Before Lassie, before Rin Tin Tin, even before broadcast television itself, there was Petey — the canine character in the Our Gang/Little Rascals comedies who sported a distinctive dark circle around his right (or was it left?) eye.
Just as plenty of myths have floated up and been deflated around the kid actors who played roles in the series — like Spanky, Alfalfa and Buckwheat — the historical record is so fuzzy when it comes to Petey that trying to separate the facts from the fictions can leave one … well, stymied.
I knew the dog who played Petey was a pit bull (though some dispute that). I assumed the ring around his eye was entirely fake (though some dispute that, too). I’d heard he, in real life, was murdered and that he was buried in a Los Angeles pet cemetery (though not everybody agrees on the specifics of those events, either).
When it comes to the canine star of the Our Gang/ Little Rascals comedies, there’s not too much one can say definitively — partly because there was more than one Petey, partly because 80-plus years have passed, and partly because it all happened in Hollywood, a land where truth and myth often spill across their borders and into each other.
But I’m relatively sure this karma-filled episode — in which Petey is put into a gas chamber by a cranky dog warden who goes on to get what he deserved — was, ironically, Petey’s last. (Or at least the second Petey’s last.)
Entitled “The Pooch, it came out in 1932 — like all the “Our Gang” comedies, in movie theaters. Not until 1955 were they syndicated to appear on television as “The Little Rascals.”
The episode stars the second Petey, son of the first Petey, both of whom were owned by trainer Harry Lucenay.
Pal had appeared earlier in the role of Tige in the Buster Brown comedies.
It was for that role that, with dye, a partial dark circle around his eye was turned into a permanent full circle.
After signing a contract with Hal Roach Studios, Pal reportedly became the second highest paid actor of the “Our Gang” series.
Pal’s last appearance was in the 1930 episode, “A Tough Winter.”
Legend has it that Pal, in real life, died after eating meat tainted with poison, or glass. Some reports say the culprit was someone with a grudge against Lucenay.
Then again, legend also has it that Pal was buried with the actor who played Alfalfa, which — given the decades that passed between their deaths — is likely not true at all.
After the death of Pal, who appeared mostly in the “Our Gang” silent films, Lucenay turned to one of Pal’s descendants, a pup with slightly different coloring.
The second Petey, named Lucenay’s Pete, was just six months old when he took over the role. He lacked Petey One’s distinctive eye circle, so one was supplied by a make-up artist named Max Factor, according to Wikipedia.
Likely unaware that it would lead to confusion, the trainer had the second Petey’s circle applied around his left eye, while the first Petey’s encircled his right eye.
Eight decades later, the migrating eye circle remains one of the most hotly debated pieces of Little Rascals trivia.
As a rule, if you see a Petey with a circle around his right eye, it’s the first Petey; if you see a Petey with the circle around his left eye, it’s Petey two.
All that gets further complicated, though, by the fact that many of the images one can find of Petey are the result of reversed negatives, and even more complicated by the fact that, all along, multiple dogs, with slightly different markings, were used in the filming of the series.
Apparently, continuity was not too much of a concern among directors back then.
In any case, the second Petey served from 1930 to 1932, when Lucenay was fired.
There were multiple subsequent dogs — all from different bloodlines — who played the role of Petey between 1932 and 1939, when the final Our Gang episode was released in theaters.
The second Petey retired with Lucenay to Atlantic City and would die at age 18.
Like so much else about them, the second Petey’s final resting place, as with the first Petey’s, is disputed, according to Roadside America.
While Petey was a pit bull, an American bulldog was used in the 1994 “Little Rascals” movie.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 4th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: alfalfa, animals, buckwheat, circle, dog, dog warden, dogs, dye, entertainment, eye, gas chamber, harry lucenay, little rascals, our gang, pal, pete, petey, pets, pit bull, pitbull, rumors, spanky, stymie, the pooch, trainer, trivia, urban legends
An animal control officer who struck a dog with his baton, leading to a cracked skull and the loss of an eye, did not use excessive force, authorities in Oregon have concluded.
The officer, Hoyt Stepp, was defending himself against two dogs when he struck Dojie, a river rescue dog who was running loose when the Washington County animal control officer encountered her.
After an investigation by Hillsboro police, the district attorney’s office said there was not enough evidence to pursue animal cruelty charges against the officer.
Protesters gathered outside a news conference yesterday, where the decision not to prosecute the officer was explained, KOIN reported.
“I am convinced that the responding officer followed a reasonable course of action,” said Deborah Wood of Washington County Animal Control.
Animal Services Field Supervisor Randall Covey said the officer followed his training: “…He created a barrier between himself and the dogs, backing up, yelling at the dogs to go home. That did not deter the dogs. Officer Stepp got to the point the dogs were right on him in full, aggressive attack, and at that point Officer Stepp struck Dojie one time to avoid being bitten.”
Marlin Starr, Dojie’s owner, reported the incident to police after witnesses told him the officer struck his dog, who had escaped from his yard.
While authorities say the dog was struck once, Starr questions how one blow could cause a cracked skull, injured shoulder and complications that led to the loss of one of Dojie’s eyes.
“I am outraged for Dojie and I am outraged for every animal in Washington County. No animal is safe from Animal Control at this point,” Starr said.
Dojie is an experienced river rescue dog trained to help people who fall out of rafts, according to KATU.
She will no longer be able to do that job, Starr said.
Starr said witnesses told him his dog ran into his backyard, followed by an animal control officer, who pulled out a collapsible baton known as a bite stick, and hit Dojie.
The police investigation concluded that the case “did not contain the necessary elements of the crime of animal abuse.”
Posted by John Woestendiek March 27th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal control, animal cruelty, animals, baton, bite stick, charges, cracked, crushed, dioje, district attorney, dog, dogs, dojie, excessive, eye, force, hillsboro, hoyt stepp, investigation, lost, no charges, officer, oregon, pets, police, prosecution, rescue, river rescue, skull, washington county
WorldNetDaily was among those asking that question this week after reports that Jenna, a German shepherd whose owner admits she doesn’t like non-whites, was stabbed by one of the owner’s employees.
The attack cost Jenna an eye.
“The dog reacts to black people, Hispanics, anyone who is not white,” owner Paul Tocco, who runs a family-owned oil-delivery business in Yonkers, told New York’s Journal News.
One of Tocco’s employees, a black handyman named Andrew Owens, became annoyed at Jenna’s incessant barking, and reportedly “egged on” the dog before charging at her and slashing her eye with a 9-inch folding knife.
Detective Ken Ross said Jenna, a four-year-old guard dog, was cut “over the right eye, all the way down to the socket bone.” Ross said Owens “never liked the dog. The dog did not bite him (Monday). It appears everything was done out of anger.” Owens allegedly had threatened to kill the dog in the past and claimed Jenna had bitten him last year.
Owens was arrested and charged with felony aggravated cruelty, as well as fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a misdemeanor.
Tocco says he never trained Jenna to behave that way. He said it wasn’t fair to call his dog racist or prejudiced. Jenna just “doesn’t like minorities,” he said.
Your civil comments on this one, as always, are welcome. Can dogs be “racist?” Is the owner always to blame? Might this phenomenon show up more in guard dogs, and if so why?
Posted by John Woestendiek April 9th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: andrew owens, animals, attack, black, can dogs be racist, dogs, eye, guard dog, hispanic, jenna, minorities, new york, news, non-white, ohmidog!, paul tocco, pets, prejudiced, racist, stabbed, stabbing, yonkers
Stupid pet tricks and stupid human tricks from the “Late Show” with David Letterman are battling it out online in an NCAA-style tournament.
The show selected 16 finalists for the tournament — chosen from nearly 300 pet and human tricks performed over 17 years of the “Late Show.” They put the stupid human tricks on one side of the brackets, the stupid dog tricks on the other.
Online voting determines who progresses to the next round. One vote per day is permitted.
Bailey, above, who we’ve shown you before, is still in the running on the pet side of the brackets. So far Bailey, aka Dog Playing Dead, has beaten out Dog Jumping Rope, and Dog That Says “I love you.”
Meanwhile, on the human side of the brackets, “Woman Spits Gum, Sucks It Back” has advanced through the early rounds and was headed to take on either the “Lady Who Scratches Eyeballs” or “Man Who Squirts Milk Out of Eye.” Here’s a look at the latter:
The championship round will pit the winner on the stupid pet trick side against the winner of the stupid human side, with online voting determining the winner. I’m picking Bailey to go all the way — since voters are choosing their favorite, as opposed to the stupidest. Were they voting for the stupidest, humans would win, hands down.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 29th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: bracketology, brackets, david letterman, dog jumping rope, dog playing dead, eye, final four, funny, late show, letterman, man, milk, news, ohmidog!, squirts, stupid human tricks, stupid pet tricks, stupidest, sweet sixteen, television, tournament, tv, video
A fan has sued the Kansas City Royals, claiming a hot dog thrown by the team’s mascot, Sluggerrr, struck him in the eye and detached his retina.
According to the lawsuit, filed in Jackson County Circuit Court, John Coomer was attending a night game Sept. 8 at Kauffman Stadium and was sitting about six rows up from the third-base dugout.
During a break in the action, Sluggerrr mounted the dugout and began blasting ’dogs into the stands with an air gun. Then he began throwing food into the stands with his paws, The Kansas City Star reported.
“While doing so, (Sluggerrr) attempted to throw a hot dog into the stands with a throw behind his back,” the lawsuit alleged. “Instead of throwing the hotdog at an arch high into the stands, (Sluggerrr) lost control of his throw, or was reckless with his throw, and threw the hot dog directly into plaintiff, who was sitting a few feet away.”
Coomer says the hot dog struck his left eye and led to a detached retina and cataracts. His medical costs so far exceed $25,000, he says.
(Click here for all of the Wiener Awards.)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 25th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: baseball, crowd, detached, eye, fans, frankfurter, hot dog, hurled, injuredy, kansas city royals, kauffman stadium, lawsuit, mascot, news, retina, slugerrr, throwing, thrown, wiener
The boyfriend of Broadway actress Ashley Yeater has been charged with whipping and kicking her Yorkshire terrier after the 6-pound dog bit him.
Joseph Graves, 30, admitted to investigators he beat the dog, named Emmit, in January, the New York Daily News reports.
“I flew into a rage. Emmit bit me, so I hit him with a belt buckle and kicked him,” prosecutors quote Graves as saying.
Graves took Emmit to a veterinary hospital two days later, after the 4-year-old terrier was vomiting and had stopped eating. Hospital staff, after determining the dog suffered six broken ribs and bruised kidneys, contacted the ASPCA. The dog also lost his left eye as a result of the Jan. 16 attack in Graves’ midtown apartment.
“The pet was nearly killed because a person couldn’t control his temper,” ASCPA spokesman Joseph Pentangelo said. “It’s inexcusable.”
Graves was arrested Monday and charged with aggravated animal cruelty, a felony, and criminal mischief.
Emmit was treated at the West Chelsea Veterinary Hospital and is staying with relatives of Yeater, who was appearing in a Florida performance of a “A Chorus Line” when the dog was beaten.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 3rd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, actress, animal cruelty, ashley yeater, aspca, beat, beating, belt, bit, bitten, boyfriend, broadway, buckle, charged, cruelty, emmit, eye, joseph graves, lost, new york, terrier, yorkie, yorkshire