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10 Facts About Rin Tin Tin

1. The first Rin Tin Tin was just a poor, abandoned mutt. An American soldier found him in a destroyed French dog kennel at the end of WWI, and took him home to L.A. When a Hollywood producer saw the pooch leap 12 feet into the air, he offered to make the dog a star.

2. Why “Rin Tin Tin”? During the war, French children gave U.S. soldiers little puppets for good luck. One of the most popular puppet characters was named Rintintin.

3. Soon after his rise to stardom, Rinty became pretty spoiled. At the height of his popularity, a private chef prepared a tenderloin steak lunch for the dog every day.

4. Following his lunch, a group of musicians played classical music to aid his digestion.

5. But maybe Rin deserved the star treatment. He received about 10,000 fan letters a week, and commanded a $6,000/wk salary. (Greta Garbo was making $7,000/wk for her films.)

6. The first Rin Tin Tin died in the arms of actress Jean Harlow in 1932. She lived across the street and allegedly came running when she heard that her favorite neighborhood dog was ill.

7. Rinty has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Lassie and Strongheart are the only other canines to share the honor. Somewhere, Toto is mad.

8. Rin Tin Tin’s son, Rinty II, also has a claim to fame. He was the first dog to fly on a commercial flight.

9. Rin Tin Tin III was considered an official soldier during WWII. He had his service number tattooed on his leg and helped to train more than 5,000 military dogs and handlers.

10. Want to own a little Rin Tin Tin yourself? A Texas kennel breeds Rinty’s progeny exclusively, but it will cost you. One pup goes for as much as $2,500.

Image Credit: © Bettmann/CORBIS

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February 25th, 2011

Stranger to the World


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