Media Life: World’s tallest canine lives on in pages of new book

Bill Champlin making Newcastle appearance; BBQ&Blues may rise again
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Gibson is gone but readers of the 2010 volume of “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” will see a nice tribute to the late, great world’s tallest dog. The Nevada County resident was a popular visitor to Auburn over the past several years at numerous pooch related events and died Aug. 7 of bone cancer. The Harlequin Great Dane was 43 inches tall at the shoulders and his stature in the dog world rose to superstar level in 2004 when the Guinness Book of World Records people crowned him with the “world’s tallest” tag. The “Believe It or Not” book published by Scholastic came out this month. That was too late to change any of the text. So there Gibson is on Page 122 in all his hulking glory, porepaws on owner Sandy Hall’s shoulders. And in the middle of all the local debate over vicious dogs, lets remember that one of the biggest was also one of the gentlest. Gibson regularly visited children’s hospitals and seniors homes alike as a therapy dog. Gibson is gone but the pooches good works will live on – both locally and in the pages of a new book. BOOKING THE BEST Maybe it should be Constable Jack’s motto. “You just never know who’s going to show up at Constable Jack’s.” The Newcastle night spot has a penchant for booking some legendary musicians and this fall has its fair share. Fans of both the Sons of Champlin and Chicago should mark Nov. 15 for a trek to Newcastle. Bill Champlin will be appearing that night. An incredible singer and songwriter, Champlin was onboard with the Bay Area’s Sons of Champlin for seven albums in the 1960s and 1970s and then made a smooth transition to high-note vocalist with Chicago, adding his distinctive voice to hits like “Hard Habit to Break” and “Stay the Night” during the band’s resurgence in the 1980s. Constable Jack’s co-owner Tim Looper also is bringing in Grammy Award-winning guitarist and ex-Wings player Laurence Juber on Oct. 22. Last February, Juber traveled from his L.A. home to dip deep into his own catalog of originals and finger-pick his way through songs as diverse as Eric Clapton’s “Layla” and Harold Arlen’s “Over the Rainbow.” Celtic rockers Tempest will be back for a show Nov. 14 and Frank Hannon, Tesla’s guitarist, will be at Constable Jack’s on Oct. 10. FEST MAY BE BACK And while the SPCA BBQ & Blues Benefest is no more, word is there’s a move afoot to come back next year with a new fundraiser bringing in top blues entertainment to Auburn’s Gold Country Fairground with a news sponsor and a new charity. Placer SPCA bowed out this year after 18 years that brought big names like Canned Heat, Edgar Winter and Koko Taylor to town. Stay tuned for new developments on what could turn out to be a resurrection of a much-loved summer music fest. Media Life’s Gus Thomson can be reached at or 530-852-0232.