Higgins (Benji)

Probably the most famous dog actor in the 60’s and 70’s. The two roles he is best known for were Benji and “The Dog” on Petticoat Junction.

In 1960, animal trainer Frank Inn found Higgins at the Burbank Animal Shelter as a puppy. A fluffy black-and-tan mixed-breed dog, he was marked like a Border Terrier, and Inn believed him to be a mix of Miniature Poodle, Cocker Spaniel, and Schnauzer. He took an immediate liking to Higgins and saw a real potential for acting in him. Higgins ended up being his biggest star.

Frank Inn, also trained Arnold Ziffel (the pig) and all of the other animals used on The Beverly HillbilliesPetticoat JunctionGreen Acres, and The Waltons TV series.

Higgins won a Patsy Award in 1967, and he was cover-featured on an issue of TV Guide magazine. He was really close to Edgar Buchanan who played Uncle Joe on Petticoat Junction. They were both in the movie Benji and it would be the last role for each actor.

From 1964-1970 he was in 174 episodes of Petticoat Junction. He also appeared in The Beverly Hillbillies, Village of the Giants, Green Acres, and in the early 1970s appeared in Lassie. In 1971, at the age of 14, Higgins starred in a TV movie with Vincent Price  called “Mooch Goes to Hollywood.” Frank Inn retired Higgins, but in 1974, he brought him out of retirement to star in his greatest role, the loveable dog “Benji.”

Higgins was born December 12, 1957 (per wiki), and sadly passed away November 11, 1975…he was 4 weeks shy of his 18th birthday. Frank Inn had Higgins cremated and wanted his ashes buried with him when he died. Frank died in 2002 but because of changes in the law…Higgins could not be buried with him.

After Higgins passed away his daughter played “Benji” in the next Benji movie in 1977.

 

History of the “The One Take Dog”

 

 

Author: badfinger20

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

16 thoughts on “Higgins (Benji)”

  1. Nice looking little dog. Never seen any Benji movies though. My stepson and his wife both got attacked by a loose pit bull 2 years ago- just found that basically the owner is MIA and the lawyers say they have and open and closed case…but no chance of tracking down the property owner or dog owner and getting a cent. Which is a horrible shame and goes to my ages old fear of dogs. But like I think I’ve said here before, we had to “baby sit”a big black lab for 2 years not too long ago and she was a great dog and friend and since then, I’ve been much more fond of “good dogs” than before. Love to see them with the head out the car window enjoying life!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Benji = 70s lol no doubt….
      I don’t like mean dogs…no way. That is a shame that you couldn’t track that terrible owner down. That would be awful to go through.

      We have had Saint Bernards who are naturally too nice…and lazy. They would show the robbers your stuff lol. I would not have a mean dog…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh Green Acres is the show…I still watch those. Green Acres is the most surreal show I’ve ever seen.
        Arnold…I did like Arnold and the Ziffels.

        Like

  2. Not sure if I saw Benji but I remember the dog. I do remember liking all of Ellie May’s critters on Beverly Hillbilly, and of course, Arnold Ziffel from GA (the only character I did like on there lol.) For anyone who has/had a dog and loves them, you MUST see, “A Dog’s Purpose” (2017). Have the Kleenex ready. Also when I just checked imdb to see what year it came out, I see there is a new 2019 movie out with the same cast called, “A Dog’s Journey.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I loved Benji as a kid and it connects me with my childhood my favorite leading man of the 70s lol.
      I’ll wait til we get another dog before I watch it… we have to get another one… we have been putting it off but it’s getting time

      I like Arnold a lot! One smart pig!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Get your puppy now so he/she can be housetrained by winter! lol on Benji favorite leading man. Remember Lassie was a girl. The first (only?) girl canine hero! I laugh when I think of Timmy trying to interpret Lassie’s barks…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Timmy is in the well again bark bark!
        It took a while but Jennifer is ready now… we are looking.

        Yes Lassie was a female you are right… Higgins daughter was the 2nd Benji but she is not in Lassies league in fame…

        I’m not sure about Ron Tin Tin

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes… we just love their nature and we are equipped to give one a home… many people get turned off by the size… they are just huge lap dogs.

        Liked by 1 person

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