Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Patsy Award was originated by the Hollywood office of the American Humane Association in 1939. They decided to honor animal performers after a horse was killed in an on-set accident during the filming of the Tyrone Powers film Jesse James. The letter are an acronym, and stand for Picture Animal Top Star of the Year.
The very first recipient of a Patsy was Francis, the Talking Mule in 1951. The award now covers both film and television and is separated into four categories: canine, equine, wild and special. The special category encompasses everything from goats to cats to pigs — Arnold Ziffel of TV's Green Acres was a two-time winner. Arnold's trainer, the late Frank Inn, was the proud owner of over 40 Patsy awards, thanks to his work with Higgins, the dog (who played in the Benji movies and "Dog" on Petticoat Junction), Cleo the Basset Hound, and Lassie, to name a few. Upon his death at age 86, per his request, the ashes of Arnold and Benji were buried with him.
The American Humane Society is the organization responsible for the disclaimer at the end of many films and television programs that no animals were harmed in the production.
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