I mentioned last week that I was toying with the idea of adding a third regular feature to my blog, Flashback Friday. These posts would be about some memory I have from my younger days that just happened to jar itself out of my head one day because I hadn’t even thought of it in years. Most of the entries would be from the 80’s, 90’s, and given the way things become obsolete in a flash anymore, perhaps even from the past decade as well! For my very first Flashback Friday post, I’m going to write about the subject that inspired me to begin this series in the first place….
While me and a few of my friends over on the message board were in our chatroom one night about a month ago, one of them mentioned about something being “can shaped”, and the image that popped in my head was essentially what I led off this post with, and that in turn led me to recall the days of feeding our dogs when I was just a little boy. Grab the can opener, struggle to pop open a can of Strongheart dog food, and dump the solid, can-shaped contents on top of the dry food in the dog’s bowl. I then realized I hadn’t even thought of Strongheart in who knows how long, and wondered if it was even still manufactured today…
So for this Friday’s flashback, let’s talk about Strongheart dog food!
First off, credit for the above image, which I found in a series of posts on Strongheart dog food labels from the blog Grandma Slump.
The first thing I noticed in doing a rudimentary search on Google is that there are very few references to Strongheart at all, which leads me to believe it likely is a defunct brand, or at least as we knew it over three decades ago. According to this article from 2006, it looks like a company named Natural Life Pet Products bought out the Strongeheart dog food brand sometime in the 1980’s, but it doesn’t go into specifics whether they continued to use the brand name or not.
Anyway, this was the popular low-tier brand of dog food back in the early 80’s, and as far as I can tell, the peak of its popularity seemed to be in the 1950’s and 60’s. A quick glance at the label shows it was first manufactured in 1931. The labels were quite distinctive and colorful, and they all featured a happy looking German shepherd looking out at you from inside a circle. Of course, I didn’t think he was all too happy looking since I knew some pretty mean German shepherds from the neighborhood that used to scare the crap out of me when I was a kid…
I was unaware until doing my research this morning that Strongheart dog food was named after a very famous actor from the 1920’s!
That’s Strongheart there on the left, obviously, who was one of the first canine actors in movie history! His real name was Etzel von Oringer (yes, even dogs apparently need an alias in Hollywood), and he was a police dog in Germany before he came to the States to begin his acting career. According to his biography on IMDB, Strongheart appeared in movies throughout the 1920’s such as “White Fang”. He frequently co-starred with a female German shepherd named Jule, who became Strongheart’s love interest, and many of their offspring themselves later became movie stars. Forget the Baldwins, the Douglases, and the Marx Brothers… the Stronghearts were the original acting family!
So, do any of you have any memories of Strongheart dog food out there, or know of its current status? I was surprised how little I could find about it on the internet where even retro items generally have devoted fans out there and seemingly everything from modern US history is documented somewhere. At least the lack of information on it justifies its status here as a truly forgotten memory of days gone by… and isn’t it such a joy to be reminded of something you hadn’t given a thought to in a long time, no matter how trivial or mundane it may seem?
Until next time, (plop) enjoy your canned shaped dinner!