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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pitty Scenes from the Silver Screen

One of the favorite bragging rights of pit bull enthusiasts world wide, is the claim that pit bulls make great pets because they are long time stars of the silver screen.  Of course, there are all kinds of animals used in film....Lions and Tigers and Bears!  Oh my!  and nobody with a brain would make the same claim about them, although it may give the same pit nutter lion tamer mindset some inspiration that leads to the same kind of  lethal fatal attraction. 

Regarding pit bulls on the silver screen, a *foreign born scholar (there was an appeal for someone who is an English speaker to fix some of the errors.  He writes better than most American pit bull enthusiasts.) expressed the essence of what all pit bull enthusiasts claim:

"At the beginning of 1900, the breed dog American Pit Bull Terrier was an icon very appreciated by the American town. It was sight like a familiar dog, and of confidence around the children. Brave and protective of all the family, he was considered like a symbol for the American town, because it is a strong, powerful, balance and extremely intelligent animal, and never like a threat for the society."

Maybe pit bulls are not roaming the streets across the pond as they are here across the fruited plains, but he is like so many numb-sculls who look for any little scrap of acknowledgement that they are part of some great American legacy so they can feel better about their choice of a dog fighting dog for a pet.  This great legacy, if it can be found at all, exists only  in the movies.

Nonetheless, what follows is a good survey of some of the early films,  which do indeed employ talented plucky pit bulls, if you call jumping and gripping "talent".  Suppose too,  the reason for the overwhelming representation of pit bulls in early film, may have to do to the fact of the close connections of these early pioneers in film.

  This early example, featuring the earliest known pit bull star, Mannie.  *"The director of cinema and husband of Laura Comstock, Norman H. Mosher, was his trainer and Mannie learned all type of tricks because its intelligence was outside the normal thing. In those times it was difficult to train a dog for such aim and was amazing the amount of time and patience necessary to teach such tricks."

Mannie & Laura Comstocks Bag Punching Dog (1901) Is it training, or is it breeding, and is this a display of normal dog behavior or  intelligence....gripping dog goes after ball and then does the pit bull shake.  It's really amazing when you see a dog that hasn't been trained to do this with YOUR dog in it's gaping maw, and it's real, not the movies.

Another star of the silent screen was "Fatty" or Roscoe Arbuckle, whose dog Luke was the perfect choice of canine side-kick for the the hayseed character he portrayed.  In real life, Arbuckle was a known drug addict, and was the center of a rape and murder scandal.  Despite an acquittal, the Hollywood censor board, cited Arbuckle as an example of the poor morals in Hollywood.  His movies were banned.

   Here is a montage of scenes featuring Luke the dog. He's especially good at gripping and hanging from the power of his jaws, and climbing ladders, a charming skill for a game bred gripper to have in its arsenal.

The Buster Brown Series is often brought up as a glowing example of American childhood by the pit bull apologia, especially Cesar Millan.   He is a brat and his dog Tige is a demon.  *Here is a sample of just one of many similar scenarios which should drive the point home.

March 9, 1904- Buster and Tige. Put a Baloon Vender Out of Business
*The mother of Buster tries to buy a globe for her son, but but Buster gets upset, he pushes the salesman and he orders to Tige to bites the trousers of him. The seller loosen all the globes and Tige and three Pit Bull more explode globes. (spelling and grammar of our scholar left intact.) 

Read more descriptions........Tige bites.  Tige bites. Tige bites.

The TRUTH About Pit Bulls, also has an excellent article about Buster Brown and Tige.

Tige attacks another dog in Buster Brown and the Dude (1904)

Of all the most beloved and oft mentioned,  most nutters gush at the canine pal of The Little Rascals (Our Gang) (1922-1941) with out seeming to notice that the adorable little crumb munchers were, well, little rascals. They were NOT the picture of the ideals of American family, rather humorous antics of children from the wrong side of the tracks, often behaving badly.  This is not polite society, this is what generates the humor.  I don't know how the pit bull apologists seem to miss the stereotypical humor, revolutionary as it was at the time to have such an integrated cast in the time of segregation and Jim Crow laws. Even when these shorts were released for T.V. print in 1971, there was controversy over some of the racial humor, as well as other content deemed to be in bad taste, King World made significant edits to its Little Rascals TV prints.  Petey the pit bull, pet to these hooligans was a taboo choice, as pit bulls at the time had a solidly bad reputation.

In nearly every episode where Petey makes an appearance, you can witness gripping dog behavior.  Even the second incarnation's first appearance in Pups is Pups (1930), look for the scene of the litter engaged in a head shaking gripping (around 7:55). 

The Pooch (1932) is a humorous yet shameful commentary on American values from which we have still not evolved, the sad truth that strangers were more willing to find something for the dog to eat than for two hungry children.  Later in the film we see Petey attacking the dog catcher. 

                    DOG CATCHER: Who let my dogs out?
                    SPANKY: Stymie
                    DOG CATCHER: Where's Stymie?
                    SPANKY: Right over there.
                    PETEY: Grrrrrr

                    Petey attacks Dog Catcher.
                     STYMIE: Somebody's got Petey caught!
                     Dog Catcher puts Petey in the dog catcher wagon.
                     STYMIE:  Please don't take my dog mister!
                     DOG CATCHER: Well, where's his license?
                     STYMIE: He ain't got no license, he's got fleas!

Nutters never change!

The creator of the show had some unsavory connections. The dog that originally played both Tige and Pete was "Pal the Wonder dog" sired by Earl Tudor's Black Jack.  Earl Tudor was a famous dog fighter, and he considered Black Jack his best game dog.  Pal was poisoned, and replaced with one of his offspring, Pete, who's grandma and ma were one and the same.  Yes, like so many pit bulls, he could sing "I'm my own Grampa" and be absolutely correct.

Charlie Chaplain was a comic genius, no doubt, even if he was kicked out of America.  His pit bull mix, named Mutt, was one of 21 dogs he had originally collected, a number reduced to 12 after neighbor complaints.  Mutt stars as the canine companion of the Little Tramp in the movie Dog's Life (1918).  Check out the counter around the 6:50 minute mark for a delightful scene of a gripper on the seat of pants slapstick humor. What other kind of dog can grip and hold on?

 Thus, the pit bull was from the very early dawn in cinema, the victim of type casting.  Very few and far between, save some recent horrible Disney films and some Anti-BSL propaganda documentaries, will you see pibbles portraying little else but the scary dog or the mascot of a thug.  
Of the Disney crop of pit bull stars, none of them upstage the popularity of the animated Cocker Spaniel in Lady and the Tramp, or 101 Dalmations,  two very dangerous breeds of dogs, according to every vet tech that loves pit bulls. 

Three lost pets search for home through the Canadian wilderness in The Incredible Journey, a book published in 1961.  Disney's early adaption of the book in 1963 stayed true to story, by employing an English Bull Terrier to play the part of Bodger.  The remake, renamed Homeward Bound (1993)  and a sequel released in 1996 featured an American Bulldog named  Sure-Grip Rattler to portray Chance, no doubt there's some game bred D.N.A. in the mix.  The dog was not only a film star, but was also used for the wholesome American sport of Hog Catching.   Real life nutter Michael J. Fox supplied the voice.

Despite all their popularity, pit bull fans didn't flock to Disney's The Pooch and the Pauper (2000), it was a box office flop.  The story of bulldog Liberty, first dog of the U.S. who SOMEHOW gets mixed up with his exact stray dog doppelganger.  I thought that pit bulls were supposed to be the most loyal dog, how can this happen! 

The Good Son (1993)  Remember when Macauley Culkin was still cute and not scary and Elijah Wood was simply shorter? And I didn't even know this was a pit bull (recall that 1993 was in the decade of the Rottweiler, or was it the German Shepherd?)   because I had never heard of them.  The trailer captures us... "Behind his smile, lies a secret"......"Behind his his eyes, lays a plan"....and "Behind the image of a good son, lies the terrifying truth".   ....sounds like what the pit bull advocacy doesn't want you to know about their dogs. 

Evil child portrayed by  Macaulay Culkin.  Evil dog portrayed by Dread, Diane Jessup's own pooch.

In Goodfellas (1990), the pit bull makes an appearance as the subject matter of a painting.  
The oil of the two dogs was painted by Nicholas Pileggi’s mother, and is based on a photograph from the November 1978 issue of National Geographic. Pileggi was the author of Wise Guy, a treatment of the life of gangster Henry Hill, on which Good Fellas is based.  Ironically, National Geographic, which used to be about more lofty things, has since become devotedly focused on thugs and pit bulls.
 Here is some of the dialog from this scene.:
TOMMY: I like this one. One dog goes one way and the other goes the other.
MOTHER: One’s going east, the other’s going west. So what?
TOMMY: And this guy’s saying, “Whaddya want from me?" The guy’s got a nice head of white hair. Beautiful. The dog it looks the same.

A nice video discussion about this painting.

 Maybe she knows her sons are pit bulls, maybe she's in denial. She serves them up a nice meal nonetheless. 

Forrest Gump (1994)  Jenny's Grandma has what looks to be an American Bulldog Dumptruck by the  trailer. 

 Wild Bill (1995) opens with a scene from a dog fight.  "You can take the dog out of the fight, but you can't take the fight out of the dog." 

Snatch (2003) could not have cast another type of dog, only a pit bull would have the gaping maw capable of engulfing an entire toy. This movie also features real life nutter Brad Pitt, whose gripping dogs made a cameo in the psychothriller Seven (1995).
In a movie about such deep symbolism, there must be a deeper meaning to the choice of pit bulls into this household. Could it be that the pit bulls, so casually given a nice tummy rub were a symbol of the sixth deadly sin, envy, or maybe the seventh, wrath?   In any case,   it could have either been the serial killer or the serial killer dogs that ended up killing his wife.
Gansta being attacked from behind by gansta dog.

 Pibble serves up some gangsta stereotypes in the David Spade movie Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star (2003), this despite the knowledge that Chihuahuas and Dachshunds are far more aggressive.  People comment all the time on media reports all the time...."my pit bull is a sweetheart but my Chihuahua will kill you!" This film also features a Bull Mastiff portraying the family dog.  Would have a Beagle worked as well in this role?   Popeye, Bad dog!
Of course we can't have a proper Pibble film festival at our Pit Nutter Circus without including a foreign film or an artistic venture by a cable company.

Amores Perros (2000) is a Mexican movie, roughly translating to "Love is a bitch", much in the way Charlie Chaplain's Dog's Life was telling us "Life is a bitch".  It was nominated for an Academy Award, and won Best Picture by the Mexican film academy.  A tryptich of stories of betrayal, with the dog symbolizing loyalty, all characters  linked by the scene of an automobile crash.  It brings to mind the mind the movies Pulp Fiction and Crash.  It contains many horribly graphic depictions of dog fighting. It's very likely the dogs used in this scene are related to the dog that portrayed Tige and Petey. We export those American Values south of the border.

Dogfighting scene from the film Amores Perros.

Behind the Candelabra (2013)

An HBO movie which tells of the stormy romance of legendary piano virtuoso Liberace and his young lover Scott Thorson.  Scott had worked as a dog handler in Hollywood, and it was a mutual interest in dogs that lured young Scott into the lair of dirty old dog Liberace.   The opening scene shows him, portrayed by Matt Damon, hubba hubba,  on the set with three dogs.....H.B.O. may have wanted to consult Cesar Milan, because it does hint that even in the late 70's, the pit bull had a bad rap....along with the German Shepherd, and the Doberman Pincer.  It portrays Liberace as an insatiable horn-dog, the producers certainly had some guts showing some romantic gay doggie style. 

Here is the Real Scott Thorson today,  
such a brave man to tell his story, and even braver to deal with a dangerous Daschund and a deadly Dalmation. 

My all time favorite pit bull scene is from Jurrassic Park III (2001).  It seems that along with the Godfather Saga, Shawshank Redemption, and one of the Jaws movies, one can turn on the cable at anytime, and one of the Jurassic Park movies will be on. As much as I loathe them, I will prepare the popcorn for this one scene: T-Rex verses Pibble.   Pibble loses.  It's a good thing T-Rex is extinct, because pit bull owners would just have to have one!

Pibbles (on a chain, the outrage!)  sees T-Rex and bravely defends his household.  He tenaciously pulls his dog house to the edge of the pool, even though his owners are clearly cruel to make him live outside, tied to a dog house in San Diego.
Pibbles barks and shows his teeth.  T-Rexie roars and shows her teeth.  Pibbles currs out and cowardly backs into his house.  
T-Rexie gets a little nibble of pibble.

I myself have always wanted a pet lion, just like the one that roars on the prelude of every MGM film.  Story goes that the very lion that was filmed with the mighty roar, killed its handler.  Turns out, just like the rumor that because pit bulls have a long history in the movies, they make great pets, it's just another urba

n myth.  Darn, it would have made a good example too.  Alas, the pit bull apologist never really gets it anyway that it's just Ars gratia artis.
A nutter history of the pit bull in cinema.  Great collection of clips and photographs.
By Mar Bartolome.


  1. Great post! You forgot to mention the part in Amores Perros about the kindly dog-rescuer guy and his 15 or so small, friendly trained dogs that accompany him around the town on walks. He then takes in a stray pit bull. The next day, he leaves the house for a while and comes back to find that the pit bull has murdered every one of his other dogs. Being an apparent pit nutter-in-the-making, he forgives the pit and it then replaces all the other dogs, joining the man on his daily off-leash walks around town.

    I found this unrealistic when I first saw it. However, not that I've seen the results of pit bulls + sheep, pit bulls + goats, and home-invasion pit bulls vs. innocent dogs and cats, the movie depiction of the slaughter was completely accurate.

  2. charlie chaplin! what a great find, i had no idea. i hadn't gotten around to luke and fatty on the truth blog, want the job?

    harry lucenay also lead a colorful life and interesting death.

    regarding brad pitt, i have not been able to confirm that he is or was in fact a pit bull owner. something tells me that brad pitt doesn't have a dog at all. but regardless, actors pose with all kinds of people and things for the studio and for publicity, so i am skeptical of hollywood photos.

    this is one of your best!

  3. love how nutters like to bring up petey ect as though everything from hollywood has got to be true . OH bye the way , richard nixon had a cocker spaniel so i guess that proves something about tricky dicky or .....about cockers . stupid stuff thats beneath even intelligent children .

  4. i never noticed a mutant in SEVEN but it was a very fine action movie with a wonderful ending. i guess since the mutant was brat pits or wifey's instead of the serial killers that that proves pits are good dogs.

  5. A bit of a non-sequiter, but I'm glad to find someone who detests the comic-book stylings of Spielberg as
    much as I do!! Great, fun posting!

  6. From the movie "White Fang". White Fang is stolen by dog fighters, turned into a fighting machine that wins every fight, until a pit bull is brought in, which nearly kills White Fang by gripping his neck and not letting go. White Fang is killed by the lead character interfering. A crowbar is used to pry the pit bulls jaws open in order to free White Fang.

    1. Argh, typo. White Fang is *saved* by the lead character, not killed.. oops.

  7. Who would win in a standoff?
    White Fang
    Lad A Dog
    Little Lost Speckles
    Big Red
    Old Yeller
    Tiger, the dog on The Brady Bunch
    Charlie, Steinbeck's Poodle
    Rin Tin Tin
    Eddie from Frasier
    Mr. Peabody, from Peabody and Sherman
    Underdog, minus the encouragement from Miss Polly
    Cousin It from The Addams Family
    Pugsley from the Addams Family
    Robo-Dog from the Jetsons
    Scooby Doo
    Santa's' Little Helper, The Simpsons.


  8. Well, I misread the above to say, (The MGM lion) that EVERY lion used to roar in the MGM killed it's handler! What?! Every one? Give us a good roar and you can off the guy in the bush jacket! Much disappointed to reread it accurately.
    Also--the Goodfellas amateur painting of dogs in
    da boat (also known as da disposal conveyance) the dog in the foreground is so over colored it looks like a USDA meat cuts chart--is
    that intentional? GENIOUS!!
    I like it
    I like it
    me too
    I like boats but I don't like to swim
    I want to kiss them a million times
    they are fishing and crossing the ranebow bridge to there forever homie
    I wish their was more pink
    I'm a vet tech and that's cruel and ignorant they need floating outfits
    I have a paint-by-numbers like this but different colors like orange and purple
    Your a liar!!!
    I just want to know why they are in a boat and where is that? is it like around here?
    That place is a nice camp for at-risk dogs who come from mean stupid people. You are fucken ignorant loser you doesn't know that simple common fact!!!
    Why doesn't that boat fly
    USA flag? That is
    maritime law!
    I like this
    I like this
    I like this, but now I got to go dig through my moms purse
    You are all fags! My Motley Crue an Anthrax posters bury that shit!
    I like this

  9. Here's a heart warming story about Jessup's bite work trained Dread be used to train A/C officers how to deal with a mauling...She collected $210 pit grifter bucks for the days work.,1733648&dq=the+bite+of+dread&hl=en

    One of Jessup's dogs was also featured as a drug trafficking guard dog in the pit stereotyping film "Black Dog"

    In another famous Gripper Hollywood moment, champion Hog-dog breeder Lori Haaker's American Pit-Bulldog is featured in the Steve Martin film "Cheaper by the Dozen"...All was fine until her 3 year old daughter was killed at her unlicensed breeding kennel.

  10. Updated, how could I forget Jenny's Grandma's pit thing tied to the trailer in Forrest Gump! Photo still and clip added!

  11. I REALLY hope that your entire blog is one giant satire piece. You should be advocating the prosecution of those who abuse these dogs and train them to be this way. I have met PLENTY of chihuahuas who SHOULD be put down because they are vicious, but OH NO! Don't do that to a POOR HELPLESS CHIHUAHUA.
    Guess what? It's in EVERY dogs nature to be aggressive. Every domestic dog is distantly related to some kind of WILD dog. IF you truly believe that ALL pit bulls are evil, please explain EXACTLY why. Were you bit? Was someone close to you hurt or possibly killed by one? If so, I'm sorry. That is very sad and unfortunate. But that does not mean that EVERY child (or adult for that matter) is in danger when they are around pit bulls.

    There. I did your research for you. You do the reading now and educate yourself.

    THE PROBABILITY OF BEING ATTACKED BY A PIT BULL IS ACTUALLY LOWER THAN THE REST OF THE BREEDS. Do your research before you disseminate false information. In fact, chihuahuas and other small breeds are the WORST behaved dogs.

    Look, I even got you a pretty info graphic so that you don't have to do any other reading either. I'll go ahead and post this stuff on all of your posts so that your readers can also be WELL informed.

    You all need to go back in these movies and literature a re-read and re-watch everything. Most of your information is incorrect. The BITS that are correct: You need to look at the time period in which the setting takes place. Remember: Not a single example here is based in 2013.

    1. People aren't training pit bulls to kill themselves and their families. They are BRED to kill and have been for centuries. Being bit by a lab or Chihuahua isn't the same as a pit bull MAULING. Pit bulls are the number one breed for fatalities and severe, life altering injuries (, serial attacks, rampage attacks, and failing a 'second chance' ( as well as killing other people's normal pets ( Here are pit bull facts and myths from an independent source:

    2. Why would we stop researching based on four opinion pieces. I live in a building with an aggressive pit bull which is raised lovingly, by otherwise normal people. For over a year I've tracked all dog related fatalities. 43 of the 46 have been committed by pit bulls.

  12. Hannibal Rising features a Nanny Watch Dog, belonging to Hannibal's mysterious Japanese aunt, who is a leather wearing motorcycle riding dominatrix who teaches Hannibal martial arts. There is also some kind of taboo incestuous attraction between the two.