The Beethoven movie series started in 1992 when the Newton family (George played by Charles Gordin and Alice plaued by Bonnie Hunt) find a puppy in their home who had escaped from some thieves who had robbed a pet store. Even though George is against it he gives in to his wife and children. He is given the name “Beethoven” after the daughter (Emily played by Sarah Rose Karr) plays part of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony on the piano.
The family vet is involved in some unethical dog experimentation and is continually trying to convince the family to give him up under the guise that Saint Bernards are aggressive, even to the point of staging an “attack” in the Newton’s home. The vet tells that either he euthanizes Beethoven or he’ll press charges. Despite that Emily saw the vet attack Beethoven, George takes him to the vet to be euthanized when he realizes how much he cares for Beethoven.
During the movie, Beethoven is also very clumsy and gets into a lot of trouble (stealing food, jumping on tables, etc.) which tries George’s patience.
The movie spawned 5 sequels (Beethoven’s 2nd (1993), Beethoven’s 3rd (2000), Beethoven’s 4th (2001), Beethoven’s 5th (2003), and Beethoven’s Big Break (2008). they are also currently filming Beethoven Saves the Day (2011 / 2012 release).
Karl Lewis Miller, Carol Riggins, and Melinda Eichberg (uncredited) were the dog trainers on the set. Mike K Regan was for special dog effects and performed in a dog suit. There were also animatronics professionals on the set (Peter Abrahamson and A.J. Workman).