Celebrating National Dog Day – Retro Style!

Retro Staff Comments

Ah, the dog. Man’s best friend. Ten years ago, animal behaviorist and author Colleen Paige founded National Dog Day (August 26th) to promote the rescue of dogs, and also to recognize all the canines who serve as companions, guides and life savers.

Of course, we can’t help taking a look at the past… to the ’50s and ’60s. Back when television often depicted the nuclear family, and many shows featured dogs not just as family pets, but as credited cast members.

First up is this adorable and funny scene from an episode of I Love Lucy. Little Ricky gets a puppy, but his parents are dead set against the furry friend, until…


No list would be complete without Lassie. The collie first appeared in the 1943 novel, Lassie Come Home. The television show kicked off in 1954 and lasted two decades. A little trivia: Lassie was a female, but the Collie was always portrayed by a male dog.

Here’s a preview clip of the first episode, “Jeff’s Collie”:


How about The Adventures of Rin-Tin-Tin? Not your average family show (it was actually banned from playing in Germany on holidays, and in some countries fight scenes were considered too rough), but a classic, nonetheless.

By the way, the original Rin-Tin-Tin (the dog upon which the television show was based) was a German Shepherd found in France by Corporal Lee Duncan during WWI. Duncan took the dog home, and the canine became a famous movie actor. The original dog portraying Rin-Tin-Tin in the television series was a direct descendant. 

Here’s the opening theme from the show:


Commercial break? You bet… Here’s an early ’60s ad for IDEAL’s Gaylord the Walking Bloodhound. Did you have one of these?

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And what about The Jetsons? This nuclear family featured Astro the dog, who served as best friend to father George and son Elroy. Watch the opening and closing credits. Near the end you’ll see the classic treadmill scene.



And finally, there’s The Andy Griffith Show. This April 22, 1963 episode is called “Dogs, Dogs, Dogs.” Opie finds a stray dog and brings him to the jail. Opie soon loses the pup, only to find the courthouse flooded with dogs.

Have a favorite show or episode featuring a four-legged pal? Chime in below!
Last updated: Aug 26, 2014
Filed under: Retro Memories Tagged with: National Days, television