The impact that dog had on American canine culture, the film industry and on his owner was remarkable and certainly not even dreamed about when he was brought home by Lee Duncan at the end of World War I in 1918.
There is currently an online petition requesting that the United States Post Office issue a stamp in recognition of Rin Tin Tin and his accomplishments. I've signed it, I hope you do, too. The American public was instrumental in the publication of the Spay and Neuter Stamp several years ago. That stamp was sold out in days and had several subsequent printings. It is now a highly prized collector's item not only among animal people but with those who collect stamps, as well.
Following are bits and pieces I've gleaned from Wikipedia, Google and iReport.
The first of the line (c. September 10, 1918 – August 10, 1932) was a shell-shocked pup found by American serviceman Lee Duncan in a bombed-out dog kennel in Lorraine, France, less than two months before the end of World War I. He was named for a puppet called Rintintin that French children gave to the American soldiers for good luck. The dog returned at war's end with Duncan to his home in Los Angeles, California. In colour he was a dark sable, with very dark eyes.
Nicknamed Rinty by his owner, the dog learned tricks and could leap great heights. He was seen performing at a dog show by film producer Charles Jones, who paid Duncan to film Rinty. Duncan became convinced Rin Tin Tin could become the next Strongheart.
The dog's big break came when he stepped in for a recalcitrant wolf in The Man From Hell's River (1922). Rin Tin Tin would be cast as a wolf or wolf-hybrid many times in his career, though not looking like one.
His first starring role was in 1923's Where The North Begins, playing alongside silent screen actress Claire Adams. This film was a huge success and has often been credited with saving Warner Brothers from bankruptcy. It was followed by Shadows of the North (1923), Clash of the Wolves (1925), A Dog of the Regiment (1927), and Tiger Rose (1929).
Although primarily a star of silent films, Rin Tin Tin did appear in four sound features, including the 12-part Mascot Studios chapter-play The Lightning Warrior (1931), co-starring with Frankie Darro.Duncan was so devoted to his dog that his wife filed for divorce naming Rin Tin Tin as co-respondent. The published report stated her feeling that Duncan loved the dog more than he loved her. The case was later dropped and the divorce not granted.
Following Rin Tin Tin's death in 1932 in Los Angeles (in the arms of actress Jean Harlow, according to Hollywood legend), his owner arranged to have the dog returned to his country of birth for burial in the Cimetière des Chiens, the renowned pet cemetery in the Parisian suburb of Asnières-sur-Seine. He was 14 years old.
"Rin Tin Tin" was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1623 Vine St.