Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Joy of Reading ~ Rin Tin Tin

...from Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend by Susan Orlean

The Adventures of Tin-Tin-Tin was broadcast for the first time on October 15, 1954.  The debue episode, “Meet Rin-Tin-Tin,” was the story of how the “Fighting Blue Devils” of the 101st Cavalry came to be stewards of Rusty and Rinty—or, as Sergeant O’Hara puts it, “How we found them two little orphans.”  …The show was an instant success by every measure.  It had one of the fastest ratings climbs in television history and from its start was ABC’s second-highest rated show overall, trailing only the Walt Disney show.  Nine million of the 30 million televisions in the United States tuned to The Adventures of Rin-Tin-Tin, several million more than were tuned to Lassie, which had premiered on CBS a month earlier.  It was also a critical success.  “Crammed with action, gun-play, and chase scenes of pre-musical-cowpoke Westerns,” wrote a critic in TV Guide.  “It makes fine viewing for kids and nostalgic viewing for grown-ups.”  Even The New Yorker paid its respects, running a “Talk of the Town” interview with the “proud, tall, long, four-year-old, hundred-pound, gray-and-white great-grandson of the original Rin Tin Tin.”  At the end of the piece, which was mostly an interview with Eva Duncan, the writer, Philip Hamburger, noted that after dinner at the Stork Club, where he turned up his nose at the roast beef, Rin Tin Tin “drank milk out of a champagne glass” and “pushed a molting goose called Susie down Broadway in a baby carriage.”  …The show was broadcasting in seventy other countries besides the United States, including Canada, France, Lebanon, Kenya, Pakistan, Nicaragua, Cuba, Thailand, Germany, Bermuda, Brazil, Italy, New Zealand, Surinam, and Japan.  Just as in earlier decades, Rin Tin Tin was everywhere.  He was a single point connecting people all over the world, from all different cultures and circumstances, all of them watching as the camera angled up to the crest of a hill where a big dog stood at alert, a depthless silhouette against a western sky in a placeless place somewhere in the timeless history of America.


Les said...

I have never seen the show, but I got the book for Rod to read. I wonder if I'll enjoy it in spite of my ignorance of the program.

Marcia said...

I fondly remember watching Rin Tin Tin (and Lassie, too!), Les, and this book was about so much more than just the TV show. Makes me wonder what else I never knew about my childhood heroes, be they four- or two-legged.