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Kitty, you have been cast!

"The biggest invitation to bad luck ever seen in one place" - LIFE magazine, 1961

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if your four-legged friend was cast for a role in Hollywood? Mh... may this be too pretentious? OK, then to shoot a simple commercial? Bring your little pet to a film set to be groomed and smoothed before the shoot... anyone who loves their pet as much as I do would be very excited to have their cat or dog cast in a paid role (for free it would be just fine too!). Seeing your pet become a real star is priceless!

Given that Instagram did not yet exist in the 1960s. I bet you too would have been willing to stand in line for hours on end (perhaps in the summer sun) for a simple audition. This is the case for black cat auditions in Hollywood in 1961, where 152 black cats lined up at what’s now known as Raleigh Studios to audition for a role in The Tale of Terrors (1962). Several were disqualified thanks to white paws or noses, but even for those left in the running, the day left dreams largely dashed. The lead role, it turned out, had already been filled by “a well-known professional cat.” Seven lucky extras, selected on account of having the meanest-looking faces, were chosen as understudies.

Their owners, whose ambitions for their pets might just have exceeded those of the pets themselves, couldn’t help but let superstition get the best of them. Although they acted naturally around their cats, “many took pains not to let any strange black cats cross their paths.”



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