White Fang is a novel published in 1906 by Jack London. The story is told primarily though the eyes of a wolf and her mate, One Eye, after they leave their pack. They have a litter of cubs and after One Eye is killed by a lynx, the lone survivor puppy and the mother are on their own. They encounter some Native Americans where one recognizes the femals as his brother’s wolfdog, Kichie and they name her cub White Fang. Years later White Fang is sold to a dog fighter.
White Fang does well in his dog fighting days and is about to lose his first match when a rich hunter (Weedon Scott) rescues him. Weedon attempts to domesticate White Fang and though persistence and patients he succeeds. Weedon then moves back to California and White Fang follows him him. Weedon is up for another challenge of teaching White Fang the new rules of home life. Towards the end White Fang rescues Weedon from a murderer (Jim Hall) and he is donned the name ” The Sacred Wolf” by the ladies of the estate. At the end you see White Fang resting with a litter of puppies he sired with a sheep dog named Collie.
The first cinematic production of the novel was a silent film in 1925 and starred Theodore von Eltz as Weedon Scott and Strongheart as White Fang. Laurence Trimble was Strongheart’s owner and trainer (He was also the film’s director). Strongheart was the first canine hero star and is often credited as being the first canine star (but the first is Laurence’s first dog, Jean (the Vitagraph Dog). Strongheart (Etzel von Oringer) was a military / police German shepherd imported from Germany after World War I. Laurence spent months training Strongheart to become a canine star and when Laurence was asked to direct the film, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that the canine hero would be his pick to play the role of White Fang.
In 1936 the story was made into another movie, this time with sound. The film starred Michael Whalen as Weedon Scott and was directed by David Butler. there are no credits to who the dog who played White Fang nor are there any credits for the dog’s owner or trainer(s).
In 1947 Finland put out their version of the White Fang story starring Oleg Zhakov as Weedon Scott and was directed by Aleksandr Zguridi. Like the 1936 version, there was no credit to who the dog who played White Fang was or his owner / trainer.
In 1973 an Italian movie loosely based on the story, “Zanna Bianca” was released. It starred Franco Nero as Jason Scott and was directed by Lucio Fulci. Unfortunately, this version also does not list any credits for the dog or its owner / trainer. there was also a sequel “Il ritomo di Zamma Bianca” (“Challenge to White Wolf”) that was released in 1974.
85 years after the novel was first published, Disney put out their own version in 1991. Like the Italian version, this movie is loosely based on the novel but doesn’t follow the storyline. White Fang was played by a wolf-malamute hybrid named Jed (owned by Clint Rowe). Disney lists the following people as the on set trainers:
- Tim Ahrend (Trainer)
- Deise Bernt (Sled dog trainer)
- Joe Henderson (Sled dog trainer)
- Jackie Martin (Trainer)
- Stacey Packer (Trainer)
- Clint Rowe (Lead Trainer, Owner of “White Fang”, White Fang’s trainer)
- Lalanea Rowe (Trainer)
- Scott Rowe (Trainer)
- Lynne Seus (Trainer)
- John Simpson (Trainer)
- Clint Youngsteen (Trainer)
In 1994 Disney released a sequel, “White Fang 2: Myth of the White Wolf”. Jean M Simpson is listed as being the animal traner for this movie.
In 1993 France put out a short TV series (released in Canada and France) based on the White Fang novel. Ursula Brauner was credited for being the animal trainer.
In 1997 an animated version of the story was released in the USA. Lexine Bondoc was the voice for the young White Fang and Danny Gerard was the voice of the adult White Fang. Heidi Stallings was the voice for Collie.