Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Girl And Her Dog

Not the tail of the dog, but the dog of the tale. More than one, in fact.

There was Pete The Pup

The story that I remember was that this poor doggie was suffering from kleig eye and the kind-hearted Thelma was trying to comfort him. Lucky dog.

And White King:

This time it was Thelma Todd that was in trouble. She was worried about the extortion notes she had been getting. But the man who had written them was later arrested.
Thelma Todd may not have been thinking of trouble when this picture was taken, but they ran it in the LA Times to accompany an article about her death, which took place not long afterwards. The film she had been working on with Patsy Kelly was ALL-AMERICAN TOOTHACHE.
Although this dog is usually called "White King", this caption calls it "Jiggs".
That's a pit bull, by the way, same as Pete the Pup. The picture was taken around the same time as the one where she was said to be worrid about the extortion notes.

And Gallant,
a cocker spaniel.
Gallant was seen in some publicity photos with Thelma Todd, but was seldom mentioned afterwards.
But I did find a little at a Laurel and Hardy site, from which I take this brief excerpt:
Hal Roach's secretary, Ruth Burch, remembered that Laughing Gravy became one of many studio pets who had the run of her boss's office. Irma Campanaro said Laughing Gravy "lived a long happy life, well into World War II. People at the studio spoiled her, though, beginning with Mr. Roach. He loved all dogs, although he was partial to hunting dogs, like black labradors. Another who spoiled Laughing Gravy was Thelma Todd. She had her own little dogs, too. She often brought her cocker spaniel named Gallant onto the sets, which was okay because he never barked. But you would always see Thelma with little dogs like Laughing Gravy sitting in her lap."

Laughing Gravy worked with the Thelma Todd unit too, appearing in SHOW BUSINESS (1932), I'LL BE SUING YOU (1934) and TREASURE BLUES (1935). In the concluding scenes of TREASURE BLUES, everyone dives overboard into the sea. Last to take the plunge is Laughing Gravy, wearing a life preserver clearly marked as the property of "Ruthie 2." Lois Laurel-Hawes speculates Ruthie "was the dinghy for her father's yacht. The Ruth L. named for second wife Virginia Ruth Rogers!"
                                                                *                 *                 *
So there's another dog in here to wag this tale, one I hadn't even thought of to start with. Laughing Gravy, best known for appearing with Laurel and Hardy in a movie of the same name.

With Spanky McFarland
Laughing Gravy also worked with Our Gang.

Laughing Gravy was also in one of Thelma Todd's last movies, THE BOHEMIAN GIRL, and would later be with Laurel and Hardy again in WAY OUT WEST. But there would never be another movie named for the little dog. 
Although Laughing Gray had a film named for him, the most written about of these dogs seems to have been Pete the Pup.

Pete the Pup

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Pete The Pup

Pete the Pup, center, with Matthew "Stymie" Beard and Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins in the Our Gang comedy School's Out (1930)
Born(1929-09-06)September 6, 1929
Los Angeles, California
DiedJanuary 28, 1946(1946-01-28) (aged 16)
Los Angeles, California
Pete the Pup (September 6, 1929 - January 28, 1946) was an American Staffordshire Bull Terrier character in Hal Roach's Our Gang comedies (later known as The Little Rascals) during the 1920s and 1930s. Otherwise known as "Pete, the Dog With the Ring Around His Eye", or simply "Petey", he was well known for having a circled eye that was added on by Hollywood make-up artist Max Factor[1] and credited as an oddity in Ripley's Believe It or Not. The original Pete (sired by "Black Jack") was a Jack Russel Terrier named "Pal the Wonder Dog", and had a natural ring almost completely around his eye; dye was used to finish it off.


When he was about six months old, Pal the Wonder Dog made a cameo appearance in the Harold Lloyd film The Freshman, in 1925.[2]
Pal first started out as "Tige" in the Buster Brown series in the 1920s. It was during this time that he obtained the circled eye, and when he was recruited to appear in the Our Gang comedies later that year, Hal Roach simply left it on, creating one of the most recognized dogs in film history. In the 1994 remake of The Little Rascals, the new Pete is an American Bulldog.
Trainer and owner Lt. Harry Lucenay used one of Pal's offspring as Pete in the series after Pal was poisoned and died in 1930.[3] This dog, named "Lucenay's Peter", was registered as an UKC American Pit Bull Terrier.[3] Lucenay's Peter was bred by A. A. Keller. The dog was UKC registered under the name Purple Ribbon Peter (22558). A few other dogs played Petey, but Lucenay's Peter was the best known. After being fired from the Our Gang series in 1932, Harry Lucenay retired Peter to Atlantic City, where he was photographed with children at the Steel Pier.


Roach used a number of unrelated Pit Bulls to portray Pete in Our Gang until 1938.[3] Lucenay's Peter continued on and died of old age on January 28, 1946 in Los Angeles, California at age 16, two years after the Our Gang series ended.[4]


  1. ^ Martin, Rick (2007). Circus Tricks for Your Dog: 25 Crowd-Pleasers That Will Make Your Dog a Star. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc.. p. 97. ISBN 978-1-57990-816-4.
  2. ^ Commentary by Leonard Maltin, Richard Correll, and Richard W. Bann, from The Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection Giftset, Volume 2 - disc one
  3. ^ a b c Maltin, Leonard and Bann, Richard W. (1977, rev. 1992). The Little Rascals: The Life and Times of Our Gang, p. 281-283. New York: Crown Publishing/Three Rivers Press. ISBN 0-517-58325-9
  4. ^ Pete the Pup

 External links

Gallant Mentioned At Laurel And Hardy Central:
Gallant Mentioned In PITTSBURGH POST Article:
Laughing Gravy ( The Dog ):
Pete The Pup Poisoned Story Disputed:


  1. Just an observation; in the photos where Thelma is with a pit bull dog, there seems to be more than one dog shown in different photos

  2. "White King" and "Jiggs" might be two different dogs. Roland West also had a dog and somebody could also have thought that was Thelma Todd's dog.

  3. Jiggs/White King was an English Bull Terrier, not a Pit Bull. TT only owned one bull terrier - that's the same dog in both photos. 'Jiggs' was his pet name, 'White King' was his pedigree name.

  4. Thank you for your information, Liz. Is there anything else about this online that we can look at?

  5. Thank you for your information, Liz. Is there anything else about this online that we can look at?