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Friday, September 16, 2011

The Resurrection of Rin Tin Tin

One of our favorite writers, Susan Orlean, staff writer for The New Yorker and author of The Orchid Thief, has just come out with a new book about that wonder dog of yore, Rin Tin Tin. What we love about Orlean, in addition to her gorgeous prose, is her almost magical ability to see a full blown story in the smallest of incidents, the most innocent and innocuous of everyday events. And true to the creative nonfiction genre, she sets the scene with her in-depth reporting and research, and takes the reader with her. And so it is with her latest book: Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend.", a biography of that heroic German shepherd.

Although we haven't read the book yet, we did read an excerpt that appeared in a recent New Yorker, that whetted our appetite for more. Read that article here: archives.newyorker.com/?i=2011-08-29#folio=034, along with the accompanying video.

What we find so fascinating is that our culture, past and present, can't seem to get enough of these super-hero canines (don't forget Lassie, Benjie, et.al) that we love to love and admire. And often their back stories, along with the humans in their lives, are equally as fascinating. Rin Tin Tin was found as an abandoned puppy on a WWI French battlefield by an American soldier who was an orphan himself. How's that for an opener?

You might also enjoy reading this interview of Susan Orlean in yesterday's New York Times that reveals even more about the RinTin Tin back story that Orlean found so fascinating.

Here's to our canine hero's, both real and Hollywood! We'd love to hear your thoughts...


Of Pit Bulls and Patience said...

That promises to be a great read! Rin Tin Tin is a family favorite over here, so it's great to see him back in the spotlight.

meowmeowmans said...

This sounds like a great book! We'll add it to our "want to read" list. :)

Anonymous said...

When I grow up I wanna be Rin Tin Tin! Ya think they'd cast a Malamute?

Bocci said...

Me too, Rumpydog! or a terrier mix?

Anonymous said...

Rin Tin Tin is our hero too, Dad is looking forward to reading the book !

Linda said...

Better late than never. Lee Duncan and the puppy he found in France in 1918 that went on to become THE famous Rin Tin Tin are part of American history. Orlean has done a fantastic job with her patient, in-depth research.

The Duncan line of Rin Tin Tin German Shepherds promulgated the popularity of the GSD breed. In an effort to ensure that "there will always be a Rin Tin Tin" as stated by Lee, himself, he took great pains to see that Rin Tin Tin's progeny were distributed to several families.

Unfortunately after his death, the 'characters' mentioned by Orlean began to surface and, while Rin Tin Tin lines remain, due to some clever trademark maneuvering, only one can be called Rin Tin Tin.

THE Rin Tin Tin will never die. Lee and Rin Tin Tin will forever remain part of American history and no one will ever be able to duplicate the joy and they brought to so very many.

Thank you Ms. Orlean for bringing Rin Tin Tin and Lee Duncan to the forefront again.

Bocci said...

What a great comment-we do indeed owe Ms. Orlean a debt of gratitude.

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