Are you familiar with Petey from the The Little Rascals? The Little Rascals (originally called Our Gang) was a comedy film series created by Hal Roach. The films followed a group of poor neighborhood children being their mischievous selves. Petey, seen as a nanny dog, is the loyal and affectionate companion who protects and entertains the kids throughout their adventures.
We tried to separate fact from fiction in this story, as there are many myths about who Petey was and the facts surrounding his role in the series.
Where is Petey the Dog buried?
Harry moved the latest Petey to Atlantic City, where he would be photographed with children at that city’s Steel Pier. Even though the real Petey was gone, the character would certainly live on in additional Our Gang shorts and would be featured in the 1994 film version of The Little Rascals as well.
The duo of Harry and Petey would make their way back to Los Angeles, where Petey participated in promotional events involving the Our Gang cast members. Strangely, Petey would actually outlive Harry, who was shot to death during a card game in 1944 (what is it about people involved with The Little Rascals that so much bad stuff happened?). The canine would live until January 28, 1946, and die of old age at 16 years and 4 months. He is buried at Los Angeles Memorial Park in Calabasas, which is part of Los Angeles. But like those wonderful kid stars, Petey, too, continues to live on in the hearts of fans. Woof.
Shortly after that, Pal was cast as “Tige” in a series of two-reeler silent films made for Universal about Buster Brown, a comic strip character who first appeared in 1902. Despite his proper appearance, Buster was generally getting into some type of trouble, and Tige was his faithful companion. Pal had a partial circle around one eye. Because the circled eye made Pal so memorable, the makeup experts for the show simply finished off the ring with dye.
Pete, a pup sired by Pal, came into the Our Gang role of Pete the Pup by 1930. The observant will note that the circle around the eye migrated from left to right. In the early days of film, continuity was not maintained from scene to scene as closely as it is in films today. Over time, other pit bulls were used for certain shots and eventually Pal’s son Pete retired. Other pit bull bloodlines carried the role forward.
During the 1920s pit bulls were one of the most popular family dogs in the United States. They were so well-liked that a pit bull, Pal, was a much beloved character in the popular films about Our Gang, later called The Little Rascals.
Audiences also knew Buster and his dog from the Brown shoe company that began marketing Buster Brown shoes as early as 1904. The company logo featured the faces of Buster and his dog.
Our Gang started as a series of two-reelers (running about 20 minutes) that became very popular to pair with major features. In 1927 Pal was signed to a three-year contract with six month options. His starting salary was $125 per week, and he was guaranteed certain incremental increases so that he would maintain exclusivity with Hal Roach Studios. According to Cult Movies magazine, he was the second-highest paid actor in the Our Gang series. Farina (Allen Hoskins) received the highest salary (he was the most popular African-American child actor in the 1920s).
What kind of dog is Petey from ‘The Little Rascals’?
The first dog to play Petey in The Little Rascals was Pal, an American pitbull terrier. Many sources say Pal was hired in 1927 and his career ended in 1930 when he died of suspected poisoning. How terrible is this story!
Others say Pals puppy Pete replaced him in the show after his death.
Yet, the research we found shows that the second Pete was an American Staffordshire Terrier named Lucenays Peter. His famous circled eye was added by Hollywood make-up artist Max Factor.