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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Friends of the Famous - R

Soon after the beginning of the glamorous and sometimes decadent “Golden Age” the original Hollywood sign (which actually read Hollywoodland at the time) was erected high on the side of a hill as if in testament to the opulence, promise and ever prosperous era, while Donna Reed was a popular pinup for WW2 servicemen, Ben Hur was released to stunning acclaim and, with the advent of “talking” films, hundreds of pianists were beating the pavements for jobs. 

Another disturbing fact was that the industry wasn’t always kind to animal actors. However, this did not seem apparent in the case of one canine star called Rin Tin Tin, as he was prepared a daily lunch of tenderloin steak – by his own chef, and a group of classical musicians was hired to aid in digestion afterward. The famous dog earned $1200.00 a day, received 10 thousand fan letters a week, and was at one time, listed in the Los Angeles telephone directory!

Foregoing high school for Art school, Norman Rockwell began his career at the age of 17 with an illustration for Boy’s Life magazine. By 22, he had secured what would be a 47-year relationship with the Saturday Evening Post and, inspired by Franklin Roosevelt, Rockwell’s depictions of the Four Freedoms raised in excess of 130 million toward the war effort. In 1977 (a year before he died)  he was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom, but the great American visual storyteller will likely remain in the hearts of fans as the man who brought levity in times of despair and sensibility to senseless discords through images of ourselves and of course, dogs.  

Theodore Roosevelt began his presidential tenure with six kids and more animals than the White House had ever held. Although many of the pets were gifts from friends and dignitaries, they all belonged to the children, with the exception of a one-legged rooster, for which the president himself held affection.
“Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

Do you ‘spoil’ your pet? Are you a fan of Rockwell? Would you keep a handicapped pet?


  1. I had heard it was originally called Hollywoodland, but I have never seen an actual sign.
    Wow, did Rin Tin Tin live well. Probably better than some people. I wonder what he did with his money he earned. I know, he likely got together with other dogs to play poker.

    1. Hi Jeffrey!
      It was intended as a temporary real estate advertisement for a posh new neighborhood.
      Maybe Rin Tin Tin bought one of those houses for Friday night poker games;-)

  2. Hi, dear Diedre!

    I have watched the Ben Affleck movie Hollywoodland about the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of George "Superman" Reeves. I didn't see the original Ben Hur movie made in the silent era, only the remake starring Charlton Heston. I was somewhat surprised to learn that Donna Reed was a popular WWII era pin-up model. At first she didn't seem the type, but after Googling a few of those images, I can understand how her wholesome, girl next door quality would bring comfort to servicemen far from home. As a boy I never missed the TV series Rin Tin Tin and have a tribute to the show coming up on my own blog. I admire the artwork of Norman Rockwell and have occasionally used it on SDMM. Lately I have been as busy as a one-legged rooster. How about you? :)

    Thank you very much, dear friend Diedre!

    1. Hi Shady!
      There were so many scandals in that era it's anyone's guess. I'm not so sure things have changed all that much.
      Ha! True, when you hear the word 'pinup' you don't think Donna Reed:-) But I agree with your thoughts on how the servicemen must have felt about it.
      I've seen Rockwell on some of your posts - love it!
      I look forward to your tribute to the Rin Tin Tin show;-)
      Oh yes, you could say it's 'hopping' around here;-) We call it 'busier than a one-armed paper-hanger!"
      Enjoy your day, my friend:-)

  3. It's amazing that the Hollywood sign stills stands, albeit somewhat shorter, after so many decades! Rin Tin Tin had a better life than many people, it seems. NIce to know he was so well taken care of, unlike other showbiz animals. Norman Rockwell made the right decision about art school. Love his work! I would keep a handicapped pet, but roosters aren't allowed in suburbia. ☺

    1. The treatment of animal actors was the worst of all the Golden Age scandals - and probably one of the better-kept secrets;-) It's good to know there are organizations these days to ensure standards are followed. Not that Rin Tin Tin had any worries...;-)
      I've always loved Rockwell paintings, drawings, etc for his innate ability to visually script an entire scene, as if you're watching a film.
      I'd have a handicap pet (I may have one now) but not a rooster because, well, birds;-)
      Thanks so much Debbie!


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