Benji casting call promotes pet adoption

HOLLYWOOD, CA: A unique publicity campaign is supporting

Hollywood's search for a new star who may enjoy fame and fortune for

years to come.

"The important thing is the look in their eye," which must convey

personality, intelligence, and warmth, said Julia Hutton, who heads a PR

firm bearing her name, and is handling publicity for the star-search


Hutton said other qualifications are an ideal age of one, a weight of 22

pounds, a height of 22 inches when sitting, and being a mixture of

terrier and "something." Up for grabs is the leading role in the

upcoming Benji movie, the latest episode in a series of films and

television shows that began nearly 30 years ago.

The talent search began in Chicago in August, then went to Atlanta and

other cities, where producer Joe Camp toured animal shelters searching

for the ideal Benji. Beyond promoting the upcoming movie, "the goal is

to get dogs in animal shelters placed," Hutton explained. The publicity

associated with these visits resulted in many people visiting animal

shelters and adopting dogs housed there, she added. TV hits have

included CBS 2 news in New York, Channels 5 and 12 in Phoenix, and two

items on KCBS Los Angeles.

The original Benji was rescued from the Burbank Animal Shelter. The

American Humane Association said that publicity associated with that

Benji led to the adoption of more than a million dogs.

Currently, the search has been narrowed to four dogs. Camp is currently

working with them to determine which has the moxie to make it in the


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