Well, how much did you actually know about the most famous fido in pictures?

Did you know that there were multiple versions of Rin Tin Tin? Mel Gussow in his biography of Rin Tin Tin mentor, Darryl Zanuck, observed:

Actually there were about five or six Rin Tin Tins at one time.  One for long shots, one for close ups, one to play the gentle parts, one to fight.  Another could jump and do terrific stunts. Another had marvelous eyes.

But the initial canine, pictured yesterday and today (above), set the template.  Onscreen he could do anything, enthused Zanuck, then a Warner Bros. exec who went on to head up Twentieth Century Fox. The dark coated German shepherd, originally known as “Rinty,” made his movie debut in 1923, and within three years was considered the biggest box office attraction worldwide.

In her 2011 tome, Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, author Susan Orlean notes that when Rinty passed away — on Aug. 10, 1932 — the nation was saddened at the news: death bulletins interrupted regular radio programming, and an hour-long memorial was broadcast nationwide.

One version of Rin Tin Tin’s demise had the canine expiring in the arms of Jean Harlow. Author Orlean says his passing was just like every other Hollywood death; much legend surrounding it.

Ok, now to the answers.  As usual, to review the questions, just scroll down to the blog below.  Here we go:

1) Answer:  We could make the case that both a) and b) options are correct. But we lean to the former. As discussed above, there were several “versions” of Rin Tin Tin, although the original “Rinty” always appears in some fashion in his movies.

2) Answer: British director Michael Winner’s Won Ton Ton: The Dog Who Saved Hollywood.  The 1976 movie is worth a look just for the boatload of classic stars who make appearances: including Dennis Morgan, Virginia Mayo, Yvonne DeCarlo, Rory Calhoun, Ricardo Montalban, Jackie Coogan, Broderick Crawford, Joan Blondell and Dorothy Lamour.

3) Answer:  d) W.C. Fields, who is said to have originated the wisdom that actors should never work with children or animals.

4) Answer:  a) True. Rin Tin Tin was a star, and entitled to his perks on and off the set.

5) Answer:  Rin Tin Tin’s radio program was known as b) “The Wonder Dog.”


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