The Truth About Dogs

Not Cats and Dogs. Just Dogs.

You may have to cock your head sideways — like a movie dog — to make out this image.


1) The silent dog whistle was invented for use in silent dog movies.

2) Despite attaining movie stardom at a young age (4), Rinty longed for the recognition that would come with a successful stage career, but his performance as Torvald in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House was not appreciated by audiences, who could not accept their hero is such a different role, and critics inevitably dubbed the production, “A Doghouse.”

3) The canine star took frequent career advice from William Wyler, a fellow Alsatian. In return, Rinty taught Wyler how to roll in feces to confuse pursuers, a trick to which the filmmaker credited much of his Hollywood success.

4) At the height of his success, Rinty received 20,000 fan letters a week, including many proposals of marriage. Demands for locks of his hair were so numerous, he spent 1929 bald, and had to perform in a dog costume, the only actor to do so prior to Maximilian Schell’s Oscar-winning turn in JUDGEMENT AT NUREMBERG.

5) Despite his great success, Rinty never won the Academy Award himself. It was rumoured that he had objected to the statuette’s design as “species-ist”, saying that he wouldn’t accept a humanoid prize, and that the Academy had refused to cast a gilt dog to honour Rin Tin Tin.

6) Despite working for rival studios, Rin Tin Tin and Universal’s Silver Streak (King of the Dog Stars) were good friends in private, and often sniffed each others’ anuses.

7) Rinty’s ability to perform breathtaking stunts was envied by other stars such as Douglas Fairbanks, who often tried to emulate the athletic pooch. But when Fairbanks included a scene in THE GAUCHO where he opens a door with his teeth, fans were unimpressed. The star remembered their response in a 1934 radio interview: “They couldn’t see why I didn’t just use my hands.”

8) When Rinty left his pawprints in cement outside Grauman’s Theater, he was unable to sign his name like other stars, not because he lacked opposable thumbs as Warners publicists claimed at the time, but because he secretly suffered from the canine learning disability, dogslexia.

9) When sound came in, Rinty’s career faltered, as his bark was considered too high-pitched, and he had a slight French accent.

10) Rin Tin Tin had a son, Ron Tin Tin, who became a dogsploitation star in the 70s, denouncing the patronizing “Owd Bob” characterisations that made his father’s name.

21 Responses to “The Truth About Dogs”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by dcairns, Poop Anonymous, Davey Hill, Top10 DogInfo, Katrina Britt and others. Katrina Britt said: The Truth About Dogs « shadowplay: It was rumoured that he had objected to the statuette's design as “species-ist”… […]

  2. Christopher Says:

    LOL= everything….speaking of queers..didn’t Rinty play Homo in the 1928 The Man Who Laughs?

  3. According to the IMDb, Homo was played by Zimbo, in his only movie role.

    That’s a superb film, a shame the dog’s name provokes unavoidable laughter today. “Get your mind out of the gutter!” snarled one gay friend to his partner throughout a recent screening, or so I’m told.

  4. Though I saw the film at the Castro in SF, and the name drew nary a titter. The character is not only Homo, but “Homo the wolf,” while Zimbo was an obvious German Shepherd and said to be straight.

  5. Wow, SF audiences are obviously more mature than… me.

  6. Christopher Says:


  7. very nice–I’m just glad to learn that this canine had his principles well in hand (or jaw, I suppose)… non-human performers have been slighted by the Academy long enough… the Wyler friendship is my favourite factoid–it’s a damned shame Rinty didn’t live long enough to star in his director pal’s breakout film (DOGSWORTH)

    I’d like to see more of these truth sessions on Shadowplay… apart from I, Toto, I have no idea where to look for this information

  8. Oh excellent! Well, there’s Me, Cheeta, also.

    Was vaguely thinking about having weekly fact sessions, but maybe I should just do it whenever inspiration strikes.

    I guess Rinty could have appeared in The Shakedown, A Hound Divided, The Good Furry or Counsellor-At-Paw. But he missed Dog End, Furry Girl, The Beast Years of Our Lives, The Desperate Hounds and The Alsatian of LB Jones.

  9. To continue in this vein, A Big Hound For The Little Lady, The Beagle Whispers, Beslobbered, Die, Die, My Dachshund!, Operation Mad Dog, The Beast With Four Fangs, Shih Tzu’s Travels, and the foreign Jour De Chien.

  10. Christopher Says:

    Rin Tin Tin played the role of Satan the dog in 3 more classics…Satan Met a Lady,The Sorrows of Satan…and theres the time he went undercover in drag in the spy favorite, Madam Satan….and theres the later marital comedy..I married a Bitch.

  11. Christopher,
    I Didn’t Want To Go There, but you came up with a better one than I’d thought of.

  12. Also: Soderbergh’s The Good German (Shepherd) and DeNiro’s The Good (German) Shepherd.

  13. Now how did I do that? I meant to write The Basset Whispers. Didn’t even notice I wrote Beagle until now.

  14. Basset is better, yes. Although I might go for Out of the Basset.

    You could have had The Beagle Has Landed or Beagle-y Blonde.

  15. Yes. I think it was because the annoying dog next door is a beagle. It’s not the dog’s fault – beagles have a hair-trigger when it comes to barking at something, and do so long after unfamiliar people/animals pass. From my experience with them, It’s What They Do.

  16. Also, must not forget The Lone Woof series.

  17. Christopher Says:

    starring Rin Tin Tin and Angela Basset

  18. And Doglas Fairbarks and Hattie McSpaniel.

  19. Not to mention one of my favorite Italian films, LA TERRIER TREMA.

  20. Terrier of the Tongs, The Devil and Spaniel Webster, Dalmatian Alley.

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