Thanhouser Career Synopsis: Shep, a collie dog, appeared in Thanhouser films in 1914 and 1915.
Biographical Notes: Shep, The Thanhouser Collie, also known as The Thanhouser Dog, appeared in several Thanhouser films in late 1914 and early 1915. His owner was John ("Jack") Harvey, a Thanhouser director. In 1913, when John Harvey was with Vitagraph, Shep was with Vitagraph also, although he received very little publicity there, especially in comparison to Jean, The Vitagraph Dog, who was even featured on a postcard! The Motion Picture Magazine, September 1914, stated that while Shep was with Vitagraph his owner was Arthur Ashley.
A notice in the November 28, 1914 issue of Reel Life told of Shep's activities in a film: "In The Barrier of Flames, a forthcoming Thanhouser release, Shep, the beautiful collie, who daily reports for work at the New Rochelle studio, performed another daring rescue, distinguishing himself by a feat of human heroism and sagacity by climbing a ladder and rescuing Helen Badgley from the top story of a burning house."
The New York Star, November 18, 1914, carried this sad article: "SHEP HAS PLAYED HIS LAST PART. The idol of the children who go to see the moving pictures, the admiration of the grown ups and the wonder of the screen actors, has played his last part. There was much sorrow expressed last week at the death of Shep, the Thanhouser dog, who had created a unique part for himself in moving picture work. For Shep was a dramatic actor and could register sorrow or joy with the ease of a great artist. He was known to thousands for his work upon the screen, and though he had many imitators few were even in his class.
"Jack Harvey, his owner, is a director at the New Rochelle studio, and in many of his plays Shep played the lead. Last week, for the first time in several months, Mr. Harvey was unaccompanied. Shep was 'under the weather,' and the veterinarian decided that a short rest was what was needed. The rest was longer than anyone anticipated. There was genuine sorrow expressed, not only in New Rochelle but all over the country. A huge wreath from the Vitagraph players testified to their remembrance and affection; the Thanhousers sent another, and other companies sent messages and flowers. Shep recently played in a picture that made instantaneous success and is one of the big European sellers. It was A Dog's Love in which Shep played leads with little Helen Badgley. Two other well-known plays in which he 'starred' are: Shep's Race With Death, A Dog's Good Deed, and a number made in other studios. Among the latter, The Violin of M'sieur was shown as a feature at the Vitagraph Theatre not long ago."
The New Rochelle Pioneer, June 19, 1915, told of the next generation: "Peggy and Shep, pups of Shep, the famous screen dog that John Harvey worked in so many pictures, were taken out for the first time this week, and although they showed considerable nervousness, they soon settled down and enjoyed their rambles at Dunwoodie. Both have kept the Harvey kennel awake on their return recounting the wonders of the great outside world which they were privileged to visit."
Note: A dog named Shep, described as "the handsome and well-known acting dog," appeared in the May 20, 1913 Majestic release of Shep, the Hero. As the Majestic and Thanhouser studios were closely related at the time, it may have been the case that Shep performed with both companies.
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