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Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend

by Susan Orlean

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I didn't know that RIn Tin Tin was a real dog that just happened to be an actor. I didn't know that Rinty was rescued from a WWI battlefield by the man who became his trainer, his advocate and his person, Lee Duncan. This is a many layered story, all revolving around the dog, the entity and the legend. The people who were passionate about the dog and his offspring as well as those who were interested in keeping the concept of the wonder dog alive are all in the story. Orlean does a great job researching all who came into contact with Rinty, whether it be as a lover of the shepherd breed, a fan of the character he played or those wanting to keep the idea alive and make their fortunes.

Good book. Recommended. ( )
  enemyanniemae | Feb 15, 2016 |
Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend by Susan Orlean

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ heart

Wow. I don't even know what to say about this book that would even begin to do it justice. I watched Rin Tin Tin, the TV show, as a kid (in re-run form of course, as I was born about 30 years too late to see the original). But I was unaware of the full history of the dog. He was more than just a character – he was a real dog whose legacy would live on well past the first Rin Tin Tin. And this book isn't just about the dog and his decedents, it's about the making and changing of movies and shows through a century, about the owner who loved him, the fans that adored him, life, love, and heroism. The author did an extraordinary amount of research and took nearly a decade to finish to book. She delves into so many aspects and the people that made the legend of Rin Tin Tin possible, from the owner, to trainers, to producers, fans, and many other people. She even delves into her own story and how she feels she connects to it all. I like how the author doesn't detach herself from the story but includes her narration and journey through it all. This book is definitely well written. If I could have just kept reading this book without pause, I would have. Very well done. If you ever grew up a fan of Rin Tin Tin or just love dogs in general, this is a great read. Recommended for many. ( )
  UberButter | Feb 9, 2016 |
If you are a dog lover, this book is for you! Fascinating tales of the dog called Rin Tin Tin, his descendants and the people around him.

I found this book well written with many interesting factoids on the dog and the world around him. For my tastes, I would have liked to know more about the day to day of Rin Tin Tin. Susan Orlean focused more on the people around Rin Tin Tin and the external impacts that affected the dog. She focused a lot on Lee Duncan, owner and trainer. Later on the book other characters like Herbert Leonard and Daphne Brodsgaard came into play. For about the first 3rd of the book the focus was on "Rinty" as he was called. But then the focus became more on on Rin Tin Tin's legacy.

Although interesting, I felt that the book didn't really center on the impact Rin Tin Tin had as much as the soap opera dealings after the original Rin Tin Tin died. The idea of "There will always be a Rin Tin Tin" was far greater than the accomplishments of the original Rin Tin Tin. This is why I thought the book was good, but not great. About mid book, the story became tedious with the legalities of copyright ownership, people being greedy over the legacy of the dog. In the end, as with all things, the legend of Rin Tin Tin faded from memory, leaving only this tome behind to remember him by. ( )
  DVerdecia | Jan 29, 2016 |
"There Will Always Be A Rin Tin Tin" (Lee Duncan)

From a pup who miraculously survived a French battlefield in 1918 to movie star and international icon.
I not only found the Rinti legacy (with ups and downs and legal squabbles)but a mini anthology of the inception of animal presence in movie and TV and some of the programs I watched as a child on our "first" TV.

There was talk of the tales of the 77th Bengal Lancers and Naked City and I almost could hear the Lassie's theme song...and see both Jeff and then Timmy.

Coincidentally, the day I finished the story, our 16 yr old pet dog died.
So......there was solace in stepping back into childhood.
---------
This book is for the animal lover and also has that pleasant review of movies (silent and talkies) and the beginnings of notable television. ( )
  pennsylady | Jan 26, 2016 |
Orlean's such a wonderfully solid nonfiction writer, and always a pleasure to read. This is a great story, and she brings in just the right elements of 20th- (and some 21st-) century cultural mores, a bit about what makes biographers tick, and a lot about the people drawn into the orbit of Rin Tin Tin—all of them (and there were many, over many generations). Good reading, and I know something more about American life than when I went in. ( )
  lisapeet | Apr 25, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
But by the end of this expertly told tale, [Orlean] may persuade even the most hardened skeptic that Rin Tin Tin belongs on Mount Rushmore with George Washington and Teddy Roosevelt, or at least somewhere nearby with John Wayne and Seabiscuit.
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Susan Orleanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dantes, MarlynCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Singer, NancyDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
For John and Austin, my people
and
For Molly, Cooper, and Ivy, my dogs
First words
He believed the dog was immortal.
Quotations
But 'Clash of the Wolves' made me understand why so many millions of people fell in love with Rin Tin Tin and were moved by the way he wordlessly embodied many of the questions and conflicts and challenges that come with being alive.
Rinty was named as a corespondent in the divorce, a role usually reserved for mistresses.
The Academy Awards were presented for the first time, and Rinty received the most votes for Best Actor.  But members of the Academy, anxious to establish the new awards as serious and important, decided that giving an Oscar to a dog did not serve that end, so the votes were recalculated, and the award was diverted to Emil Jannings, for his performances in both 'The Way of All Flesh' and 'The Last Command'.
In his way, Rin Tin Tin had come to represent something essentially American.  He wasn't born in the United States, and neither were his parents, but those facts only made him more quintessentially American: he was an immigrant in a country of immigrants.
He got his own salary, separate from Lee's salary as his trainer, and he earned more than most of his costars; in 'Lighthouse by the Sea', for instance, he was paid $1,000 per week, while the lead human actor, William Collier Jr., was paid only $150.
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Chronicles the rise of the iconic German shepherd character while sharing the stories of the real WWI dog and the canine performer in the 1950s television show, and explores Rin Tin Tin's relevance in the military and popular culture.

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