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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Happy Birthday Strong Heart

Most people have heard of the famous silent era canine film star Rin Tin Tin


but how many have heard of Strong Heart? 




Strong Heart, the 97th anniversary of his birth is today, was the first major canine film star, pre-dating the better remembered Rinty. 

Strong Heart was born in Germany and initially trained as an attack dog before being acquired by dog trainer Larry Trimble at the age three.   He appeared in his first film, The Silent Call, in 1921 and was instantly a big star.  

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 Due to his large size and somewhat intimidating appearance he often played wolves and wild dogs, but at home with Trimble and his wife he was apparently a perfect, loving, and gentle pet.


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The public adored Strong Heart and he spent 9 years staring in films and traveling the press circuit. 

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He fathered many puppies with his wife Lady Jule, a female German Shephered and a fellow film star.  Jule and Strong Heart where profiled in movie magazines much like any other Hollywood power couple.

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He received a star on the Hollywood walk of fame and inspired a line of dog food.                                              
 


            
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In 1929 when he was 12 Strong Heart was burned by a movie light and developed a tumor at the sight of the burn.  He died a short while later.



Strong Heart was greatly missed after his death.  His friend the spiritualist, animal communicator, and Hollywood produce J. Allen Boone wrote several books about Strong Heart.   Letters to Strong Heart is the most well known and is still in print, it consists of a series of letters Boone wrote to Strong Heart after his death and is perhaps the first book on pet loss ever published.

Sadly nearly all of Strong Heart's films have been lost, below is a clip from The Return of Boston Blackie 1927, his only surviving film.  In the clip he can be seen "attacking" an actor.  Trimble said that Strong Heart was so gentle that he never ever injured an actor, not even a scratch, even when filming attack scenes.


Hopefully the renewed interest in Rin Tin Tin brought about by the publication of Susan Orlean's book will spark an interest in this forgotten canine star.


14 comments:

  1. We didn't know about strong heart at all, I bet that book is good, mom is going to see if it is on her kindle...he sure was beautiful and momma remembers that dog food at the store also. Thanks for sharing this!!
    stella rose

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  2. I had (and still have) a copy of Strongheart: The story of a wonder dog. I love the pictures in there.

    Monty and Harlow

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  3. I read Rin Tin Tin so I do know about Strong Heart. 12 is still a pretty good age for a GSD, esp back before there was vet care!

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  4. Happy birthday to Strong Heart. He sounds such a gentle dog even though he was initially trained as attack dog. Love the photo of him with Lady Jule :-)

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  5. I love the idea of a dog power couple. What an awesome post, thank you for sharing.

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  6. A handsome fellow! love the power couple photo
    hugs
    Mr Bailey & Hazel

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  7. I do remember hearing that name long ago, but had forgotten about it until now. He was gorgeous! Those ears! And his "wife" - oh, she was beautiful! Now that's my kinda Hollywood couple!

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  8. He's such a handsome dog! I love the dog power couple picture and the gorgeous portraits with his owners!

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  9. We love the power couple photo and nice one as we had never heard of Strong Heart. Have a tremendous Thursday.
    Best wishes Molly

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  10. I have never heard of him but as a kid I was big fan of Rin Tin Tin and there was another GSD the show was called, "Run Joe, Run" I loved that show.

    So sad that only one of Strongheart's movies survived.

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  11. We never heard of Strong Heart- but thank you for telling us about him and his legacy! He was beautiful- and we can see very loved.
    love
    tweedles

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  12. Larry Trimble is my great-great uncle

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