I received alot of questions about my grandfather and his dog Pete--most wanted to know if he was in The Little Rascals--that answer is no. Although he was friends with the cast, Buckwheat was one of his closest friends...he always told me they would eat pickles together :)
My grandfather, better know to me as 'Pepa' and to others as Ted Lucenay grew up in California--my great grandfather, Harry Lucenay was the owner of Pete (and Pete's dad Pal). Pete first got his break in show business in the 1920s when he took over Pal's, his dads , place in the Buster Brown silent movies. The Buster Brown director, Hal Roach, went on to direct Pete in the Our Gang comedies. Infamous for the ring around his left eye and his funny antics, Pete quickly stole the show.
Pete died in 1946, when my Pepa was 18. My grandfather joined the Army and after his discharge, settled in the Waco area in the 1950s when he married my grandmother, MaPerk.
Before my grandfather passed away it was normal for him to be bombarded with requests for pictures and information about his beloved animal. Museums have contacted him, and the Waco-McLennan County Library also wanted information for a display--there is a local channel on TV that they would air my grandfather on with him talking about Pete--Zach never got to meet my Pepa, but shortly after he passed away I could hear his voice in the other room, as I walked in Zach was watching his show...it was so emotional and so surreal to see my grandfather, healthy-happy-and talking about his beloved Pete...it was also really neat that Zach got to see him as well :)
Although my grandpa was used to the attention, Pete was more than a celebrity to him. He was a best friend.
"He was a gentle, playful and warm dog," Pepa said. "He would sleep at the foot of my bed. He was just the regular family dog. I really miss him." ...."He was always recognized,"... "Everybody loved him."
The black ring around Pete's left eye was not the work of a makeup artist. The natural skin coloration was such an oddity that it became certified by Ripley's Believe It or Not.
I remember asking my Pepa several times about Pete, I would curl up in his lap and just listen to the story over and over...