The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin is an American children’s television program which originally aired in 166 episodes on ABC from October 1954 until August 1959. It starred child actor Lee Aaker as Rusty, a boy orphaned in an Indian raid, who was being raised by the soldiers at a US Cavalry post known in the series as Fort Apache. He and his German shepherd dog, Rin Tin Tin, helped the soldiers to establish order in the American West. Texas-born actor James Brown (1920–92) appeared in every episode as Lieutenant Ripley “Rip” Masters. Co-stars included veteran actor Joe Sawyer and actor Rand Brooks from Gone with the Wind fame.
Rin Tin Tin guest stars included veteran Western film star and singer Roscoe Ates and Dean Fredericks, later Steve Canyon, guest starred in six episodes. Others who appeared were Ron Hagerthy, later a semi-regular on the Sky King series, and Ed Hinton. John M. Pickard, star of the similar series Boots and Saddles (syndicated, 1957–58), appeared three times on Rin Tin Tin. Lee Van Cleef and Harry Dean Stanton also appeared on the Screen Gems series. Brad Johnson (1924–1981), known as deputy Lofty Craig on the syndicated Western series Annie Oakley, appeared twice on Rin Tin Tin, including the role of Tom Buckner in the episode “Rin Tin Tin and the Second Chance”, on June 1, 1956.
The character of Rin Tin Tin had appeared in several movies and radio serials since 1922. One of the dogs used in the TV series was the fourth in the bloodline of the original Rin Tin Tin.
Reruns of the show ran on daytime television and on Saturdays on CBS from October 1959 until September 1964. A new set of reruns was shown in 1976, and continued well into the mid-1980s. The original black and white prints were tinted light brown.
The success of The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin caused the cancellation of Gene Autry’s The Adventures of Champion on CBS, which was replaced on February 10, 1956, by My Friend Flicka.
The show currently airs in syndication on Antenna TV, with episodes aired being remastered versions produced by Cerulean Digital Color and Animation, featuring lines redubbed for some scenes using actors different than those from the original series cast and a remastered music soundtrack.