Strongheart the First Movie Star Dog
Strongheart, was the first dog movie star of the silent era. He was before Rin Tin Tin. There is a wonderful book written by J. Allen Boone, Kinship With All Life, that should be on every person's reading list.
J. Allen Boone (17 February 1882 – 17 June 1965) was an author of several books about nonverbal communication with animals in the 1940s and '50s. He wrote much on his friendship with Strongheart, a film star-German shepherd, who he credits with teaching him how to achieve deeper bonds through extrasensory perception, a "silent language" that can be learned. Boone was an early film producer and correspondent for the Washington Post. His friendships in Hollywood led to his care-taking of Strongheart.
Strongheart was born in Germany 1918 - Died in Los Angeles June 24, 1929. Brought to the US by a writer, Jane Murfin, and a producer and director, Larry Trimble.
Films starring Stongheart were: The silent Call (1921), Brawn of the North (1922), The Love Master (1924), White Fang (1925), North Star (1925), and The Return of Boston Blackie (1927)
The German Shepard Dog (GSD) came to the US as early as 1908, but its popularity rose dramatically after World War I, when returning soldiers told of the heroic dogs' work with the Red Cross, at the front, for the police, and on guard duty. In addition, Rin Tin Tin and Strongheart, two beloved silent film stars, captured the hearts of the American public.
Today, the German Shepherd is distinguished for his loyalty, courage, and ability to retain training for a number of special services. Members of the breed are widely used by police officers and the military, as guide dogs for the blind, guardians, drug and contraband detection dogs, and Search and Rescue dogs. Most, however, are purchased to serve the important role of devoted family friend and protector
"I wish I could point a
finger about the size of a light house at all of them and shout: 'Now
listen, my funeral friends, I happen to be a very personal friend of
Strongheart, and as his personal friend I should like to ask all of you
just what you think that dog was made of? So many pounds of hide and
bones and stuffing? A material body with something animating it on
the inside, which has now stopped functioning? Well, if you do, you
are mistaken. Very much so! You may have been looking at
something like that, or at least thought you were, with those material
eyes of yours, but what you were actually seeing were his qualities.
'Let me name a few of them for you: goodness . . . loyalty . . . understanding . . . enthusiasm . . . fidelity . . . devotion . . . sincerity . . . nobility . . . affection . . . intelligence . . . honesty . . . confidence . . . strength . . . gentleness . . . happiness . . . gratitude . . . appreciation . . . trustworthiness. . . endurance . . . integrity . . . humility . . . purity . . . unselfishness . . . fearlessness . . . love . . . and all the hundreds of synonyms that parade back of those terms.
cc' And write this down on the tablets of your memories with the point of a diamond: those qualities of Strongheart's can no more die and be buried in a hole in the earth than a collection of sunbeams. They are eternal! And Strongheart is just as eternal as his qualities!
'At the moment you seem to be beyond my human vision and the range of my whistle: and I do not know how to throw the old tennis ball for you, much as I would like to. But that is my fault. All of us humans are more or less afflicted with low and limited visibility, which has a tendency to give us a distorted and contradictory notions about what actually is and is not happening to the people and things about us. We squint at life instead of looking at it clear-eyed and steadily. . . .' "
'Qualities, my funeral friends! Grade One qualities--even among the human species! Those are the things he was made of, not that shadowy, unsubstantial, phantom stuff called matter. But qualities! Qualities of the highest excellence!