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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)


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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






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 My Dog Rusty (1948) See more »


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

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User Reviews

Fair Way to End the Series
1 August 2012 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Rusty's Birthday (1949)

** (out of 4)

The eighth and final film in Columbia's Rusty series features the dog playing a much bigger part than in previous films. This time out Danny (Ted Donaldson) buys his dog a collar for his birthday but he doesn't want to put it on him until the special day. When Rusty goes chasing a bad guy he ends up with a friendly couple who thinks he's a stray and takes him with them and soon Rusty must find his way back home. His adventure back leads to a poor family who are struggling to make a living but soon the dog brings the family closer to Danny and his parents (John Litel, Ann Doran). RUSTY'S BIRTHDAY runs just 60-minutes but there's quite a bit of story in such a little film. Or, I should say, there's a lot of small stuff going on in this film that never really adds up in the end and this final episode, while decent, really doesn't accomplish much. I think fans of the series should at least get a little entertainment out of this thing but there's still no doubt that it's one of the weakest. The biggest problem is that the story never really can focus on anything because it's constantly jumping back and forth between Danny's story and the story of the poor family. It doesn't help that Danny is once again being a jerk and after a while his attitude does begin to anger the viewer. As with previous entries, the performances by the three leads are all good and we even get a strong performance by Ray Teal as the poor father trying to give his sons a better life. RUSTY'S BIRTHDAY might not be a complete winner but at just 60-minutes it's worth watching for fans.

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