UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. — They answer to Dusty, Dexter, Buster and Scrapper, but visitors to Universal Studios Hollywood’s annual “Grinchmas” holiday event know them better as the Grinch’s sidekick and best friend, “Max the Dog,” the one-horned pooch with tousled fur, a perpetually quizzical look and an unfailingly good spirit. Not so long ago, all four of these dogs were living in animal shelters, abandoned by owners or taken in by animal control officers as strays without tags.
In true Hollywood style, the four “Max the Dogs” were “discovered” by trainers who recognized qualities of playfulness, intelligence and, yes, a certain “look” that fit the bill for roles in the “Grinchmas” celebration as well as for TV and film productions.
“We’re looking for animals that have tremendous energy and want to play,” said animal trainer John McCormick. “The same ‘hyper-energy’ that may have led an owner to abandon their pet may make the animal well-suited to movie and TV work, and for a role in Universal’s ‘Grinchmas,'” he added.
“We love our animals and take great pride in giving them a warm and caring environment. The dogs love interacting with people during ‘Grinchmas’ and it’s a terrific feeling to see the faces of young guests when they finally get that chance to meet Max. It’s a win-win for us, the dogs and the kids.”
To celebrate the opening of this year’s “Grinchmas” celebration, Universal Studios Hollywood is partnering with the Amanda Foundation and the Los Angeles Department of Animal Services to host two “Max to the Rescue: Whoville’s Have A Heart Pet Adoption Fairs,” to be held on December 11 and December 12 from noon to 4:00 p.m. in an area located near the theme park’s main entrance. “Max the Dog,” of course, will be on all fours to greet the dogs and potential new pet owners.
“It’s tough to visit the animal shelters and see so many great dogs and cats that are in need of homes,” said Mr. McCormick. “We hope Universal’s ‘Grinchmas’ adoption fairs will result in the rescue of dozens of deserving animals to responsible pet owners.”
John McCormick works for Birds and Animals Unlimited, which has been providing Universal Studios Hollywood – and many top Hollywood production companies- with trained animals for over 40 years. “Dusty, Dexter, Buster and Scrapper are basically performing the ‘jobs’ that centuries of breeding have equipped them for,” he said. “During ‘Grinchmas,’ the dogs perform for 30-minutes at a time, then enjoy a leisurely hour and half break, all the while interacting with their trainers. The rest of their time is spent in dog runs and in the company of other canine friends.
“Grinchmas” at Universal Studios Hollywood, The Entertainment Capital of L.A.(SM), will enliven the holiday season with the Grinch, his faithful dog Max, tons of fresh snow and a “Whoville Whobilation” at the original movie sets where the classic “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” was filmed.
“Grinchmas” will also provide fans of the blockbuster movie a close-up view of the original “Whoville” film sets, featured in the classic “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” aboard the world-famous behind-the-scenes Studio Tour. As the tram rolls to a stop amid the fanciful “Whoville” buildings, guests will experience a one-of-a-kind performance by “Whoville’s” residents re-enacting favorite scenes and songs from the film.
Aboard the Studio Tour, guests will also pay a special visit to the Grinch’s Lair, where they will find themselves on a quest to help the Grinch and Max the Dog return the stolen gifts to Whoville. A new feature to this year’s “Grinchmas” event, the Grinch’s Lair will send guests spiraling towards Mt. Crumpit, amid snow drifts, as they band together with the Grinch to restore “Grinchmas” to Whoville.
“Grinchmas” is included in the price of theme park admission.
Guests who attend Universal Studios Hollywood’s “Grinchmas” celebration will be able to purchase the “Buy a Day and get 2011 Free” annual pass, a tremendous value allowing them to visit Universal Studios Hollywood throughout the coming year. More information, including an interview with Max the Dog by Universal’s Studio Tour Guide, Molly, is available at http://www.universalstudioshollywood.com/Grinchmas.
Universal Studios Hollywood, The Entertainment Capital of L.A is a unit of Universal Parks & Resorts, a division of NBC Universal. NBC Universal is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May of 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80% owned by General Electric (NYSE: GE), with 20% controlled by Vivendi.
ABOUT DR. SEUSS ENTERPRISES, L.P. The primary focus of the Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. is to protect the integrity of the Dr. Seuss books while expanding beyond books into ancillary areas. This effort is a strategic part of the overall mission to nurture and protect the relationship consumers have with Dr. Seuss characters. Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) said he never wanted to license his characters to anyone who would “round out the edges.” That is one of the guiding philosophies of Dr. Seuss Enterprises. Audrey S. Geisel, the widow of Dr. Seuss, heads Dr. Seuss Enterprises as President.