Rin Tin Tin was the name given to an entire lineage of German Shepherd dogs which were featured in film, radio and television. The original Rin Tin Tin (1918 - 1932) was a puppy found shell-shocked in a bombed kennel in Lorraine, France at the end of World War I. It was adopted by Lee Duncan, an American serviceman. When Duncan returned to civilian life in Los Angeles, he took his puppy with him. The dog was cast in a film role in 1922 and got to star in an entire series of Rin Tin Tin films from 1923 to 1931.He also starred in a radio show by the Blue Networkwhere he did his own sound effects from 1930 to 1932.
At the peak of his career with Warner Brothers Rin Tin Tin received over 10,000 fan letters week and was considered to be one of Hollywood’s top stars.
He died unexpectedly on a Friday he was scheduled to begin a new film for Warner Brothers, Hollywood legend has it he died in the arms of neighbor film star Jean Harlow. He was 14 years old at the time.
With the original Rin Tin Tin dead, the roal was given to one of his sons. The so-called Rin Tin Tin, Jr continued the film series from 1932 to 1939. He also continued the radio show from 1932 to 1933. A new radio show by CBS featured him from 1933 to 1934.
Rin Tin Tin III starred only in the films "Law of the Wolf" (1939) and "The Return of Rin Tin Tin" (1947) as the popularity of the franchise had somewhat declined in the 1940s. Rin Tin Tin IV was the main star of a television series from 1954 to 1959. Though he actually shared the role with a cousin named "Hey You" and unrelated dog "J.R". There was also a third radio series in 1955. Lee Duncan died in 1960. The Rin Tin Tin lineage has continued but their no longer much involved in show business.
This has not prevented the franchise from continuing in some ways. For example, "Katts a Dog" (1988 - 1993), an unrelated Canadian television series, was broadcast as "Rin Tin Tin;K-9 Cop" in the United States.