Thursday, February 19, 2009

Playing the “Fluke”

Director Carlo Carlei wanted to adapt Fluke, a novel by James Herbert, into a feature film as soon as he read it. He optioned the rights for $5,000 but it was twelve years before Carlei's dream became a reality. The story of a dog who has been reincarnated and is searching for the family he knew as a man, Fluke was released in 1995.

The first dog to audition for the role was Comet, a Golden Retriever who appeared as the family dog in the TV show Full House. Although Carlei was blown away by Comet's skills, the dog in the novel was a black mixed breed and the search continued. It was only after auditioning over a hundred dogs that Carlei went back to Comet and asked if he could be made to look like a mutt.

Comet's coat was dyed dark and trimmed short. To make sure they had done enough, the producers asked a dog show judge to take a look at Comet. The judge pronounced the dog to be a Golden cross and Comet got the role.

Although animatronic puppets were made to double for him in especially dangerous or difficult scenes, Comet proved to be such an outstanding performer that he hardly ever needed one. Comet can be seen in his normal coat in the 1997 made-for-TV film, My Magic Dog a.k.a. My Ghost Dog.

Discussing Comet's acting abilities, his trainer, Cristie Miele, said, "If ever there was a dog who was a person at one time, it's him."

Pictured: Photo from author's collection; "Fluke" makes a phone call. Copyright MGM, 1995.

You can buy Fluke, easily one of the best dog films ever made, and My Magic Dog through the links below.


  1. How sweet! I can't believe that was a golden. Thanks so much for the info. Makes me appreciate the movie even more.

  2. I totally believe he was a golden.

    They actually come in that color!



    Mahogany is a very rare color in golden retrievers. It's not standard anywhere, but red is standard in the United States and Canada.

    But it's not what wins in the shows anymore.

    I could tell he was a golden as soon as I saw the show. I have known many that were very similar to him in that color. (This should tell you that dog show judges often don't know very much.)

    I was a bit shocked that it was the same dog from Full House.