Modern Wind Machine, Warner Bros. Studio Lot, 1922
By the time they formally incorporated in April of '23, money was tight, but plenty. It was fortunate timing then that a recently signed player was getting ready to step in front of the camera for his first feature. The words "Hit" and "Star" are almost to weak to describe the public response to their new Matinee Idol; a dashing, daring, handsome bloke called Rin Tin Tin.
Toward the end of WWI in war torn France, an American GI, Lee Duncan rescued the 5 day old foundling pup from a bombed out kennel.
Zanuck, Jack Warner, Duncan & Rinty
For the next 8 years Rinty starred in 28 Warner Bros. pictures and quite frankly saved the Warner bacon until "The Jazz Singer" came along.
The work was so consuming for both the star and his owner that at one point, Duncan's wife actually sued for alienation of affection naming Rin Tin Tin as corespondent. The case was thrown out.
Not just another pretty face, Rinty could act!
Registering alert, but pensive concern!
Registering loyal sorrow!
At his height, Rin Tin Tin received 10,000 fan letters and $6000 salary each week. Warners provided 18 trained stand-ins to reduce any stress on their dog star, while a private chef prepared daily lunches of tenderloin steak, consumed to the strains of live classical music to ease digestion.
Have you ever seen such lovely penmanship?
When the sound revolution came Rinty was voice tested and it was determined that he would be suitable for 'The Talkers'.
Ultimately time and age took their toll. The star made his last picture in 1931 and retired to his Beverly Hills manse. One day while out in the yard he received a visit from the neighbor across the street. They hit it off immediately, developing a warm fondness for one another. In the pre-air conditioning days of open doors and windows, he would often wander over to her house and let himself in for a visit.
Just prior to his 14th birthday, Rin Tin Tin spent his final days happy and peaceful. The inevetible came one day when the neighbor-friend looked out her window and saw Rinty on his front lawn not looking good at all. She ran across the street and alerted Duncan to call the doctor and then went and sat on the lawn with her friend. It was there, cradled in her lap, hearing her soothing voice that Rin Tin Tin slipped away. His neighbor was Jean Harlow.