Old Yeller, or the dog that played Old Yeller, was a homeless dog

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found in a sanctuary in valve Nuys, California. The dog’s real name was Spike.

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Spike almost didn’t get the part in the movie around Old Yeller since everyone believed he was too lot of a sweetheart.

The Story the Old Yeller

The 1957 Walt Disney film, Old Yeller, was based on a publication of the exact same name by frank Gipson. The movie was around a boy and a stray dog in post-Civil war Texas. V the father away on a cattle drive, the 2 sons, Travis and also Arliss, carry out the ideal they deserve to to keep up v all the jobs on the household farm.

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Meat is being stolen from their smokehouse and also some pet has been disturbing the hens. The boys soon discover that the culprit is a stray, yellow-colored dog. Travis, the older brother played through Tommy Kirk, make the efforts to drive the dog off, but Arliss (Kevin Corcoran) protects the dog the calls Yeller.

One afternoon Arliss is make the efforts to record a black color bear cub by offering it food. Together the cub come closer and also closer come Arliss, the small bear’s mom arrives, angry and also determined to gain her cub back. Old Yeller shows up unexpectedly and also drives the bear away. By saving Arliss, the entire family embraces Yeller.

After this, Yeller remains on the farm, constantly ready to defend the boys. More trouble brews, however, once a neighbor stops by come report that animals are dying in the area indigenous rabies.

One night a rabid wolf nears the house and attempts to assault the family. Yeller is there placing up a strong defense but the wolf keeps coming. Travis lastly shoots at the wolf but before the wolf falls he lunges, biting Yeller.

The boys quarantine Old Yeller, hoping that he won’t end up being ill, but one day together they go the end to take it him dinner, and he has actually changed, snarling and growling at the boys. V that, Travis has no selection but come shoot him. It is one of the saddest moment in movie history. (To view a trailer for a re-release that the movie, click here.)

The Dog Old Yeller

Spike was situated in the van Nuys pet Shelter by a girlfriend of

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Hollywood dog trainer frank Weatherwax (1902-1991). The Weatherwaxes to be prominent animal trainers because that the movie industry. Among their most successful currently of dog played Lassie in every the assorted movies and TV shows starring Lassie.

Frank’s friend liked Spike’s look and called Frank to come under to the shelter. Frank did so and thought the dog seemed trainable. Frank paid $3 to bring him home with him.

The dog responded fine to Frank, and also soon he to be looking favor a dog with real potential. It just wasn’t clear exactly how Spike to be going to fit in to Hollywood. In the meantime, Spike was doing fine in training, and also otherwise enjoy it the life of being amongst the Weatherwax family of dogs, finish with children to beat with.

One work Frank Weatherwax’s wife, Connie, was analysis The Saturday night Post when she came upon serialized story referred to as “Old Yeller” by frank Gipson (it later ended up being a book). She love the story, and also the summary of the dog made her think of Spike.

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Later the year the Disney firm announced that they had actually purchased movie rights to Old Yeller, and Frank Weatherwax made a call—he want to lug Spike in come audition because that the role.

When Spike came down on the studio, the Disney civilization saw a flop-eared, really friendly, goofy dog with large feet…. Just how was this going to it is in the Protector Dog who saves the Texas household from all species of threats? Spike had been raised around children and loved human being of all ages. The dog simply didn’t look vicious.

That’s where the Weatherwax maintain was placed to work. Frank Weatherwax put Spike with his paces. Spike growled and snarled and was climate able to revert to being his common friendly self.

Spike soon had the part.

Huge Success of Old Yeller

Though Spike remained in several other films and also appeared ~ above television, he will always be remembered for his part in Old Yeller, among the ideal boy-and-his-dog films as well as a film with among the saddest endings.

Spike likewise appeared in various other movies. He remained in A Dog that Flanders, and The She-Creature and also The silent Call. On tv he make appearances on The Mickey mouse Club and also The Westerner v Brian Keith.

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Spike spent his retirement years in the Weatherwax family where he lived for several much more years after coming to be famous. He likewise had offspring that did fine in present business. His kid was the dog in Island that the Blue Dolphins (1964) and his grandson showed up with Steve McQueen and also Robert call in Junior Bonner (1972).