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Rusty's Birthday (1949)

Passed | | Drama | 3 November 1949 (USA)
In the small town of Lawtonville, Illinois, Rusty, high school junior Danny Mitchell's beloved pet German Shepherd, is celebrating a birthday soon. Danny is giving Rusty a new engraved ... See full summary »


Seymour Friedman


Brenda Weisberg (original screenplay), Al Martin (based on characters created by)




Complete credited cast:
Ted Donaldson ... Danny Mitchell
John Litel ... Hugh Mitchell
Ann Doran ... Ethel Mitchell
Jimmy Hunt ... Jeff Neeley
Mark Dennis Mark Dennis ... Bill Neeley
Ray Teal ... Virgil Neeley
Lillian Bronson ... Carrie Simmons
Flame ... Rusty


In the small town of Lawtonville, Illinois, Rusty, high school junior Danny Mitchell's beloved pet German Shepherd, is celebrating a birthday soon. Danny is giving Rusty a new engraved collar for his birthday off of which they can hang his license. However, before Rusty's birthday, Rusty, through a series of misadventures, goes missing without any identification. He eventually ends up with the Neeleys - father Virgil, teen-aged son Bill, and infant son Jeff - a poor itinerant family, as Virgil looks for work in the area. Danny assumes that the Neeleys stole Rusty, which was not the case. Beyond Danny jumping to this conclusion from which he does not budge, he runs into a larger problem with young Jeff, who believes Rusty, who he has renamed Gladly, is rightfully his. But Danny butts heads with Bill even more. Bill and Danny's dislike of each other seems to stem not from each other per se as they don't even really know each other, but what the other represents. As Virgil hopes to stay ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


RUSTY TAKES THE CAKE! (original ad - all caps) See more »




Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

3 November 1949 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Follows For the Love of Rusty (1947) See more »


Beautiful Dreamer
Written by Stephen Foster
Performed by Lillian Bronson
See more »

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User Reviews

Yesteryear's Low Budget Film
10 July 2002 | by remobecSee all my reviews

Don't get me wrong. I like family movies, and love kids movies, especially the ones with dogs. Today, kids movies tend to be full of foolish gags (Cruella DeVil falls in a giant muffin maker, etc.) But yesteryear's kid's movies seem to consist of almost sickeningly sweet people. They're not perfect, but in the end, they do the right thing (to the dot), and EVERYTHING works out, everyone is best friends, and everyone is better for this adventure. I think the movie makers were working very hard to teach every little boy and girl good morals and manners. Not that this is bad but I think they could do it a little less obviously, and make the people a little bit more. . . human.

Yes, it gets a little sickeningly sweet. Danny Mitchell's (the main character) family is perfect in every respect. Watching them interact makes it so obvious that this is only a movie. Who would really talk like that?!? His parents always know what's best to do and are always perfect. They help those less fortunate themselves, and give Danny good advice (being careful to discreetly say "I told you so" afterward he doesn't follow it).

It's not realistic. But nonetheless, I do appreciate the values that it has, despite the fact that the people are a little too perfect. There are too many movies nowadays with broken homes and disturbed families. It's a nice picture of small town life, even if it's not quite accurate.

Flame the Wonder Dog plays Rusty. He is a very good actor and has several fun tricks in his repertoire. Rusty, too, is perhaps a little too perfect as a dog, but not too much. I think perhaps it's a fairly accurate portrayal of a boy's dog who was constantly by his master's side, and was able to learn a lot through several years of his master's training. Besides, very few dog movies DON'T have a dog that is at least a little extraordinary.

Not the best of the "Rusty" series, but it is not bad as a kid's movie. Good values, clean fun.

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