The one you might have seen dressed up as an angel or a witch on T-shirts, mugs, posters and the Web site that made him an international celebrity: He's the one whose slightly too-long legs and tremulous sideways gait give him the juvenile innocence of a newborn pony or a furry Bambi in miniature forever venturing out onto the ice.
The one whose tongue always sticks out from under that little bittersweet chocolate-brown nose and those sympathetic Marty Feldman eyes gazing out widely and innocently to delight all onlookers and summon the soft core of even the most hardened military retiree.
The one who, when you see him, makes you say lookatthelittleguy and ohymygod the whole thing is justsogoddamnCUTE! I admit that I melted instantly when I happened to meet Mr. Winkle on the street a few years back. Winkle came trotting down Hillhurst, and soon enough we were playing with him, holding him, marveling over how preternaturally cute he is: He totally looks like a Mr. You should clone him!
Have a whole army of Mr. Or like T-shirts or something with his face. People would totally buy them. Winkle, maybe the world's cutest one-of-a-kind mutt, was well on his way to being franchised.
Winkle as any kind of character, take pictures and make a brisk business putting his image on calendars. Very quickly, the Mr. Winkle enterprise took off. Only two years after launching her own Web site to offer just a few items, there are now Mr. Winkle cards, books and, starting this month, a new plush toy. In the past year, Mr. Winkle's been doing his sideways scuttle up that logarithmic incline that turns footnotes into media phenomena, and he's had an accelerating schedule of publicity appearances in bookstores, at charity events, on the Today show twice , Rosie and Sex and the City.
Fans have waited six hours in the rain to see him. At his last New York book signing, Mr. Winkle drew a larger crowd than Bill Clinton. All of this makes Mr. Winkle perhaps the biggest celebrity dog of all time. He's huge in Japan of course. The United Kingdom is especially fond of him; several Oxford dons reportedly have Mr. Winkle paraphernalia on their walls. Even the Germans have taken heart of "His Royal Cuteness"; I went to Berlin this summer, and within 24 hours three separate people had asked me if I had heard of "Herr Vinkel.
Winkle ambles around the living-room floor of his owner's apartment, preparing for his next photo shoot. This time, he will portray Camille Claudel, Rodin's neglected mistress, and Fionne the costume designer is due to show up with the first attempt at the artist's frock. Walter, an administrative helper, is in the other room filling Web-site orders. Daryl, the assistant photographer, comes in and out with equipment. Behind us is a 2-foot pile of reject prototypes for the Mr.
Winkle stuffed animal; pieces of sets and props from previous shoots are strewn throughout the room. In the midst of it all, Mr. Winkle radiates puppy charm. Winkle perks his head up on cue. But I don't think it goes to his head. Winkle doesn't get impatient, demand a special trailer or want Persian caviar, Regan says.
He's just as he was when she found him on the industrial edge of Bakersfield, only happier and healthier. We wander across the street where Chris, the set designer, has readied the scenery for today's shoot in his garage. All the principals of Team Winkle happen to live on the same block in Los Feliz, one whose location must remain undisclosed, due to numerous credible threats about Mr.
Winkle being kidnapped or plucked for his genetic material. Surrounded by little empty wine bottles Claudel was a drinker and miniature sculpting tools, Mr. Winkle sits in a diorama depicting a 19th-century atelier.
Winkle endures all the activity sitting quietly in pose. Regan puts one of his paws higher on the sculpture, and it stays there. He's so good-natured he doesn't mind being in costume and under lights for hours at a time.
He even gets into character, they insist. Winkle, we all feel compelled to fawn over him. Winkle's charm, it seems, never wears off, even on the people who work with him all the time. If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.