Writer/director Richard Lanni’s indie animated true-life “tail,” Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero, has been picked up by Paramount Home Media for release as both DVD and Blu-ray product offerings on Dec. 11.
The ARR for this Fun Academy film production works out to 242 days (released theatrically on limited number of screens this past April) and domestic box office receipts totaled $3.1 million.
Filmmaker Richard Lanni came across the story of a Boston Terrier serving as the mascot of the 26th Infantry Division in World War I quite by accident. As he tells it, he was working on research for a World War I documentary series when he came across the story of a stray dog being taken in by the 26th and then traveling with them to France (American Expeditionary Force) in 1917. The little dog, named Stubby (short tail) became a war hero … a real war hero!
The challenge for Lanni was to tell the story of the little dog’s courage and deeds during his 18 months of trench warfare … and keep it “G” rated. The horrors of trench warfare have been well documented in the movies and it is a subject that doesn’t lend itself to “G” ratings. But, Lanni and his animation (CGI) production team manage to pull it off, an animated, “G-rated” World War I adventure about a little dog in combat!
So what did Stubby do? He served with the troops, alerted them to a sneak mustard gas attack, found wounded soldiers in no-man’s land and on one particular evening discovered a German soldier trying to slip into the American trenches … and captured him!
For these deeds, and many more, Stubby was given the official Army rank of Sergeant and ended up being the most decorated canine in U.S. military history. He served out the war, returned home and toured the country, even meeting presidents Wilson, Coolidge and Harding … and then lived out the remainder of his life in retirement as a genuine war hero.