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Sunday, June 21, 1998 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Cameron Deals With A ''Lucky Dog'' In Disney Movie

Tribune Media Services

A certain story has been dogging Kirk Cameron for a while.

The young actor finally tells it by starring in the new Disney Channel movie "You Lucky Dog," at 7 p.m. Saturday.

He plays a psychic who specializes in treating pooches, including Lucky, whose millionaire owner dies and leaves his fortune to the dog. The will also states the psychic must reside with Lucky in the mansion that's been left behind, giving the deceased man's relatives an extra reason to be resentful.

More is involved, though: A strange phenomenon causes Cameron's character to mimic everything Lucky does. Some of those actions wear much better on a canine than on a human, so the relatives get all they need to contest the will. Cameron's wife, Chelsea Noble, and James Avery ("Fresh Prince of Bel Air," "Sparks") also get involved.

"I've had this in my hands for the last couple of years," Cameron says, "and it finally came together, so we filmed it in March. I had read it when it wasn't attached to any studio or network and brought it to The Disney Channel. It's a place where I feel really comfortable, since I've always enjoyed doing things for families, particularly with a comedic flair."

Since he has two canines, Cameron says, "It was very easy to know what it was going to be like to work on this film. They actually served as good research subjects, since I sort of turn into a dog in the movie. I watched my dogs for hours on end, to see how they walked and barked and dug for things in the dirt. It's a unique challenge to try to pick up those mannerisms."

Acting opposite animals can be its own challenge, but Cameron maintains his four-legged co-star - whose name is Bogus - "was very professional. I know that might sound silly to say about a dog, but he was very well trained. He would bark on cue or look at the correct person. I was amazed at all they got him to do."

Since his wife also is in "You Lucky Dog," Cameron admits there were some mildly embarrassing moments on the set when he had to get down on his hands and knees. Still, he says, "This is exactly what I've always been hoping to do, to find a part that would let me be ridiculously silly. Chelsea knows that, so she was very excited for me to be able to do this.

"Maybe there will be a time soon when the networks want to make more movies like `You Lucky Dog,' " Cameron adds. "I'm hoping that's the case, because kids really should have the opportunity to see this kind of picture. When I was growing up, watching a Disney movie on TV was just great fun. Whether it's `Mary Poppins' or one of the films Dean Jones did for the studio (such as `The Love Bug'), it takes you away to a fantasy land that I think is good for kids."

Even without "You Lucky Dog," Cameron has been a Disney Channel staple lately, via twice-nightly repeats of his series "Growing Pains" (5:30 and 6 p.m.).

"There's a whole new wave of kids seeing that show for the first time," he adds, acknowledging that the presence of "Titanic" star Leonardo DiCaprio in later episodes hasn't hurt. "You never know what's around the corner for someone," Cameron says. "I hope things keep going well for him."

Copyright (c) 1998 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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