We hope you’ll support us. The real Togo spent a few weeks at his new home before he jumped through the glass of a shut window and ran several miles back to Leonhard's kennel. “Togo” is the untold true story set in the winter of 1925 that takes you across the treacherous terrain of the Alaskan tundra for an exhilarating and uplifting adventure that will test the strength, courage and determination of one man, Leonhard Seppala, and his lead sled dog, Togo. Togo is a feisty sled dog who becomes part of a team that was called on to make the epic run across the frozen arctic to deliver the life saving diphtheria serum to the residents of Nome, Alaska in 1925. The story told by Bolto's grandfather to his mischievous puppies happened in 1925 in Alaska. Diphtheria can attack healthy tissues in the respiratory system. Branco J. Marin-April 20, 2020. Thank you. I always love stories where dogs are the stars, but this one is especially inspirational. When a deadly epidemic strikes […] It was from Universal, not Disney. Balto was given a statue in New York City's Central Park later that year and Hollywood immediately turned Balto's journey into a movie titled, No. Find more newsletters on our. Help fund our award-winning journalism with a contribution today. The 1995 movie Balto immortalized it for a generation: the eponymous dog rallied the team that brought the lifesaving serum through the Alaskan wilds, heroically saving the city’s children. Ivanoff had just left Shaktoolik with the serum. ... Togo tells the opposing story to Disney's 1995 film Balto. (A vaccine was later developed that has virtually eliminated the disease.) He died in 1929, and his preserved body is on view at the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Headquarters in Wasilla, Alaska. The true story behind Togo reveals that the temperature was approximately −30 °F with gale force winds making it feel like −85 °F. This is the true story that Togo is based on. His journey through white-out storms and twice across the unforgiving Norton Sound was by far the most perilous leg of the run. Togo was dark brown with cream, black and grey markings. When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we may earn a small commission. The darkness and a blizzard also made it impossible for Leonhard Seppala to see where he was going. He’d been born a smaller-than-average puppy in 1913 but quickly distinguished himself as a sled dog, running 75 miles his first time in a harness. One of my favorite childhood movies was the animated dog movie Balto, the story about an outcast wolfdog who leads a sled dog team carrying an antitoxin across the vicious Alaskan wilderness toward Nome to save a small town from death. He immediately began the trek back across Norton Sound without pausing to rest.The conditions on the return trip were even worse. The town’s single doctor and four nurses watched helplessly as a three-year-old boy died, soon followed by a seven-year-old girl. And in the city of Nome, the children got sick. Togo (1913 – December 5, 1929) was the lead sled dog of Leonhard Seppala and his dog sled team in the 1925 serum run to Nome across central and northern Alaska. Outside does not accept money for editorial gear reviews. It was only in the previous February that the first airmail flight in Alaska took place. Read more about our policy. While only black and white photos exist of Togo when he was alive, Leonhard Seppala had him custom mounted after his death at age 16. Dead tissue then builds up in the throat or nose, forming a thick, gray coating dubbed a "pseudomembrane". Read about the extraordinary true story of Togo, the sled dog who, against all odds, helped save his town from an epidemic in 1925. Together, they embark on an exhilarating and uplifting adventure across the treacherous terrain of the Alaskan tundra to help transport an antitoxin serum to a small town, and it is a journey that will test his strength, courage and determination. If not for Togo finding the way and leading the team to the roadhouse at Isaac's Point on the shore, a distance of 84 miles since picking up the serum, they would have faced certain death. ReddIt. Early on, it was believed that the individual attention led to his rowdiness and mischievous behavior. The victory is depicted as a flashback in the movie. This—and we cannot stress this enough—actually happened. When a deadly epidemic strikes the town of Nome, Alaska and the only cure is more than 600 miles away, the town looks to … The movie is as much an epic of man versus nature -- … Yes. Subscribe to our newsletters to stay up-to-date on the latest outdoor news. To a large degree, yes. The city, located approximately 150 miles south of the Arctic Circle, had a population of just under 1,000. You'll warm up to 'Togo,' the true story of a heroic sled dog. Despite covering the most distance of any lead dogs on the run, over some of the most dangerous parts of the trail, his role was left out of contemporary news of the event at the time, in favor of the last lead dog in the relay, Balto. That talent served Togo well on the serum run: at one point, the intrepid pup led the team across 40 miles of Bering Sea ice in the face of an oncoming storm. Togo. Togo is a 2019 American drama adventure film directed by Ericson Core and produced by Walt Disney Pictures.The film centers on Leonhard Seppala and his titular sled dog in the 1925 serum run to Nome to transport diphtheria antitoxin serum through harsh conditions during an epidemic of diphtheria.. The next day a seven-year-old girl was diagnosed and Welch tried to give her expired antitoxin (all that was on hand) in hopes that it would work, but she died several hours later. Summary: Togo is the untold true story set in the winter of 1925 that takes you across the treacherous terrain of the Alaskan tundra for an exhilarating and uplifting adventure that will test the strength, courage and determination of one man, Leonhard Seppala, and his lead sled dog, Togo. He said goodbye to Togo and gave the dog to fellow sled dog musher, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. To deliver the antitoxin, more than 20 mushers and 100 dogs carried the medicine from a train line near Fairbanks (where temperatures hovered around minus 50 degrees), along the Yukon River, over a frozen bay, and finally along the Bering Sea coast. While none of the mushers lost their lives, several of them succumbed to frostbite, including Charlie Olson and Gunnar Kaasen, who completed the final two legs of the journey. The dog is known for being at the center of the story surrounding the … Looking for something else? In that year, a very difficult cold winter stood out. Nome’s medical team put out a call for help—and found that the nearest supply of serum was in a storehouse outside Anchorage. Check out our entire suite of free newsletters here. Subscribe to our What You Missed newsletter for the top headlines from the outdoor world, in your inbox six days a week. But a different dog, Togo, ran more than double the distance of any other dog on the team and led it through some of the riskiest spots. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. This brave Husky dog is credited with delivering a serum against the deadly disease that in 1925 threatened to destroy the city of Nome in Alaska. In one dramatic scene, Togo has reached shore, but the sled with the medicine has gotten stuck on floating ice on the other side of a frigid channel of water. No single dog deserves all the credit for saving Nome. PG. His beloved Togo, a husky named for a Japanese admiral, was in his typical lead position. The true story behind Togo confirms that as a result of his relatively small size, illness, and bad behavior as a young puppy, Leonhard Seppala decided that Togo was not sled dog material and gave him away to be a house pet when he was six months old. Did the serum run to Nome need a reboot? In researching the. Pinterest. When Leonhard Seppala and his lead sled dog Togo began the relay to transport diphtheria antitoxin to Nome, Togo was 12 years old, which is practically ancient for a sled dog. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. Togo wasn't meant to be a sled dog. The nearest stores of medicine were hundreds of miles away, across the state’s snowy interior. Seppala was a Norwegian breeder and racer of Siberian huskies from the Chukchi Inuit stock of Siberia. But Togo is determined, and when his trainer, Leonhard Seppala, gives him a chance, he soon becomes one of the fastest sled dogs in history! By the time the diphtheria outbreak struck in 1925, Togo was 12 years old and Seppala 47, both seemingly past their primes. The vaccine could be delivered only by dog ​​teams, … Young children were especially vulnerable to it. Norwegian immigrant Leonhard Seppala (Willem Dafoe) raises sled dogs but he's perpetually annoyed by the persistence of one pesky pup the man considers ill-equipped for sledding because of his small size. Within weeks, Togo had had enough of domestic life. Seppala also won the All Alaska Sweepstakes in 1916 and 1917, before the race was canceled until 1983. In a feat of athleticism and frankly un-doglike ingenuity, Togo grabs the lead rope in his mouth and pulls the sled ashore. Togo led Seppala’s team in races and excursions long and short, and dog and man became inseparable. We explain why the Togo true story has a sadder ending than the Disney+ movie. Togo tells his story, as well as that of the Norwegian musher at the reins, Leonhard Seppala (played by Willem Dafoe ). Set against the backdrop of 1925's life-saving anti-diphtheria serum run to the town of Nome, Alaska, Togo stars Willem Dafoe as real-life dog sled … There is no denying that Balto is still a good guy, but Togo has a … Now, the film tells the true story of Togo’s bravery, and just how he played a key role in delivering the drug to the city suffering from the deadly outbreak of Diphtheria. The Amazing True Story of Togo & Balto When you want some family friendly inspiration, watch The Great Alaskan Race , which is the amazing true store of Togo and Balto. In advanced cases, diphtheria can also cause the neck to swell, in part due to swollen lymph nodes, resulting in a condition nicknamed "bull neck" (visible below). Balto did lead the canine team over the final 55-mile stretch of the journey (he was still leading the pack when it arrived in the city itself). This story is far from the truth. Facebook. Seppala and his team again traversed the exposed open ice of Norton Sound, which was breaking up. WhatsApp. Seppala became interested in dog sledding during his first winter in Alaska when he became a sled dog driver for Lindeberg's company. Since 1925, Balto has earned universal acclaim, legions of fans, and a commemorative bronze statue in New York City’s Central Park. Togo tells his story, as well as that of the Norwegian musher at the reins, Leonhard Seppala (played by Willem Dafoe ). He was tapped to anchor the serum relay team. Yes. Togo is a true hero who makes his dog breed very famous. His career took off when he won the Sweepstakes the following year, beating experienced musher Scotty Allan by two hours. The only planes they had were water-cooled aircraft from World War I, which didn't perform well in cold weather. She too was at risk of being stricken with diphtheria. He broke through a window and ran back to Seppala’s sledding kennels, a scene that occurs early in the movie. To inspire active participation in the world outside through award-winning coverage of the sports, people, places, adventure, discoveries, health and fitness, gear and apparel, trends and events that make up an active lifestyle. Like in the film, Seppala almost missed musher Henry Ivanoff, who had been in Shaktoolik in case Seppala didn't arrive. After he reached his adult weight of only about 48 pounds, the real Togo had a brown, black, and gray coat that made him look constantly dirty. Directed by Ericson Core. He was too feisty and independent to make a good team member, let alone a leader. The True Story Behind Disney’s New Doggo Movie Togo. Leonhard Seppala and his sled dog team led by Togo spent three days traveling 170 miles from Nome to Shaktoolik to pick up the diphtheria serum on January 31, 1925. Desperate, he sent radiotelegrams to the other major towns in Alaska and one to the U.S. Public Health Service in Washington, D.C., pleading for help. Yes. Togo tells the remarkable true story of Leonhard Seppala and his unlikely relationship with a hardheaded yet brave sled dog named Togo. The True Story Behind Togo. Still, Togo was arguably the team’s most impressive canine in sheer distance—he ran more than 350 miles total, more than any dog in the pack—as well as heroics. Leonhard Seppala and his sled dog team led by Togo traveled 340 miles roundtrip to pick up the serum and start bringing it back, eventually handing it off to Charlie Olson's team. During the serum run, he was not a … Unlike the movie, Leonhard Seppala eventually decided that he wanted Togo to live out the remainder of his life in comfort. But that week, record-setting cold weather and gale-force winds swept across Alaska, grounding the only rickety planes in the area. Several years earlier, a flu epidemic had killed off half of Nome’s indigenous population. Think again. Togo, which stars Willem Dafoe, promises to chart the life of the historically overlooked pup who made the crucial delivery of medicine possible. Over the years, Togo became known across Alaska for his tenacity, strength, endurance, and intelligence as Seppala’s prized lead dog. The serum run was Togo’s last long-distance feat. as Cathy wrote, Togo was the true hero who ran over 250 miles where as Balto did the last leg of 50. It was also the longest by roughly 200 miles. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Togo - A Capsule History. During this time, Seppala himself won the All-Alaska Sweepstakes in 1915, 1916, and 1917. But Togo, a new movie that hits the Disney+ platform on December 20, corrects the historical record in favor of an underdog. Yes. The polar night also meant that there were limited hours of daylight to fly. The real Togo spent a few weeks at his new home before he jumped through the glass of a shut window and ran several miles back to Leonhard's kennel. In the winter of 1924-1925, a diphtheria epidemic was threatening the town of Nome, located on the southern Seward Peninsula on the northwestern coast of Alaska. Born: Estimated to be 1913, according to many reliable quotes, including from Leonhard Seppala himself, which place his age at 12 years in 1925, the year of the … A relay of 20 sled dog teams then traveled a distance of 674 miles from Nenana to Nome. “He was the best dog [owner Leonhard Seppala] had at navigating sea ice, and would often run well ahead of the team on a long lead in order to pick out the safest and easiest route across Norton Sound or other parts of the Bering Sea,” the Salisburys write. Seppala had immigrated to Alaska from Norway when his friend Jafet Lindeberg convinced him to come work for the mining company he started in Nome. The diphtheria serum was first transported by train from Anchorage northward to Nenana, Alaska. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Welch had ordered more diphtheria antitoxin from the health commissioner in Juneau, but the port closed for the winter before the shipment arrived. According to Gay and Laney Salisbury’s The Cruelest Mile, a 2003 history of the serum run, Togo was a living legend among Alaskan dogsledders, “a natural-born lead dog.” Although Togo was 12 years old in January 1925, he was still fast and strong. With Willem Dafoe, Julianne Nicholson, Christopher Heyerdahl, Richard Dormer. By that time, he had already been a lead sled dog for seven years. History vs. Hollywood visited the headquarters in 2013 and captured the photo of Togo displayed below. Correction: This can lead to death from asphyxiation. Diphtheria was called the “strangling angel of children,” because it releases a toxin that shuts down its victim’s windpipe. However, with the fate of Nome in the balance, locals knew the agi… Enter our story’s hero: Togo, who was already a champion racer by 1925 but whose running days were largely behind him. our entire suite of free newsletters here. A new Disney movie starring Willem Dafoe promises to chart the life of a historically overlooked pup who made the lifesaving delivery of medicine possible. It was the only way. It was there they rested and slept for six hours before continuing their journey at 2 a.m., heading into another bad storm. Here's the true story behind all the elements of Togo – before, during, and after the 1925 serum run – and how much of the Disney+ movie was fictionalized. Despite doing most of the work, the credit instead largely went to the Gunnar Kaasen-controlled sled dog Balto, who completed the last, 55-mile stretch of the Serum Run through a blizzard. They worried that the fatality rate for those infected would be 100 percent. Early on I knew this movie was dramatized and some of its components were not true to history. For all the true dogsledding aficionados out there, we broke down the real history of Togo and Balto’s now legendary run to Nome. Yes. Flying was relatively new at the time and winter flight was still largely untested. The saga began when a doctor diagnosed the first case of diphtheria, a deadly illness, in a young boy in Nome in January 1925. The Togo true story reveals that as a young puppy Togo required excessive care from Leonhard Seppala's wife Constance. A new family-friendly movie finally gets a legendary dogsled run right. Leonhard Seppala, already a dog racing legend, set out to retrieve the serum from Nenana. This membrane (visible below over a patient's tonsils) covers healthy tissues in the throat, nose, tonsils and voice box, causing a croup-like cough, as well as severe difficulty breathing and swallowing. Many of the 150 dogs who took part in the 1925 Serum Run to Nome lost their lives, mainly due to exposure. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google, Thanks for signing up! Outside regrets the error. Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube. Symptoms usually begin two to five days after exposure and include a fever, sore throat and weakness. Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. Togo As A Puppy As depicted in Disney+'s Togo , the titular pooch had a very sickly youth and required the excessive care and attention of Seppala's wife Constance ( portrayed by Julianne Nicholson ). It was −50 °F in Fairbanks. Twitter. In the winter of 1925, a deadly illness struck the city of Nome, Alaska. After four children took ill and died, the town's only doctor, Curtis Welch, eventually diagnosed diphtheria in three-year-old Billy Barnett, who died just two weeks after the onset of symptoms. The people of Nome realized that sled dogs would have to carry the 20-pound package of medicine to their city through the storm. This movie is based off of a true story, but … His telegram is pictured below. Nome is clear across the state from Fairbanks, a flight distance of approximately 521 miles. (Jan 2, 2020) Due to an editing error, this story has been updated to correct the distributor of the 1995 Balto movie. Here’s another moment in the flim that seems too good to be true but is: Because of Togo’s diminutive size as a puppy, his owner once gave him away to a family to keep as a house pet. They encountered each other while Ivanoff was untangling his team on a trail outside of town, at which time Seppala took possession of the serum. Copyright © 2021 HistoryvsHollywood.com, CTF Media, Willem Dafoe's character states in the movie that Togo was named after the underdog Japanese admiral and naval hero Tōgō Heihachirō. His mounted skin is currently on display at the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Headquarters museum in Wasilla, Alaska. Named after Heihachiro Togo, a Japanese Admiral who fought in the war between Russia and Japan (1904-05), Togo was the lead sled dog of Leonhard Seppala. The movie is as much an epic of man versus nature -- … Kaasen, who was in charge of Balto, suffered frostbite to his fingers after strong winds blew his sled over. The true story behind Togo confirms that as a result of his relatively small size, illness, and bad behavior as a young puppy, Leonhard Seppala decided that Togo was not sled dog material and gave him away to be a house pet when he was six months old. Who is the real Togo? In 1914, he competed in the All Alaska Sweepstakes, a sled dog race. From Disney+, “Togo” is the untold true story set in the winter of 1925 that takes you across the treacherous terrain of the Alaskan tundra for an exhilarating and uplifting adventure that will test the strength, courage and determination of one man, Leonhard Seppala, and his lead sled dog, Togo. We all want to believe that movies "based on a true story" are real, especially when the movie is a feel-good story. In researching the Togo true story, we learned that in real life Leonhard and his wife Constance had a daughter named Sigrid, who was eight years old at the time of the 1925 Serum Run to Nome. The bundle containing the serum was knocked out and he dug with his bare hands in the snow to find it. Above: Togo, immediately after completion of the 1925 Nome Serum Run. The True Story Behind Disney's 'Togo' Think Balto saved Nome, Alaska, on his own? Trains could bring it to within around 700 miles of Nome, and the team hoped bush planes could take it from there. In the winter of 1925, Nome had a supply of antitoxin, the serum then used to treat diphtheria, but it had all expired. Temperatures across the Interior were at 20-year lows. “Togo” is the untold true story set in the winter of 1925 of champion dogsled trainer Leonhard Seppala and his lead sled dog, Togo. Seppala was part of … Impressed, Leonhard decided to keep him. Named after Heihachiro Togo, a Japanese Admiral who fought in the war between Russia and Japan (1904-5) as well as other conflicts. But you’ve heard this story. His skeleton is in the Peabody Museum of Natural History's collection at Yale University. By. As it turns out, Balto was just one of more than 100 pups who made that lifesaving dogsled relay to Nome possible. This seems to be exaggerated a bit for the film. The story of Togo, the sled dog who led the 1925 serum run yet was considered by most to be too small and weak to lead such an intense race. We came to Togo skeptical, but now we’re sold: the original Balto film left out the journey’s most interesting character. Viewers of Togo might assume its most cinematic moments are the product of Hollywood’s creative license, but they would be wrong. Leonhard Seppala's experience and fame as a champion dog musher are why he was chosen to drive a sled dog team in the Serum Run. Togo was the true champion of the Serum Run. Diphtheria is a bacterial infection caused by exposure to the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae, often by way of direct contact or through droplets in the air (sneezing or coughing). This book is a first rate historical account about Togo, an unsung hero of that race.