10. May 2012 · 1 comment · Categories: NonFiction, Tammy · Tags: , ,

Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend by Susan Orlean, read by Tammy, on 05/05/2012

Susan Orlean follows Rin Tin Tin’s journey from orphaned puppy to movie star and international icon and follows the lives of his ardent fans that kept the lineage alive and documented but shows the appeal of the character across generations of fans and puppies. So much so that some say Rin Tin Tin has never died because there is always a Rin Tin Tin or Rinny.

The story begins on a battlefield in France during World War I, when a young American soldier, Lee Duncan, discovered a newborn German shepherd in the ruins of a bombed-out dog kennel. Duncan brought Rinty home to California, where the dog’s athleticism and acting ability drew the attention of Warner Bros. Over the next ten years, Rinty starred in twenty-three blockbuster silent films that saved the studio from bankruptcy and made him the most famous dog in the world. At the height of his popularity, Rin Tin Tin was Hollywood’s number one box office star. During the decades that followed, Rinty and his descendants rose and fell with the times, making a tumultuous journey from silent films to talkies, from black-and-white to color, from radio programs to one of the most popular television shows of the baby boom era, The Adventures of Rin-Tin-Tin. The canine hero’s legacy was cemented by Duncan and a small group of others—including Bert Leonard, the producer of the TV series, and Daphne Hereford, the owner of the current Rin Tin Tin—who have dedicated their lives to making sure the dog’s legend will never die. A heartfelt story.

1 Comment

  1. Ann Elwood says:

    Actually, the story of Rin-Tin-Tin’s birth on a battlefield in September of 1919 very likely is myth. The first story that Duncan told (in October, 1919, to the Los Angeles Times) and that three officers of his squadron told goes like this: Duncan and his mates found an adult German shepherd male on the battlefield, and Rin-Tin-Tin was one of a litter born to him and a female German shepherd. That means he was born around the time of the Armistice. Evidence shows that story to be the true one. In a photograph taken after the 135th Aero Squadron arrived back in the United States in May, 1919, Duncan sits on the ground with Rin-Tin-Tin in his arms; next to him is another man with Nanette, Rin-Tin-Tin’s sister. Rin-Tin-Tin’s ears are floppy; Nanette’s stand straight up. German shepherd puppies’ ears start to stand up when they are five or six months old. (That’s also the age the puppies appear to be, not the nine months they would have been had they been born in September.)

    See my book, Rin-Tin-Tin: The Movie Star, available on Amazon.

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/1453866655