The subject of our post very likely had a dubious pedigree, but we tie in the subject of purebred dogs by writing that if it hadn’t been for Pinky Panky Poo, well heeled Pomeranians, Yorkshire Terriers, and Martha Stewart’s own Chow Chow, Ghenghis Khan, would likely never have been welcomed in the tea room at the famed Plaza Hotel.
By all accounts, Pinky Panky Poo was a beastly little dog, but he belonged to the celebrated stage actress, Mrs Patrick Campbell, for whom George Bernard Shaw wrote the part of Eliza, a role you might better remember having been played by Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady. The New York Dramatic Mirror once described the dog as having “bright, black, beady eyes; hair that in a less distinguished dog would be called weedy, and paws like overgrown spiders’ legs.” As horrid as her dog was said to have been, Campbell wasn’t much better, legendary as she was for making astonishingly inappropriate remarks (she once approached MGM executive Irving Thalberg at a party and asked, “Dear Mr. Thalberg, how is your lovely, lovely wife with the tiny, tiny eyes?” (he was married to Norma Shearer at the time). Another time, she said, “It doesn’t matter what you do in the bedroom as long as you don’t do it in the street and frighten the horses.”
Campbell took her dog everywhere. On one occasion, she tried smuggling the dog through United States customs by nestling him inside her cape. “Everything was going splendidly, ” she later said, “until my bosom barked.”
When Mrs. Campbell arrived in New York City for her second U.S. tour, she had made plans to stay at the then brand-new Plaza Hotel. But when her entourage arrived (along with 100 trunks and several servants in tow), they were shocked to learn that the hotel didn’t allow dogs.
Mindful that on her first American tour, Pinky Panky Poo had had prominent mention in almost every major newspaper article about the visiting actress, the Plaza Hotel’s managing director, Fred Sterry, instantly realized that rejecting Pinky Panky Poo would cause a public relations nightmare for the hotel. Sterry decided on the spot to allow small pets in the hotel. Campbell had to sign waiver making her responsible for the dog’s good conduct, but poor Pinky was relegated to baggage elevators or the quarters of maids. Still, on that day, every woman in Manhattan felt entitled to treat her own dog to a stay at the Plaza Hotel.
A quick solution had to be found for a touchy situation, and this is how a check room for dogs was established at the Plaza Hotel. According to The New York Times, the doggie check room was situated in the main corridor of the hotel, and “Sammy,” a young chap who worked in the Plaza’s livery was put in charge.Though Sammy was quite young, he was careful not to mistakenly swap dogs, and learned how to tell Bulldogs from Pomeranians.
Pinky Panky Poo died sometime around 1909 or 1910, reportedly after consuming some flea powder. In 1911, Campbell returned to NYC with another dog that the Brooklyn Daily Star reported was named Pinky Panky Poo Two. Later still, Campbell repeated her visit to NYC, this time with a Pekingese named Wung-Wung Wah-Wah Woosh-Woosh Wish-Wish Bang. Evidently, Woosh Woosh Wishwoosh had been left to Campbell in the will of a friend. Campbell described the dog as, “…pure Chinese. She has feathers on her toes and the most marvelous lingerie. There’s nobody like her in the world. She’s almost as nice as Pinky Panky Poo, my famous griffon.” Griffon? Perhaps an answer was finally revealed about Pinky Panky Poo’s ancestry.