Rintintin - in Popular Culture

In Popular Culture

In 1976, a film was produced loosely based on Rin Tin Tin's debut: Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood. Producer David V. Picker offered a fee to Herbert B. Leonard but Leonard disagreed with the basic premise of a film ridiculing the famous dog. Leonard sued the filmmakers for infringement on the Rin Tin Tin legacy and lost.

Originally co-produced by Leonard, the 1988–93 Canadian TV series Katts and Dog featured the adventures of a police officer and his canine partner. The series was titled Rin Tin Tin: K9 Cop for its American showings, and in France it was presented as Rintintin Junior. Leonard was funded by the Christian Broadcasting Network whose founder, televangelist Pat Robertson, had been enthusiastic for the idea. Leonard was criticized by his fellow producers for staying with his new wife in Los Angeles rather than helping with the show on location in Canada. Partway through the first season, Robertson said that some of his viewers were deeply concerned that the plot involved a widowed mother who was living unmarried in the same house with the brother of her late husband. Robertson recommended the mother character be killed off to stop the complaints, but Leonard protested such a change. After Leonard quit the show the problematic character was killed off. Though separated from the show, Leonard continued to receive a fee for the screen rights to Rin Tin Tin.

In 2007, a film was produced—Finding Rin Tin Tin—based on the story of Lee Duncan finding Rin Tin Tin on a battlefield in France and making a star of him in Hollywood. The film was the subject of a lawsuit brought in October 2008 by Daphne Hereford who asked a federal court in Houston, Texas, to protect her rights to the Rin Tin Tin trademark. The judge ruled in favor of the filmmakers, declaring the use of the name in the film to be fair use.

A fictionalized account of Lee Duncan finding and raising Rin Tin Tin is a major part of the novel Sunnyside by Glen David Gold.

Rin Tin Tin has been featured as a character in many fiction works, including a children's book in which Rin Tin Tin and the other animal characters are able to talk to one another but are unable to talk to humans.

In October 2011 at the first annual American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards in Beverly Hills, Rin Tin Tin was honored with the first Hero Dog Legacy Award. Mickey Rooney narrated a memorial tribute film about Rin Tin Tin. A twelfth generation Rin Tin Tin legacy dog was there to receive the award.

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