Actors have made great entrances, of course, in the long history at the theater -- one thinks perhaps of Judith Anderson as Medea -- but few as enchanting as Boomer, a dog who is here and the socially redeeming value of a new series called "Here's Boomer."
It will begin at 7 tonight on Channel 4, with enough humans to set off the mutt in an appealing way.
The cast of the premiere is headed by Tom Bosley and Barney Martin and they have all this trouble which the dog unravels and sets straight.
It is a television series, remember that, and the level of glory may fall short by ultimate standards, but to get on with the main thing:
This dog apparently dropped down from the moon.
He is a free spirit, you know, and he roams from town to town, because (like the poet Homer) no city is great enough to claim him as its own.
In the advance showing I sat through, a happy and tearful time, the dog showed up at a circus midway just looking about, as pilgrim dogs do.
He saw a little girl about to be run down by a truck. He saved her. Then she got lost, and he led a cop to her. Then he found out she was deaf. Her unobservant parents did not know this. They thought she needed special schools or psychiatrists or both. The dog had to explain to them (through acting, for the dog does not speak) what the problem was. They finally caught on, the girl got a hearing aid and turned into a genius.
His work being done, the dog set off for fresh woods and pastures new. Week after week, like Batman with fur or Robin Hood with a tail, he will help suffering humanity.
It is said, by those who know such things, that the dog of this show looks like Benji, a dog of feature-length films.
Maybe he does. All I know is I could not take my eyes off Boomer. He climbs ladders, slides down slides, foils a disagreeable nurse at a clinic and what I ask is why he is not on the faculty of Lee Strasberg's acting school.
You don't want to know where this dog came from. From the moon, as I reckon. Of course there is sadness here -- the short sweet interludes of human life in which the dog transforms life, but then he's gone and people (beyond doubt) fall back into their muddle. Boomer continueth not in one stay. Like a swallow he flies into the hall, then out, and all is dark and drab once more.
But that's life, is it not?
As I regarded the humans in the show I saw, I thought they were nice, as humans go, but you would hardly want to have them to dinner or see much of them. Since the dog was on camera pretty constantly, his sparkle, his leaps, his wags, his admirable paws were thrown into high relief by the shadowy supporting cast -- exactly as Rembrandt sent shafts of light on his central character, with vague shapes recoiling with wonder in the surround-gloom.
Though somewhat shaggy (the best dogs tend to have sleek coats of short fur) this actor still qualifies, I think, as Basic Dog. Such as trotted at Adam's feet.
Such as many a one of us has known. It is all very cheerful and upbeat and excuse me, do you happen to have an extra handkerchief."