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Canine Stars: From Rover to Cosmo

Posted May 04, 2011 to photo album "Canine Stars: From Rover to Cosmo"

Starting in 1905 when Rover rescued a baby, dogs have been cinema’s unsung heroes. We look at some of the finest.

Cosmo (Arthur)
Blair (Rover)
Etzel von Oeringen (Strongheart)
Rin Tin Tin (Various Roles)
Skippy (Asta)
Pal (Lassie)
Pal (Petey)
Terry (Toto)
Spike (Old Yeller)
Buddy/Air Bud
Moose (Eddie)
Spike (Old Yeller)

Spike (Old Yeller)

Spike, who would immortalize the part of Old Yeller, was truly a rags-to-riches story. A big, goofy black-mouthed cur was spotted by a friend of animal trainer Frank Weatherwax at the Van Nuys Animal Shelter. Feeling that the dog had a look he could work with, Weatherwax paid three dollars to rescue Spike.  Shortly afterwards Frank’s wife Connie read the story Old Yeller by Fred Gibson in the Saturday Evening Post, which made her think of the big goofy yellow dog they had just adopted. Legend goes, the very next day, Frank read that Disney was going to adapt the story to screen. While Disney trusted Weatherwax, they weren’t too sure about Spike, whose general friendliness they feared might get in the way of him having to play vicious. But Spike was hired, learned his tricks, and became the emblem of the love share by a boy and his dog.