More Poop on Petey
Our request for Petey leads continues to draw e-mail. We've excerpted a few here. Apparently no one agrees as to where, exactly, Petey is buried, but he still commands the passionate devotion of a loyal legion of fans. May his dog star never fade!
"I don't think either of the gravesites you mention as the final resting places of "Petey the Pup" from our gang are the right ones. Petey, or Lucenay's Peter (his United Kennel Club registered name) was whelped September 6th, 1929. He was bred by A.A. Keller, and owned/trained by Harry Lucenay. Unfortunately, I don't know where he's buried, but you might have some luck contacting the UKC." [Mike Sawicki]
"Growing up in Silver Spring I was always told that Pete was here, but later heard that it was another dog "star". Jiggs was in the silents." (anonymous)
"I believe that Petey was an American bulldog NOT a pit BULL as stated in your story. Watch the show Petey has no features of a pit bull and more of those like a American bull dog I have an American bull dog which is pure bred but was a runt so she did not grow to be as large as an average Amer. bull dog this could also be the case with your Petey" [Marc]
P.S. my dog has her own ring she needs no makeup like Petey did but then again don't all Hollywood starts hide behind makeup!
"This is from a magazine called Cult Movies (unfortunately, I just clipped the article, so I don't know which issue.) It includes a reprint from Photoplay magazine (they list it as circa 1930) which reports on the murder of the original Pete. It seems very thoroughly documented....
"Petey was put into films at around six months. He is the son of Pal, The Wonder Dog -- a dog owned by Petey's trainer, Harry Lucenay. Pal was actually the first dog to appear regularly in OG shorts. Pal's screen credits include 13 feature films released from Dec. 1921 to Oct. 1927.
"Petey landed the role of 'Tige' in the Buster Brown comedies. It was the role of "Tige" which has been attributed to Pete acquiring his classic ring around the eye. The ring was made with permanent dye, so Roach had no choice but to accept Petey the way he was.
"Petey was signed in 1927 to a three-year contract with six month options. His starting salary was $125 per week, which would be raised in increments of $25 per week to make him exclusive to Hal Roach Studios -- making him the second highest paid actor in the OG series (next to Farina). Pete's last appearance was in "A Tough Winter", released June 21, 1930.
"He was poisoned, probably by someone with a grudge against Harry Lucenay. The OG kids were inconsolable upon learning of Pete's death. But since Lucenay was breeding a "Pete" line, he was able to substitute one of Pete's descendants. The second Pete has the circle on the opposite eye and the ears and front legs have a slightly different coloring. The seconds Pete only stayed at Roach Studios for two years, because Lucenay was fired.
"The last 'true Pete' OG comedy (meaning Pete #1 and his son) was "The Pooch" (1932). All subsequent Pete's were from an entirely different bloodline. After leaving Roach, Pete (#2) went to NY, 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 OG, but only for a personal appearance tour."
[Rick R., Our Gang Online]
There was more than one "Petey" My father and his family moved from Iowa to Culver City (near the Hal Roach studios) in 1931. They made jokes on the journey about how they would all go Hollywood and become movie stars. My father's dog "Fritz" made it. Evidently the studio was looking for a 2nd "Petey" and happened to see my father and his family walking their dog Fritz on the route to the studio. The family was paid $50 and a new dog (not bad during the Depression). My father also was able to visit his old pal at the studio once. He called "Fritz!" and the dog came running, making the trainer angry. He never knew what later became of his dog. You may notice in the films, that as time goes by the ring around his eye moves from one side to the other. This may be a clue to which dog is which (and then again, maybe not). There were many Lassies, so probably the same with Petey. [Jeannine Cook, 4/22/98 ]
A recent "Mysteries and Scandals" about Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer on E! tells the truth about the star's headstone. The dog on the headstone is a tribute(?) to Alfalfa's line of work after Hollywood tossed him aside. He often acted as a hunting guide and provided hunting dogs. In fact a dog was the cause of the $50 debt which led to his demise. He wanted the $50 reward he put up for a friends dog, which he was responsible for losing in the first place, repaid.
A.J. Benza explains that the dog on the headstone was defaced by unknown pranksters. [James Petillo, 6/23/99]
I'm kind of confused how anyone could mistake Pete for an American Bulldog. I own an American Pit Bull, who has almost the same exact brindle markings as the Pete from Our Gang and The Little Rascals. Maybe the very first Pete was a bulldog, but I know that the rest of the Petes from that point on have been American Pit Bull Terriers. They are incredible dogs, why deny them the one spotlight that reflects a positive outlook? Too often they aren't given the credit or respect they deserve. [Elizabeth Atkinson, 1/28/2002]