Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pete the Pup

This tribute actually salutes two dogs, Pal and his son Lucenay's Peter (aka Petey). Both were American Staffordshire Terrier (Pitbull) and best known for playing Pete the Dog in the Our Gang comedy shorts.

Both dogs were trained and owned by Harry Luecenay and would star in a total of 61 movies.

Pal was born in 1925 and made his first film appearnce was in The Freshman (1925) when he was six months old.

Pal next landed the role in the 1920s Buster Brown series playing the role of Tige.

Pal's next big feature was playing Pete the Dog on the Hal Roach Our Gang comedy series. Pal originated the role in the film Spook Spoofing (1928). Pal's last film was A Tough Winter (1930).

Pal suffered an untimely death in 1930 when he was poisoned by an unknown assailant, probably by someone with a grudge against Harry Lucenay. The Our Gang kids were inconsolable upon learning of Pete's death.

Luecenay Peter (Petey) born September 6, 1929, would carrying on his father's role as Pete the Dog in the Our Gang comedy shorts. His debut being in Pups is Pups (1930). His last Our Gang film being The Pooch (1932).

Petey also was featured in his dad's place in several Buster Brown silent movies.

Harry Luecenay was fired from the Our Gang series and a series of look a like dogs appeared in the Our Gang comedy shorts until 1938.

After leaving Our Gang, Luecenay Peter went to New York and appeared in the Fatty Arbuckle short "Buzzin' Around" and in Paramount's "Broadway Highlights" newsreel, in which he is seen drinking a mug of beer as his initiation into The Lambs Club. In 1936, he once again joined Our Gang, but only for a personal appearance tour.

The circle around Pal's and Petey's eye, was not entirely natural. They both were born with a three quarters ring (a natural skin coloration was such an oddity that it became certified by Ripley's Believe It or Not) and the remainder of the ring was completed by make up artist Max Factor.

You may have noticed the circle often migrates between the left and right eye but that is because look a likes were used for stunts and in later films after Petey left the series.

Both Pal and Petey were the second highest paid Our Gang actors, earning $125.00 per week, second only to Farina (Allen Hoskins).

Luecenay Peter died in 1946, when Lucenay was 18 years old.

"He was a gentle, playful and warm dog. He would sleep at the foot of my bed. He was just the regular family dog. I really miss him." Harry Lucenary (About Petey).

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