The Late Movies: Rin-Tin-Tin


Today is the birthday of the original Rin-Tin-Tin, who was found on a World War I battlefield when he was just 5 days old. Brought to America by a young soldier, Rin-Tin-Tin went on to become a Hollywood star, an American hero, and the progenitor of a line of celebrity German Shepherds. To celebrate the birthday of this legendary canine, we've rounded up video clips of his story, his films, and his offspring.

His Story

On CBS News

A CBS News segment on Rin-Tin-Tin aired on September 25, 2011. You can read the transcript and view photos of Rin-Tin-Tin on the CBS News site.

The Biography

Susan Orlean, a writer for The New Yorker, authored a Rin-Tin-Tin biography entitled Rin Tin Tin: The Life and The Legend.

The Major Motion Picture

Finding Rin Tin Tin, a movie that tells the story of the original Rin-Tin-Tin, was directed by Danny Lerner and released in 2007.

Honored by the American Humane Association

In October 2011, Rin-Tin-Tin received the 2011 American Humane Association Legacy Award. The current Rin Tin Tin (12th in line from the original) is a spokesdog for the American Humane Association.

His Films

While the original Rin-Tin-Tin starred in almost 20 movies, not much of that video footage has made it to the internet. We managed to dig up two exemplary clips, though.

Hills of Kentucky (1927)

In this silent film, the hero dog defends a crippled boy from a pack of wild wolves.

The Lightning Warrior (1931)

This 12-part movie serial by Mascot Pictures was the original Rinty's last film role. The titular Lightning Warrior is Rinty himself.

His Legacy

The Law of the Wild (1934)

Another 12-part serial from Mascot Pictures, The Law of the Wild starred Rin Tin Tin Jr., son of the original, as a police dog who's friends with Rex ("King of the Wild Horses"), a wild stallion. The playlist embedded here includes all 12 episodes.

The Adventures of Rex and Rinty (1935)

Another Mascot serial starring Rin Tin Tin Jr. and his buddy Rex the King of Wild Horses; in this one, Rex escapes his trainers and returns to his homeland, where he's worshiped as a God-Horse. The playlist embedded here includes the first five chapters of the serial, with each chapter split into two parts.

The Return of Rin Tin Tin (1947)

This clip is a brief promo for The Return of Rin Tin Tin, which starred Rin Tin Tin III. In the movie, the dog escapes a cruel kennel master and bonds with a young war orphan.

The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin (1954-1959)

Rin Tin Tin IV, a much paler dog than the original Rinty, starred in this 166-episode ABC television show in the late 1950s. Rin Tin Tin is the companion to an orphaned boy being raised on a US Cavalry post in the West. The series was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Best Television Sound Editing in 1955. This clip includes the opening credits, a promo for a contest, and the closing credits.