Some of the most famous dog movies ever made starred rescue dogs. “Old Yeller” was no exception. Spike, a huge Labrador Retriever/Mastiff mix, was adopted by Frank Weatherwax (trainer of Lassie) from the Van Nuys Animal Shelter in California for $3.00.
After his first film, Old Yeller (1957), Spike appeared on The Mickey Mouse Club with his costar Kevin Corcoran. He went on to star in two more features, A Dog of Flanders (1959) and The Silent Call (1961), and appear in other films and TV shows including The Westerner (1960).
His legacy lives on today as the poster dog of one of the best known dog novels, and films, of all time.
Spike portrait copyright The Walt Disney Studios, 1957. A Dog of Flanders one-sheet poster copyright Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, 1959.