A Dog in Need, An Austrian Prince, and a $1 Bet for Africa!

Karl Heinz Boehm and Romy Schneider “Sissi”

“… And suddenly the theater prince threw his golden cardboard crown to the floor with momentum, he rolled up his sleeves, and shouted to the audience in a powerful voice:
Let’s go! Now in real life!

Well, it wasn’t quite like that, but a little bit! Especially inside, in the heart of the man without a crown.

As so often before, he stood on a stage. That evening in a battle between celebrity guests of a new TV show called Wetten Dass (Bet that) in Germany. It was approaching the end of the show, a betting queen had already been crowned, and Show Master Frank Elsner asked the audience and the people at home in front of the TV screens for new bets.

Everything is allowed, whether it’s dancing on the tables or skating with dogs -all with lots of imagination!

(16 May 1981 The Bet that changed everything)

Bet accepted?

The actor Karlheinz Böhm next to him spoke up. A serious man in his early 50s, who somehow always wore a white gala uniform in the minds of his audience, which he wore as the husband of the beautiful Empress Sissi. Back then, in the unforgettable Austrian movie “Sissi” with his colleague Romy Schneider. It never mattered that he had filmed in Hollywood or with Rainer Werner Fassbinder. He would be our Prince forever. Right then and there, sitting next to the moderator, Karlheinz Böhm said something amazing. He had an idea for a bet that he absolutely wanted to make that evening.

And then he talked about the Sahel, of starving children, men, and women, of incomprehensible suffering, of drought and war. He quoted the director Federico Fellini, who had said: “Charity is the most beautiful quality of man, but very difficult to put into practice.” Karlheinz Böhm looked serious, and then he placed his bet:

He bet that not even a third of all viewers of this show will make a $1 donation to the President of their country the next day. He personally would bring the donations to Africa at his own expense and ensure that no child would have to starve to death in the Sahel in the coming months.

The bet is valid…

This bet brought in 1.7 million German Marks in donations (1 Million US Dollars in the 80s) and he won his bet! He had been right, not even one in three of the approximately 7 million viewers in Switzerland, Austria, or Germany had donated, nevertheless, the life of the actor changed completely. He gave up acting and learned to think very proactively for people, and he learned how to deal wisely with government officials, which was also necessary. His public bet alone was a huge diplomatic faux pas. Not a single office of the three Presidents had been informed in advance, which was actually brilliant -everyone was forced to move.

Karlheinz Böhm soon sailed around diplomatic cliffs and on 13 November 1981, half a year after his television appearance, he founded the Ethiopian Foundation “Menschen für Menschen” (People for People).

What a man? What a story?

Hundreds of schools, hospitals, and villages have since then been founded. How enthusiastically this man was welcomed in Africa is to this day shown by the many children –girls and boys– who are baptized in Ethiopia and are still called “Karl” or “Karli” today!

Why am I writing this today?

Because I love dogs and there is this dog I know, who belongs to a young couple I know. The dog needs an expensive surgery, and while they have come up with over $2,000 it’s still not enough. They are thinking about moving to an apartment and giving up the house, but even if, it won’t be fast enough.

I wish I would be rich and famous!

I wish I could be a famous celebrity for one hour, and bet that my fans will not donate $1 to help this dog. Sadly, I am not famous and, as you all know, also far from rich.

Why can’t I win the lottery? I have so many ideas in my head about how I could help and do some good. (Buy a ticket girl!)

As you all know I am a dog lover.

This is Mugzy

Surgery is scheduled for March 1st, if they have the money.

The surgery is expected to cost $4,600 -done by a specialist. The young couple put all their savings in and they are now only $1,095 short to make this small miracle happen for a very special dog. I know how they feel. I just lost a very special dog.

Mugzy has a GoFundMePage >>>HERE<<<

Have a dollar and want to help? That would be great! Have more than a dollar. Even greater! Have nothing, that’s fine too. I know you still care.

Perhaps later you can read the story about the African charity called “Menschen für Menschen” (People for people) it is truly remarkable to see that one person can make a difference.

My first crush – my hero forever. RIP Karl! Your work continues!

It’s funny how my brain works, connecting things that aren’t related. Dragging the German-Austrian actor to the U.S. on my blog. I always wanted to write about him, today was the day!

8 thoughts on “A Dog in Need, An Austrian Prince, and a $1 Bet for Africa!

  1. Thank you so much for introducing me to the actor Karlheinz Böhm and his amazing bet! It is interesting that no matter the minimal engagement from his wide audience, his own life was enlarged, as he took a change in his own destiny to help others. And your tie-in to this precious pup is a wonderful connection. I love “Go Fund Me” opportunities when I can help! Small donations can grow to be answers to prayers for others. Bless dear Mugzy!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so sweet and caring/ Mugzy will be alright. His surgery is tomorrow and we are all anxious. He is very special dog. I am so glad you got know Karl Heinz Boehm. What he did was (is) remarkable and it surely has changed my outlook. So many say we can’t make a different, but some proof us wrong and that’s good.


    • Thank you, Anne. I hope so. They are a very sweet couple and they went ‘all in’ on their dog. Mugzy is special and the same mixed breed our dog was. He is only 10, so there is lots of time left for him. If health for humans and animals would be more affordable in the U.S. that would be great.


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