. Wednesday, September 20, 2006
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THIS is our dog - yours and mine! We grew up with this beloved fox terrier listening to his master's voice. It symbolized so perfectly, so warmly that first grand instrument of home entertainment, the Vic. It gave to the struggling Victor Talking Machine Company in the early days of this cyclonic century, an expression of performance that instantly went to the hearts of young and old alike. Many great ads have appeared over the Victor and later the RCA-Victor name, but none more valuable certainly than the dog everybody knows.

The idea was the inspiration of Francis Barraud, an English painter. One day his dog Nipper - for that was the terrier's name - sat hunched before a talking machine listening quizzically to the voices coming from the horn. Nipper's pose caught the eye of his master . . . and one of the greatest trade-marks in the world was born. Barraud gave it the title which has never changed "His Master's Voice" and sold the English rights to the picture to the Gramophone Company, London. In 1901, the Victor Talking Machine Company acquired the American rights to the painting and adopted it as its trade-mark, and has featured it for more than half a century in advertising and retail display.

The moral of all this - if one is needed - is that good ideas are everywhere. But you have to know one when you see it.