Around the age of 19 Laurence Trimble moved to New York City with his trusty companion, Jean (a border collie) to start a career as a reporter. During 1908 he sold an animal based story to a New York City based magazine. The magazine then hired him to write an article about the new “motion picture” industry that was growing, mainly about the Vitagraph company. The decision to bring his dog would literally set the stage for animal actors.
While writing his story the studio needed a dog to play opposite Florence Turner (“the Vitagraph girl”) and Laurence volunteered Jean to play the role. The relationships went so well that Vitagraph that they asked Laurence to sign on as Vitagraph’s leading canine star. Laurence stayed on as a director for several films from 1908 on including 18 films starring Jean. The audiences loved Jean and thus the first canine movie star was born. Continue reading