Saturday, September 14, 2013

Happy Gotcha Day Rin Tin Tin

Apologies for the repeat if you have read this previously but I am reprinting a post about my favorite historical hound, Rin Tin Tin.  Today is his Gotcha Day.

Today in Canine History-The Discovery of a Superstar

In 1918, somewhere around this time (the exact date is disputed), a litter of five homeless German Shepherd pups, and their scrawny mother, where discovered by US army Corporal Duncan Lee and his battalion in a bombed out dog kennel in Lorraine, France.  Lee took one of the pups and named him Rin Tin Tin  after a puppet popular with french children.  Less then two months later WWI came to an end and Duncan took Rin Tin Tin, or Rinty as he called him, back home to the Los Angeles, California.

Lee spent a great deal of time teaching the dog tricks and Rinty was apparently a natural at performing, impressing dog show attendees with his tricks.  Film making and cameras where the new thing and Lee was convinced that his dog could become a star, and he was right!  In 1922 Rinty got his big break playing a wolf in The Man From Hell's River.  He followed that with a starring role in Where the North Begins  in which he plays a wolf-dog faced with the either staying with the wild wolves who raised him or becoming the companion of man.  The movie was so successful that is credited with saving Warner Bros. from bankruptcy.   Numerous other roles followed and Rin Tin Tin became the first real canine movie superstar.

Rin Tin Tin lived to the good, relatively, old age of 14 and as befits any film legend there are several rumors about his death.  One popular story held that he died in the arms of Jean Harlow.  In reality he passed away in his kennel.  His death was announced with eulogies on radio stations and newspaper throughout the country.

Hollywood loves a sequel and Rin Tin Tin spawned a succession of accomplished dogs. Rin Tin Tin Jr appeared in several movies in the 1930s and Rin Tin Tin Jr. the third helped  Duncan Lee train dogs for the first US Military canine corps.  In the 1950s Rin Tin Tin the fourth starred in a series of successful films  such as, The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin.  Today Rin Tin Tin the 12th travels around the country attending events.   On September 7, 2011  he rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange when the American Humane Association honored the 300 canines who helped in the recovery efforts at ground zero in September of 2001. 

Susan Orlean's biography, Rin Tin Tin-The Life and The Legend is a wonderful read for anyone wishing to know about this amazing canine.

Here is a clip from the Original Rin Tin Tin's last film


  1. It's so nice to hear about a happy ending for a war dog. He got a good home and became a star too!
    Dip Bridge and Elliot x

  2. Thank you for sharing this! <3 Rin Tin Tin :)

  3. I never knew much about Rin Tin Tin before reading this. Thanks for sharing!

  4. SHE used to watch the television show as a child...

    Thanks for the story. Never knew much about the background.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

  5. Rin Tin Tin is incredible and how great he saved Warner Bros from bankruptcy. Happy Gotcha day!

  6. I loved Susan Orlean's book... Rinty's story is fascinating and I recommend it as a great read

  7. We use to watch Rin Tin Tin on telly :) xxooxx

    Mollie and Alfie

  8. Rin Tin Tin was awesome. He lived a long accomplished life!