In 1961, Soviet viewers saw for the first time the short film "The Watchdog Dog and the Unusual Cross", in which the main characters were Coward, Goonies and Experienced, wonderfully played by Georgy Vitsin, Yuri Nikulin and Yevgeny Morgunov.
And the idea to shoot this film came to the director Leonid Gaidai during the vacation, which he spent in the Irkutsk region with his parents. The attic of the old parental home was littered with newspapers of yesteryear, and Gaidai often leafed through them. In one of the newspapers, he found satirist Stepan Oleinik's satirical article about how three poachers went fishing with dynamite, but they were stopped by a dog who boldly threw himself into the water and took out dynamite.
Returning to Moscow, Gaidai wrote the script and began casting. For the role of Coward, he did not hesitate to invite Georgy Vitsin, who had already starred in his film "The Groom from the Other World." But there were several candidates for the role of Goonies and Experienced.
According to the director's idea, the legendary Mikhail Zharov was supposed to play Byvaly, but the master of Soviet cinema Ivan Pyryev proposed the candidacy of Evgeny Morgunov, a talented actor, but little known in the country. It was Morgunov who was ultimately approved for this role.
The goof was supposed to be Sergei Filippov, the famous lecturer from Ryazanov's painting "Carnival Night", arguing on the topic: "Is there life on Mars?" But, Sergei Nikolaevich went on a long tour, therefore, he could not participate in the filming. Then Vitsin remembered Yuri Nikulin, a clown from the circus on Tsvetnoy Boulevard, who looked very much like Filippov in shape. As soon as he saw Nikulin, Gaidai decided that his hero should look like this.
The shooting of a short ten-minute film took place in the Istrinsky district of the Moscow region, and after the release of the picture, not only the audience of the Soviet Union fell in love with the picture. In 1961, "Dog Watchdog" received the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival as the best short film.
By the way, the adventures of three small crooks were not limited to one picture. Coward, Goonies and Experienced later appeared in the movies more than once. For example, in such films as "Moonshiners", "Operation" Y "and other adventures of Shurik, " Prisoner of the Caucasus ", " Seven old men and one girl "and even in the cartoon" The Bremen Town Musicians ".
The heroes of Vitsin, Nikulin and Morgunov became, indeed, people's favorites. Monuments to Coward, Goonies and Experienced have been erected in many cities of the former Soviet Union.