Some of them already existed in books before they made us fall in love with them on screen. Others were turned into a franchise, creating a longing to have a pet out of the ordinary: a dolphin, 101 Dalmatians or a talking horse. I’m talking about animal film stars of course!
When I look back, I fondly remember Lassie, Black Beauty, Fury and Flipper. They all starred in their own shows and movies. So did Mr. Ed. Rin Tin Tin may still be the most famous one of them all, at least when it comes to vintage gems, as well as all the darling characters Disney has created or adapted over the years. On the animation side, who doesn’t remember The Lady and the Tramp or Bambi whose story probably broke every kid’s heart. And then there’s Mickey Mouse and Minnie along with Donald Duck and Daisy, as well as Bugs Bunny or Sylvester and Tweety.
Animal film stars have long come in all shapes and sizes. They have been humanized and enriched our lives by being our best friends and companions, teaching us lessons about relationships and nature. They have also been an animated mirror to our human condition. And their popularity has not really ceased from Rin Tin Tin‘s first appearance almost a hundred years ago to Boomer and Hart to Hart‘s Freeway in the 80s, to Free Willy in the 90s and Bolt today.
Animals still open our hearts on screen, make us cry and create that wish deep inside to adopt them. Animals, like children, also still steal the show and outshine the most decent of actors. And like none of their human colleagues they make us laugh about the silliest things.