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Rin Tin Tin

Rin Tin Tin (often hyphenated as Rin-Tin-Tin, September 10, 1918 – August 10, 1932) was a male German Shepherd that was an international star in motion pictures. He was rescued from a World War I battlefield by an American soldier, Lee Duncan, who nicknamed him "Rinty". Duncan trained Rin Tin Tin and obtained silent film work for the dog. Rin Tin Tin was an immediate box-office success and went on to appear in 27 Hollywood films, gaining worldwide fame. Along with the earlier canine film star Strongheart, Rin Tin Tin was responsible for greatly increasing the popularity of German Shepherd dogs as family pets. The immense profitability of his films contributed to the success of Warner Bros. studios, and helped advance the career of Darryl F. Zanuck.

After Rin Tin Tin died in 1932, the name was given to several related German Shepherd dogs featured in fictional stories on film, radio, and television. Rin Tin Tin, Jr. appeared in some serialized films, but was not as talented as his father. Rin Tin Tin III, said to be Rin Tin Tin's grandson, but probably only distantly related, helped promote the military use of dogs during World War II. Rin Tin Tin III also appeared in a film with child actor Robert Blake in 1947.

Duncan groomed Rin Tin Tin IV for the 1950s television series The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, but the dog performed poorly in a screen test and was replaced in the TV show by trainer Frank Barnes's dogs, primarily one named Flame, Jr., called JR, with the public led to believe otherwise. Instead of shooting episodes, Rin Tin Tin IV stayed at home in Riverside. The TV show Rin Tin Tin was nominated for a PATSY Award in 1958 and in 1959, but did not win.

After Duncan died in 1960, the screen property of Rin Tin Tin passed to TV producer Herbert B. "Bert" Leonard, who worked on further adaptations such as the 1988–1993 Canadian-made TV show Katts and Dog which was called Rin Tin Tin: K-9 Cop in the US and Rintintin Junior in France. After Leonard died in 2006, Leonard's lawyer James Tierney made the 2007 film Finding Rin Tin Tin, an American–Bulgarian production based on Duncan's discovery of the dog in France. Meanwhile, a Rin Tin Tin memorabilia collection was being amassed by Texas resident Jannettia Propps Brodsgaard, who had purchased several direct descendant dogs from Duncan beginning with Rinty Tin Tin Brodsgaard in 1957. Brodsgaard bred the dogs to keep the bloodline. Brodsgaard's granddaughter, Daphne Hereford, continued to build on the tradition and bloodline of Rin Tin Tin from 1988 to 2011; she was the first to trademark the name Rin Tin Tin in 1993 (Duncan had never done so) and she bought the domain names and to establish a website. Hereford also opened a short-lived Rin Tin Tin museum in Latexo, Texas. Hereford passed the tradition to her daughter, Dorothy Yanchak, in 2011. The current Rin Tin Tin XII dog owned by Yanchak takes part in public events to represent the Rin Tin Tin legacy.

Year Title Role Notes
1922 Man from Hell's River, TheThe Man from Hell's River Himself
1922 My Dad Himself
1923 Where the North Begins Wolf Dog, TheThe Wolf Dog
1923 Shadows of the North King
1924 Find Your Man Buddy
1924 Lighthouse by the Sea, TheThe Lighthouse by the Sea Himself
1925 Tracked in the Snow Country Himself
1925 Below the Line Slasher, TheThe Slasher
1925 Clash of the Wolves, TheThe Clash of the Wolves Lobo
1926 Night Cry, TheThe Night Cry Himself
1926 Hero of the Big Snows, AA Hero of the Big Snows Himself
1926 While London Sleeps Rinty
1927 Hills of Kentucky Grey Ghost, TheThe Grey Ghost
1927 Tracked by the Police Rinty
1927 Jaws of Steel Rinty
1927 Dog of the Regiment, AA Dog of the Regiment Rinty
1928 Race for Life, AA Race for Life Rinty
1928 Rinty of the Desert Rinty
1928 Land of the Silver Fox Rinty
1929 Million Dollar Collar, TheThe Million Dollar Collar Rinty
1929 Frozen River Lobo
1929 Show of Shows, TheThe Show of Shows Himself
1929 Tiger Rose Scotty
1930 Lone Defender, TheThe Lone Defender Rinty Serial
1930 On the Border Rinty
1930 Man Hunter, TheThe Man Hunter Rinty
1930 Rough Waters Rinty
1931 Lightning Warrior, TheThe Lightning Warrior Rinty Serial
Year Title Role Notes
1932 Pride of the Legion
1933 Wolf Dog, TheThe Wolf Dog Serial
1934 Law of the Wild, TheThe Law of the Wild Serial
1935 Test, TheThe Test
1935 Adventures of Rex and Rinty, TheThe Adventures of Rex and Rinty Serial
1935 Skull and Crown
1936 Tough Guy Duke
1936 Vengeance of Rannah Rannah
1936 Caryl of the Mountains
1937 Silver Trail, TheThe Silver Trail
1939 Hollywood Cavalcade Rin Tin Tin
1939 Death Goes North King
1939 Fangs of the Wild Rinty
1939 Law of the Wolf
Date Title Role Notes
1947 The Return of Rin Tin Tin

  • English, James W. (1950). The Rin Tin Tin Story. Dodd, Mead & Co. 
  • Rothel, David (1980). "Man's Best Friends". The Great Show Business Animals. A.S. Barnes. ISBN . 


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