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This page contains video clips, if you cannot view them, download this FREE program to view them, it's safe and the videos will open automatically. Remember to click on the links within the page for the pictures too!

In the far north of Alaska, 140 miles south of arctic circle is the Alaskan town of Nome. In the 1920's Nome was and still is cut off from the rest of the world as there are no roads in or out. Then on the 26th of January, 1925 Nome was experiencing a harsh winter with deep snow drifts in the town. At this bad time, an Eskimo child living in a shack abandoned by minors contracted dipheria. Soon 4 children had died and in a few days, 18 were seriously ill. There was one doctor (Dr Welsh) in the town and no medicine for it as Dipheria had not been recorded in Alaska before and because of this, the people had no natural immunity to the disease. School children were warned of it as "a serious sickness that gives you a sore throat, high feaver and you can die from it". This was treated with high priority as 7 years before a flu epidemic had swept Alaska leaving 91 children orthaned in Nome. A distress call from Nome was sent out quickly (as in the movie) but the only way to get anti toxin was by rail but the line ended some 600 miles away! The sea was frozen and there was a huge blizzard over Alaska so flying was out of the question. Huskies were the only way.

Huskies had been used by the Eskimos since the stone age and had developed a reputation for a tough working animal. At this time they had been used to run the mail route of Alaska (ever seen "Iron Will"? The mail route is mentioned) which became the route for this race against time. A relay of 20 mushers was set up across Alaska from Nenana to Nome in a last attempt to get this vital medicine to the town. The first musher to pick up the box was "Wild Bill Shannon" (that is the coolest name I have ever seen!), and started following a long the US mail route, a total of 675 miles. At Nulato, he passed the box over to Leonhard Sappala. Leonhard Sappala was considered the very best musher in Alaska and had a huge kennel. He often ran the Alaskan sweep stakes and everyone knew his famous lead dog "Togo". Togo was the best and was hand picked at an early age for this job. Sapalla planned to take the medicine the final 319 miles to Nome, taking a dangerous short cut over norton bay. However he had to continually stop to allow his dogs to rest and in the end had to hand the medicine over to other volunteers. Togo was left lame after the run and was unable to race again. At Bluff on the 1st Feb, musher Charlie Olson passed the medicine on to Gunnar Kassen with his black and white lead dog, Balto. Balto was considered a scrub dog for slow transport teams and was never meant for any glory such as racing. However soon after they left, a blinding blizzard came down on the team with winds up to 50mph and temperatures dropping to minus 50 degrees. Kassen was unable to navigate and gave up hope of making it to the checkpoint on time. But Balto knew the trail and followed his instincts. Then suddenly Balto stopped. Kassen shouted, "Hike on Balto!" but he refused to continue. Kassen got off the sled and went round to see what was wrong but Balto had stopped before the team went onto a frozen lake, which would have spelled the end of the team and the hope of getting the medicine to Nome. Kassen noticed that one of Balto's paws was wet and knew if it froze he would never run again. He quickly unhitched Balto and rubbed powder snow onto his paw until it was dry. The team then continued its journey to Point Safety.

When they arrived, the next team was not ready. The musher was asleep and the dogs were not harnessed. Kassen decided it would be quicker to continue himself. It is at this point people say that Kassen didn't stop because he wanted the fame himself. However no one will really know now.

At 5.30am, on February 2nd, Balto and his team mates (the other dogs were called "Fox" and "Sye", "Billie" and "Tillie", "Old Moctoc" and "Alaska Slim") arrived in Nome. They had travelled 53 miles in 20 hours in some of the worst conditions ever recorded. The dogs were too tired to even bark but the medicine had been delivered in just 5 days, a record still unbroken today. As the team stopped on Front Street, the Medicine was pressed into the hands of Dr Kurtis Welsh. The children were saved ( CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO CLIPand THIS ONE TOO).

Balto instantly became a famous celebrity. News papers around the world had been following the relay very closely and came at a time where the world needed a new hero. This came as a shock to Leonhard Sappala who had pictured his lead dog "Togo" who had been left lame to be the one publicised. This was not the case and Balto's face appeared on newspapers and magazines around the world.

Balto's adventure didn't end where the movie does, him and the team started a tour round the States (CHECK OUT THE VIDEO) in this time making visits to dog shelters as a beneficial publicity act and doing acts of strength for the dogs until finally concluding in Central park of New York City, December 17th 1925, where the unveiling of F.G. Roth's bronze statue took place (CHECK OUT THE VIDEO). Soon after Balto and his whole team was bought by film producer Sol Lesser and shipped to LA(YEP ANOTHER VIDEO!). He became the subject for stage in theatres and stared in the silent film "Balto and the Race to Nome". This fame was short lived and the team was soon sold to an unknown Boniville agent. Balto went on tour for another year and a half making public appearances and being sold to various Dime shows.

The history then gets a little clouded until in 1927, George Kimbal, a fellow dog enthusiast on vacation from Cleveland, found Balto and the team in a side street theatre. The dogs were in a dark, damp room tied to the walls with chains. They would jump up and pants a lot and George Kimbal was so offended, he approached Sam Hueston and asked to buy the dogs. After much talk and negotiation, $2000 was agreed on, but the money had to be paid in just 2 weeks. George Kimbal returned to Cleveland to raise the money. The idea was to bring Balto to Cleveland and an add was put in the papers to have school children help raise the money. Everyone remembered Balto and children and adults a like brought their pennies and change to be put in a bowl, which was sent off to be added together.

In March, 1927 Balto and the team arrived to Cleveland with a massive parade and news paper coverage (this one too) in their honor. People cheered as the sled (with wheels) travelled down the streets. Balto was famous again, and was taken to city zoo to live the rest of his life there. Straight away 15,000 people came to see him on his first day and he continued his life happily. Balto had saved the children of Nome and now the children had saved Balto. Balto died in 1933 and his body was preserved and mounted in the Cleveland of Natural History where he is still viewable today. Balto remains a symbol of courage and bravery and is celebrated with the annual Iditarod Sled Dog race which follows the same course he and the others took.

Balto's statue in Central Park can also still be seen. The inscription reads "Dedicated to the indomitable spirit of the sled dogs that relayed anti toxin 600 miles over treacherous waters, through arctic blizzards, from Nanana to the relief of stricken Nome in the winter of 1925, - Endurance, Fidelity, Intelligence"

All Pictures (except for the statue one) and videos have been created by me, DON'T USE THEM FOR YOUR OWN SITE as I have put a lot of effort and time into making this resource

Balto is property of MCA and Universal studios. I do not claim any rights to Balto, nor do I say that he or any of the other characters are my own. I do however say that Fluke is totally original and my property ©Acanis2000-Forever. Do not use him with out my permission. All items on this page, unless otherwise stated all belong to me so don't use them on your own site without my permission.