Happy National Dog Day! Today we salute a canine we’ve had occasion to refer to in the past, “Pete the Pup”, or “Pete the Dog”.
As with many other famous Hollywood pooches, such as Lassie or Rin Tin Tin, it’s more accurate to think of Pete as a character than as a single real-life creature, for the part was played by many individual animals over the years.
Pete, owned and trained by Lt. Harry Lucenay, started working around 1923, and appeared with Lupino Lane, Harold Lloyd (The Freshman), and Al St John before he really got noticed playing Tige in Universal’s Buster Brown shorts. Hal Roach got Pete away from Universal and he was made a highly visible part of the Our Gang series (a.k.a. Little Rascals). The character of Pete became an indispensable part of the series thereafter: a faithful friend, a protector, and sometimes even a method of locomotion! In 1930, sadly, Pete was accidentally poisoned, and died. At this stage he was replaced by one of his offspring. This dog acted in the films through 1932, when Lucenay left the Roach lot. Various other dogs filled the role through 1938.
Thanks to Steve Massa for his assistance with this post; read more about Pete the Pup in Steve’s book Lame Brains and Lunatics.
For more on Our Gang, please check out my 100th anniversary podcast episode here.