The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin
|The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin|
From left: Lee Aaker, Rin-Tin-Tin, James Brown and Rand Brooks in 1956.
|Directed by||Robert G. Walker
Rin Tin Tin (various dogs)
|Country of origin||United States|
|Producer(s)||Herbert B. Leonard|
|Production company(s)||Screen Gems|
|Distributor||Sony Pictures Television|
|Original release||October 15, 1954 – May 8, 1959|
|Related shows||Boots and Saddles|
The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin is an American children's television program. Beginning in October 1954 until May 1959, 166 episodes originally aired on ABC television network. It starred child actor Lee Aaker as Rusty, a boy orphaned in an Indian raid, who was being raised by the soldiers at a US Cavalry post known as Fort Apache. He and his German shepherd dog, Rin Tin Tin, helped the soldiers to establish order in the American West. Texas-born actor James Brown appeared as Lieutenant Ripley "Rip" Masters. Co-stars included veteran actor Joe Sawyer and actor Rand Brooks from Gone with the Wind fame.
About Rin Tin Tin
The character of Rin Tin Tin had appeared in movies and radio serials since 1922. One dog who appeared briefly in the TV series was fourth in the bloodline of the original Rin Tin Tin silent film canine actor. The main screen dog for the TV show was trainer Frank Barnes' Flame, Jr., called JR (pronounced Jay Are) by Barnes. Other dogs appearing as Rin Tin Tin included Barnes' dog Blaze and Lee Duncan's dog, Hey You. Hey You descended from Rin Tin Tin, but was marred in appearance by an injury to an eye received in his youth. Hey You served as a stunt dog in fight scenes.
The episodes were filmed on a low budget, limiting the film stock to black-and-white. Outdoor action was shot largely at Corriganville Movie Ranch northwest of Los Angeles in Simi Valley, where the production made ample use of the facility's Fort Apache. Additional action sequences were shot on the Iverson Movie Ranch in Chatsworth, Calif., known for its huge sandstone boulders and widely recognized as the most heavily filmed outdoor shooting location in the history of Hollywood.
The show's troupe of 12 character actors were often required to play multiple parts in the same episode, sometimes to the point of one actor fighting himself, wearing a cavalry uniform in one shot and an Apache outfit in another. The eponymous dog, Rin Tin Tin IV, lived about 90 miles away at Duncan's ranch in Riverside, California, receiving visitors who were eager to see the famous dog.
The show ran for five seasons on ABC on Friday evenings from October 1954 to May 1959. ABC reran the series on late afternoons from September 1959 to September 1961. During its first season (1954-1955), The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin finished at #23 in the Nielsen ratings, making it the second-highest rated series on ABC at the time behind Disneyland.
Reruns ran on Saturdays on CBS from September 1962 until September 1964. A new package of reruns was shown in 1976, and continued into the mid-1980s. The original black and white prints were tinted light brown with new opening and closing segments filmed in color in Utah.
The show currently airs in syndication on Antenna TV, with remastered episodes produced by Cerulean Digital Color and Animation, with lines redubbed for some scenes using actors other than those from the original series cast, with a different generic theme song.
- Lee Aaker - Corporal Rusty "B-Company"
- James Brown - Lt. Ripley 'Rip' Masters
- Rin Tin Tin IV/Flame, Jr. - Rin Tin Tin
- Joe Sawyer - Sgt. Biff O'Hara
- Rand Brooks - Corporal Randy Boone
- William Forrest - Major Swanson
- Hal Hopper - Cpl. Clark
- Harry Strang - Sheriff
- Dean Fredericks - Komawi
- Mildred von Hollen - Mrs. Barrington
- George Keymas - Black Billy
- Ralph Moody - Silas Gunn
- Tom McKee - Capt. Davis
- William Fawcett - Captain Longey
- Morris Ankrum - Chief Red Eagle
- Lane Bradford - Barrows
- Ernest Sarracino - Hamid Bey
- Jack Littlefield - Karl
- Dehl Berti - Katawa
- Bill Hale - Cole Hogarth
- Steven Ritch - Lone Hawk
- Lee Roberts - Aaron Depew
- Larry Chance - Apache Jack
- Charles Stevens - Geronimo
- Gordon Richards - Hubert Twombly
- Pierre Watkin - The Vet
- Tommy Farrell - Carpenter
- Harry Hickox - John Carter
- Andy Clyde - Homer Tubbs
- Ed Hinton - Seth Ramsey
- Patrick Whyte - McKenzie
- Stanley Andrews - Ed Whitmore
- Abel Fernandez - O-ye-tza
- Louis Lettieri - Chief Pokiwah
- Jan Arvan - Chief Running Horse
- William Henry - Bill Anderson
Rin Tin Tin guest stars included veteran western actors Roscoe Ates and Dean Fredericks (later Steve Canyon) in six episodes. Others were Ron Hagerthy and Ewing Mitchell, both later semi-regulars on the Sky King series, and Ed Hinton.
John M. Pickard, star of the series Boots and Saddles (syndicated, 1957–1958), appeared three times on Rin Tin Tin. Lee Van Cleef and Harry Dean Stanton were other guest stars. Don Devlin appeared in the episodes "The Epidemic" (1958) and "The Ming Vase" (1959). Rodolfo Hoyos, Jr., was cast as Don Alfonso Garcia in "The Bandit Kingdom" (1955). Nan Leslie was cast in three 1956 episodes, "Rin Tin Tin and the Second Chance", "Wagon Train", and "Fort Adventure"; in the last two segments she played Joan Lambert.
Robert Fuller, prior to Laramie, appeared as Stan in the 1958 episode "The Epidemic". Harry Cheshire, formerly Judge Ben Wiley on Buffalo Bill, Jr., appeared as Silas Mason in "The Misfit Marshal" (1959).
Brad Johnson (1924–1981), known as deputy Lofty Craig on the syndicated Western series Annie Oakley, appeared twice on Rin Tin Tin, including the role of Tom Buckner in the episode "Rin Tin Tin and the Second Chance" (1956). Robert Knapp was cast in the role of Allen in the 1955 episode "The Guilty One".
William Fawcett played an elderly fearless marshal fighting the outlaw element in the 1955 episode, "Higgins Rides Again".
- Orlean, Susan (2011). Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend. New York City: Simon & Schuster. pp. 191–193. ISBN 978-1-4391-9013-5.
- Brooks, Tim & Marsh, Earle (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present (9th ed.). New York: Ballantine Books. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4.
- "TV Ratings: 1954-1955". ClassicTVHits.com. Retrieved August 29, 2015.
- Terrace, Vincent (2009). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2007 (Volume 1). Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-3305-6.
- "Rin Tin Tin and the Second Chance, June 1, 1956". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved January 10, 2010.
- "The Guilty One, March 25, 1955". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved April 28, 2013.
- "Rico Alaniz". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
- The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin at the Internet Movie Database
- The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin at TV.com
- Iverson Movie Ranch: History, vintage photos.