More Weatherwax History
Casey Jones 1958-1959 starring Alan Hale jr. Dub Taylor, and our little fox terrier mix "Mike" as "Cinders".
Bachelor Father 1957-1962 starring, John Forsythe, Noreen Corcoran, Sammy Tong. "Tramp" played the role of the family`s dog "Jasper".
Wagon Train 1957-1965, starring Ward Bond, a fox terrier mix "Mike" appeared several times during this classic western`s run.
The Westerner 1960, created by Sam Peckinpaw, Starring Brian Keith. "Spike" the same dog that played "Old Yeller" played the role of his dog "Brown"
Get Smart 1965-1970
Lucas Tanner 1974-1975 starring David Hartman
Walter Smiley Weatherwax, Salene Weatherwax's Grand father, was born at Fort Scott, Kansas in 1867. He moved to Texas where as a young man he herded sheep. For a short period he stayed in Mexico where he studied and practiced medicine under the guidance of a local doctor, but he never took the medical exam.
Moving back to Texas, Walter served for a period as a deputy U. S. Marshall. He later rode in Buffalo Bill Cody's "Wild West Show". He married Anne Waller, and began raising goats and children. Due to a dispute over the ownership of two horses his partner was killed. Walter avenged his partner's death, but had to leave Taxes to avoid a murder charge. Moving to New Mexico, where he continued to raise goats and children.
In 1909 the family moved to Silver City where Walter opened the first auto-repair shop in town. Eventually there were seven children in Walter's family. The Oldest was Judd, born in 1897. Then came Dora, followed by Frank (Salene WeatherWax's Father), William (Mac), Ruddell (Rudd), Jack and finally Peggy. In 1911 the family moved to Los Angeles California.
Shortly after arriving in California two of the brothers, Frank and Rudd, saw some puppies and begged their father Walter for them. Their father said OK, but under one condition: They had to train the dogs. Train them, they did. Those pups were taught tricks that were never in the book. If money was laying on the floor: one of the dogs would pick it up and deposit it in a drawer. When Frank walked by an apple stand, he would casually reach out and touch one of the apples. Two blocks later he would send his dog back to retrieve the very same apple he touched.
The Weatherwax' soon started working in movies. Walter himself recieved credit in "The King Fisher's Roost", a 1922 western, and played a wagon driver in "The Covered Wagon" 1923. The children also earned money to help with family expenses. Agents did not get you jobs back then. If you were not a known actor, you had to wait outside the studio gate and hoped that somebody would come out and hire you as an extra.The Weatherwaxes would bring their dogs with them as they waited. The dogs would attract attention by walking on their hind legs and doing other stunts. The studio would often hire the child just to get the dog.
Frank Weatherwax played a bully in "Little Lord Fountleroy" 1921, who is beaten by Lord Fountleroy (played by Mary Pickford). He also played "Peter" the goatheard in the 1920 version of "Heidi". And in "The Jucklins" 1920 he played the role of Johnny Aimes. Mac Weatherwax is credited with the role of Jo Jo in "A Game Chicken" 1922, and Rudd Weatherwax played Estaban as a boy in "The Crow's Nest", 1922. But there were numerous other movies they did in which they were not credited.
Frank Weatherwax was also an excellent horse rider and soon began getting jobs doubling other children on horseback. Most stunts involved jumping over obstacles or falling off the horse. Sometimes the falls were not planned and the rider would be injured. Frank often told about one accident in which the horse stumbled after a jump and both the horse and Frank fell to the ground. Frank says that he remained laying there with a broken finger while his father and everybody else ran to see if the horse was all right.
Frank's acting interfered with his schoolwork. When his fourth grade teacher told him that he had to come to school every day or not at all, Frank chose "not at all." His family needed the money. Several back injuries forced Frank to quit the stuntman business. In 1924 Frank tried training dogs for movies, but competition was hard and he was not able to make a go of it. Instead he accepted a job as a carpenter for Paramount Studios at four dollars a day.
Rudd Weatherwax was waiting outside of a studio gate with his dog when a trainer by the name of Henry East spotted Rudd and hired him to train dogs. Rudd talked Henry into hiring Frank as a second trainer. Henry offered Frank three dollars a day. Frank quit his four dollar a day carpenter job and accepted his new job as a dog trainer.
The years with Henry East were successful as the brothers worked on several movies. In particular there was "Asta", a wire haired terrier who became famous in "The Thin Man" movies with William Powell and Myrna Loy. There was also "Daisy", who excelled in the "Blondie" movies starring Penny Singleton.
For a reason unknown to me, Henry East fired Rudd. Rudd soon got another job training dogs for Rennie Renfro. When Henry East fired Frank, Rudd talked Rennie Renfro into hiring Frank as a second trainer.
In the meantime other the other Weatherwax brothers were going into the dog training business themselves. Jack Weatherwax became a trainer for Carl Spitz, and worked a cairn terrier named Terry in "The Wizard of Oz" in the role of "Toto".Bill Weatherwax was training dogs for Charlie Ruggles when he was drafted into the army in World War II. He was given the job of training war dogs. A job he did not approve of because he felt that dogs had no place in war.
Frank and Rudd did not stay long with Rennie Renfro. They knew that to make money, they had to work for themselves. Therefore in 1940 they formed a partnership and went into business as "The Studio Dog Training School". It is from that partnership that came Lassie, "Old Yeller" and numerous other dog stars.