Rin Tin Tin was a male German Shepherd dog which was rescued by the American Soldier Lee Duncan from a World War I battlefield. Duncan trained the dog and obtained silent film work which made Rin Tin Tin famous. The Dog went on to appear in 27 Hollywood films bringing much fame and success to Warner Bros. studios. Rin Tin Tin was so famous that he received the most votes for the first Academy Award for Best Actor; however, the academy determined that only humans can hold that honor.
As part of the advances made by the French and American forces during the Battle of Saint-Mihiel, U.S. Army corporal Lee Duncan was sent forward on September 15, 1918, to the small French village of Flirey to find a suitable landing ground for military aircraft. The area had been subject to bombs and artillery, and Duncan found a severely damaged kennel which had once supplied the German Army with German Shepherd Dogs. The only dogs left alive in the kennel were a starving mother with a litter of five nursing puppies, their eyes still shut because they were less than a week old.
Duncan rescued the dogs and brought them back to his unit. When the puppies were weaned he gave the mother to an officer and three of the litter to other soldiers, but he kept a male and a female. He felt that these two dogs were symbols of his good luck. He called them Rin Tin Tin and Nanette after a pair of good luck charms called Rintintin and Nénette that French children often gave to the American soldiers.
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