started imagining weird scenes from the movie (since I hadn't seen the stage version): The wicked neighbor trying to carry Imogene away in a basket on the back of her bicycle ... The Wicked Witch threatening Dorothy, "I'll get you, and your big cow, too!".. The cow mooing (or perhaps moue-ing?) at the flying monkeys... The cow traipsing along behind Dorothy through the field of poppies... The cow leaping off the drawbridge at the last minute as it was being pulled up... Worst, the carnage that might ensue when Dorothy and her bovine companion meet up with the lion!
Well, it turns out I needn't have worried about the witch, anyway ... like the pooch, she was eliminated also in the stage version, apparently not replace by anything at all.
In the end, the movie version seems to have lasted better than the stage version, and perhaps that's the answer to the question, "what would appeal more to kids than a dog?"