Thursday, February 13, 2014

From Primetime to Daytime: The Adventures of Rin-Tin-Tin (1954)

In Hollywood, there are two iconic dogs: Lassie and Rin-Tin-Tin.

Rin-Tin-Tin, or, Rinty, to use the nickname given to him on his 1954-9 ABC series, began his career in silent films in the 20's, so this was a descendant who appeared in the 50's. The Adventures of Rin-Tin-Tin originally aired on Friday nights, then had reruns air in the afternoon. CBS picked up rerun rights to put the series in their Saturday morning package in 1962. In 1976, the series was brought back for a syndicated run with the episodes now slightly colorized. That's how I first came across the show, airing as an after-school entry on what is now the local NBC affiliate, WNYT (which was an ABC affiliate when they picked up the colorized version).

Unlike Lassie, this series was set in the Old West, with Rinty and his owner, a young boy named Rusty (Lee Aaker) on an Army base, where Rusty had to be the youngest soldier in history. Cast member Abel Fernandez later moved on to The Untouchables, for which he's better known.

Following is a sample episode:

I only caught bits and pieces, and don't recall seeing a full episode, hence no rating.


magicdog said...

I remember watching the syndicated version - I think it was on WNYW Ch. 5 then.

IIRC Rusty was an orphan who was adopted by the calvary, which explained his presence.

In the 70s on Wonderama, Rinty made a guest appearance with his trainer!

It wasn't until some years later than I learned Rin Tin Tin was in silent and predated Lassie as America's favorite canine hero!

hobbyfan said...

Yeah, this was, like, the 3rd generation Rinty we saw on TV. The 4th generation, I think, was the one who did the talk show circuit, Wonderama included.