The popular radio show comes to life in this hit sitcom about a wise family man, Jim Anderson, his common-sense wife Margaret and their children Betty, Bud and Kathy. Whenever the kids need... See full summary »
Rin Tin Tin and Rusty were connected in three generations by character conflation
Has anyone out there figured out the connection of Rin Tin Tin, the TV series in the 1950s with the Rusty film series of a decade earlier? My hunch is this: The popular TV series which I faithfully watched from 1955-59 (itself spawned by the one year radio show in 1955), is a conflation of the popular Rin Tin Tin canine hero of the post-World War I era in books and movies with the Rusty movie series of eight films produced by Columbia Pictures 1945-1949. In the Rusty movies the German Shepherd is named Rusty and there are various young boys in the lead roles. In the TV series, the dog becomes again Rin Tin Tin and the boy lead becomes Rusty, played by Lee Aakers. Those folks old enough to have been fans in the 1930s and 1940s would have caught the connection at once. But those of us who were 1950s fans would have missed it entirely. Our Rusty for the years 1955-59 (and later in reruns) was a survivor of an Indian raid, who with his dog that he called "Rinty," as in the original books, was rescued by Cavalry to live in the confines and supportive community of Fort Apache. We came to think of characters like Sgt. Biff O'Hara and Lt. Rip Masters as part of our extended family. By the way, James Brown, who played Lt. Rip Masters, showed up again as a regular former policeman-turned J.R. Ewing informant and operative on the Dallas Series in the 1970s.
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