20 Great Dog Stars
The Dog is Man's Best Friend.
20 Truly Great Dog Stars
I have decided upon Twenty dog stars and in no particular order. It is clear that dogs have and do form an integral part of a lot of people's lives. I grew up with pets and it has been said that having pets around can actually add years to your life. Of course dogs have not always been merely pets. Even today the working dog is very much with us.
Lassie has been a star from the time of the 2nd World War onwards. She has her origins in a novel, Lassie Come Home, written by Eric Knight and first published in 1940. The novel was made into a film in 1943 and the fame of Lassie took off from there. Lassie has always been played by a collie and, strangely enough, has generally been played by a male rather than a female dog. Lassie first broke into television in 1954. Lassie has rarely been off the air ever since.
2. The Littlest Hobo
This television show centers around a stray German shepherd and his adventures with the humans he meets on his travels. A Canadian effort the show was first run from 1963 to 1965 and then from 1979 to 1985. The episodes made for the second run, however, were nowhere near as good as those of the first.
3. Inspector Rex
This is an Austrian television show getting good ratings on Australian television. A German shepherd shows how detective work should be done. Its all in the nose and the attitude.
4. Rin Tin Tin
This fictional dog's history on radio, the movies and television is a lot longer than one might first imagine. Throughout the 1920s and'30s he was a film star but he is best remembered as a star in a children's program that was still in re-run in the 1960s. Manning a fort with his humans in the Wild West is the German shepherd known, for some reason the French can possibly explain, as Rin Tin Tin. The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin first aired on television from 1954 to 1959. The catch-phase of the show was: "GO RINNY!"
The Adventures of Tintin, created by Belgian artist Georges Remi, would not be complete without the assistance of the dapper pooch Snowy, a white fox-terrier who keeps his reporter master Tintin out of trouble or at least tries to.
Of the dogs of television and of animation this cowardly great dane with a cavernous stomach has been a rip-roaring success. His main human companion is Shaggy, a throw back to the hippy surfer period of the '70s. Of the two movies made involving Scooby the second film, strangely enough, is the best. There was a Scrappy-Doo but he isn't seen much nowadays. Being a little fighter he was brought in as a counter to his much bigger and less brave cousin Scooby.
Muttley the snickering hound first appeared in the cartoon show Wacky Races in the '60s. His master was Dastardly who couldn't seem to get a break not even from his own pet. Both Muttley and Dastardly shined in the WW1 cartoon show Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines (1969-1971). Dastardly was the leader of The Vulture Squadron whose only mission was to stop an allied homing pigeon. The rather racy and fun song "Stop That pigeon" was a highlight of the show together, of course, with Muttley's snickering.
8. Doc Martin's Dog
In real life Martin Clunes, who plays Doc Martin in the popular British comedy about a doctor who has come to a fishing village to practice medicine, actually likes dogs. Doc Martin the character, however, has no love for them. Strangely enough there is a shaggy lump of fur that has taken a liking to him despite his craggy disposition. Some humor has erupted over this odd paring and thus odd couple.
9. Hitler's Dog
There is an old piece of film shot of Hitler giving one of his dogs a pat on the head. The dog has his ears back indicating to some viewers that the dog did not want to be patted. It also indicated to some that the dog was afraid of his master. Much speculation has been made as to why the dog's ears were in the position they were in. Was Hitler cruel to dogs? There is no real proof that he was. Still the speculation continues. He was of course cruel to some humans but that's something else. It was a hunting dog and Hitler didn't like to go hunting. Maybe the dog simply didn't know him very well and thus was wary. Of course he might have sensed that Hitler was mad but that is just further speculation.
10. The British Bulldog
During WW2 the German press sent up Churchill by portraying him in cartoon strips as a bulldog. This was a mistake. Churchill was the first to admit that he wasn't the most handsome man in the world and actually took being regarded as bulldog faced as a kind of compliment. The British bulldog was tenacious and tough. Once it got its teeth into something it was hard to get it to let go. Certainly during WW2 the British people had to be tenacious and tough to get through the bad times and the Prime Minister and the British bulldog showed the way. "We will NEVER, NEVER surrender!" On occasions Prime Minister Churchill was seen walking beside a bulldog just to keep up morale.
11. The Phantom's 'Wolf' Devil
In the comic strips one of the Phantom's traveling companions is a full blooded mountain wolf named Devil. He has assisted his costumed master on many an occasion usually preventing the Phantom from getting ventilated in the back by dastardly back shooters. In the 1943 Phantom movie serial, however, Devil is played by a German shepherd who happens to be acknowledged as being a dog rather than a wolf in the story. Devil, whether dog or mountain wolf, has always been a good and faithful companion to the Phantom and is more than worthy of a place here.
12. Legally Blonde's Pooch
The dog's name is Bruiser and apart from being a little pooch he is apparently gay. In Legally Blonde 2 (2003) much of the action centers around Elle Woods, the blonde, saving dogs from experimentation and reuniting Bruiser with his mother.
This is Doctor Who's faithful companion in many of his adventures both on screen and in the comic strips. Equipped with a ray beam that comes out of his nose and can stun a felon , he is not without his uses in a fight. He is also a computer with the capacity to play chess and actually win against the Doctor. He is always polite and protective of his humans. He has, however, two drawbacks. He isn't much good in a rowboat and he has a definite problem with steps. He is now Sarah Jane Smith's companion in peril.
Fang, also known as K-13, is the sometimes companion of Maxwell Smart agent 89 of control in the television show Get Smart (1965-1970). Not the bravest or the most clever of dogs, he seems to have a faithful friend in Max who constantly sticks up for him.
What would the comedy show Frasier (1993-2004) be like without Eddie hamming it up? Nothing like having a lively Jack Russell Terrier getting in Frasier's way and giving his old man something to smile about.
16. Santa's Little Helper
Of the pets The Simpsons have had Santa's Little Helper, the greyhound, is probably the most endearing. Found abounded by its own after a race, Homer took it home with him and it became one of the family. Homer doesn't quite strangle the dog as much as he does his son but he definitely does get strangled. This is okay for a cartoon but not something you ever want to do with a real dog or a real boy.
17. Huckleberry Hound
This hound of early television first appeared in 1958. He has a southern American accent and tends to be blue, literally. He tends to try to reason with critters that are not to be reasoned with.
Lady, a golden cocker spaniel, was a dog of culture and refinement in Disney's Lady and The Tramp (1955). She had a posh family as her owners and was living in luxury. She was bored. This changed, however, when she met the tramp.
19. The Tramp
The dog who showed Lady the rougher side of life in Lady and The Tramp (1955) was, of course, the tramp, a mongrel who was streetwise enough to protect her and guide her when she was on the wrong side of the tracks. This does not mean, however, that she didn't get into serious trouble. They became lovers and he was eventually accepted by her more posh friends and by her owners.
1001 Dalmatians has been a Disney hit as an animation feature and as a live action film, actually two live action films. And there was a spin-off television animation series too. It all began with Pongo who wanted to be with a lady fair Dalmatian and dragged his human along for the ride.
Well, there you have my twenty. I hope you enjoyed the read.
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