Shelley, how did you and Penny became involved
with "Queen for a Day"?
I had previously done some work with Jane Conway, an Animal
Wrangler for movies and films. She called and asked if I had a
red and white corgi that could speak on command. I told her
to give me 15 minutes – I knew Penny was smart enough to learn.
In that time she not only learned to speak on command, but on a signal
– a quick “psst”. So she showed them Penny’s photos and she got the job.
Were there any script requirements for Penny
to take the role of Queenie?
Being able to speak on command, which wasn’t required
after all, because she barked for the ball as I mentioned on my blog.
top-bottom left: Penny as "Queenie" in "Queen
for a Day"
right: Penny with Jeannette Charles backstage
- Photo courtesy Shelley Camm
You had mentioned that Penny had done some commercial
work prior to the special, can you give us some examples?
She was in a Kellog’s commercial, and another commercial
that ran during the Grey Cup in Toronto.
Do you recall where "Queen for a Day" was taped?
The outdoor scenes were all filmed at the train station and
in the park in Tottenham (Ontario). The indoor scenes were filmed
at a production studio that I think was on Commissioner St – or
somewhere down near the Lakeshore.
With all the cast and crew around, was it hard
to keep Penny focused?
Penny would focus on anyone who paid attention to her. Cardigans
are like that!
There's one scene in "Queen for a Day" with Queenie
barking at and chasing Schemer (Brian O'Connor), Can you share the secret
of how that scene was taped?
Penny was fanatical about retrieving a ball and would get
very excited if you played “monkey in the middle’ and didn’t
let her get the ball. Just before shooting, I tossed the ball back
and forth with Brian a few times to get her worked up, and then held
her when I threw him the ball which he hid in his pocket. Penny
ran to him barking for the ball, but it looked like she was barking at
Can you tell us your story about how you &
Penny met George Carlin?
During a break when she wasn’t required for filming
I took Penny into a lounge off the set and was playing ball with her
to keep her happy. After a bit, a man came out of the set
carrying a uniform in a bag. He hung it up, and sat on the floor
with us playing ball with Penny, and talking to me about Corgis. Only
much later did I find out I had been talking to George Carlin!
Can you share any insight about how Penni got
along with the rest of the cast & crew?
Penny loved anyone and everyone, and had a way of endearing
herself to everyone with her sweet personality and her repertoire of
tricks. She ended up being used in a couple of scenes where
she was’t originally intended to be included because she was such
a biddable little dog.
Have you seen "Queen for a Day"? If so, what
did you think of Penny's performance?
I’ve only saw it for the first time a few years ago
when someone I communicated with through YouTube sent me a copy. It was kind of fun to see it all put together, especially
when I knew how certain scenes got shot.
Penny and her kennel friends - Photo courtesy Shelley
Can you tell us a bit more about Penny's qualities
and how smart she was?
Penny was an extremely intelligent dog and learned things very very quickly. She
was raised with an Irish Wolfhound, Alanna, who was her best friend and the two of them were known everywhere we went because
of the opposite extreme in size. You knew that she would “coach” Alanna to get things off the counter that
she wanted but wasn’t tall enough to reach by herself.
She was also a Houdini and nothing could keep her in when
she wanted to go “walkabout” One time I couldn’t find her and was walking the streets
calling for her when a lady said “Are you looking for a little red and white dog?” I said I was and she
said she knew where she was. She took me to another house, and the woman said her son had found her and was calling
her Yoda because of her ears, and thought that he had taught her all these wonderful tricks.
Penny helped raise every litter of puppies in the house,
and had one litter of her own. She lived for 17-1/2 years, and was the little boss of the house for the entire