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The opening scene of the movie describes it best: "Once upon a time there lived in Denmark a great storyteller named Hans Christian Andersen. This is not the story of his life, but a fairy tale about the great spinner of fairy tales."
"How You Gonna Keep 'Em Down On The Farm, Now That They've Seen RIN-TEE?"* Rin Tin Tin's duty in Old West was a S-t-r-e-t-c-h, to say the least!
The Scene: Board Room, Screen Gems TV Unit; Subsidiary of Columbia Pictures Corporation. A paunchy, Balding and Bespectacled 50ish man is presiding over a strategy meeting. The "Suits" have to make a decision about what to do with a property that they have an option on using in Movies or TV.
Bald Head: "Well, what are we gonna do with this, this,...Watzis name, Schultz?
Schultz: "Uh, the Dog, sir? It's Rin-Tin-Tin."
Bald Head: "Yeah, that German Shepherd from World War I, the Army Dog! Our option runs out and that'd be $8,000,000.oo down the drain if we don't do something with 'em! What we gonna do?"
Board Man 1: "That's the dog from France in World War II, right?"
Board Man 2: "No, genius, it was in the First Big War, 1918. The mutt is supposed to have saved Warner Brothers from going belly up!"
Bald Head: "Yeah, he was a sort of canine War Bride or somethin' like that! But we can't put him in a World War or anything like that! People are sick of War! We just finished that Korean "Police Action!" C'mon you guys! Think of somethin'! THINK!"
BOARD MAN 3: "Hell, why don't we put 'em in the Cavalry or somethin' like that?"
BALD HEAD: "The Cavalry!!! Are you nuts!?!?"
...............And thus if not exactly a Legend, a Series is born!
The Series THE ADVENTURES OF RIN TIN TIN successfully combined several popular themes into a highly successful Kiddie Western. We took a Dog, a Kid (an orphan, yet) and had the good Cavalrymen at Fort Apache's "B" Company adopt him and give him their Unit name as his Family or Surname.
They added a good sampling of veteran Hollywood Film Actors to give the thing a certain dependability. Lt. Rip Masters (Former "B" Movie Leading Man and a capable dramatic Actor name of James Brown), Sgt. Biff O'Hara (Joe Sawyer, always cast as the Sergeant, always), Jimmy Lyden (The former Henry Aldrich of the Movies) and a cast of seemingly thousands of guest starring actors; a veritable Who's Who of supporting players available then.
This Fort Apache seemed to have everything a boy could want. Heroes to hero worship, towns folk to rescue, horses to ride. They even had all kinds of Injuns! And not all the Apaches were bad. They had the renegades led by Geronimo and the friendly Apaches headed up by Cochise. Who said that all Hollywood Indians were bad? It certainly wasn't here!
THE ADVENTURES OF RIN TIN TIN provided us with a Western adventure all our own. And thanks to our folks, Clement J. & Bertha F.Ryan (nee Fuerst), we learned of the Origin of the FIRST RINTY and his coming to America from the Western Front in World War I France.
That's the sort of Mom and Dad we had!
NOTE: * From the old World War I Song (as if they're are any new World War I songs)!
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