Welcome to America Comes Alive!, a site I created to share little-known stories of America’s past. These stories are about Americans—people just like you—who have made a difference and changed the course of history. Look around the site and find what inspires you.

Pop culture is as American as apple pie. Enjoy the stories behind favorite hobbies, sports, and collectibles.


The Dog That Played Lassie

Lassie became a movie star despite starting life as a spirited, Lassieunwanted pup.

In 1940 Rudd Weatherwax and his brother, Frank, had just started their own Studio Dog Training School, opting to run their own business rather than continue to work for others.  A man who was having difficulty with his puppy wanted to bring the dog to the School for training. The dog was from an AKC litter, Glamis Collies, but he had been sold to a family because he was judged only “pet quality.” His current owner wasn’t  even sure he was that.

When the car pulled up, the man opened the back door and the 8-month-old collie scampered out of the backseat: “…he came bounding into my yard, rollicking with all the friskiness—and maybe a little more—to be found in most puppies…” wrote Rudd Weatherwax in his book, The Story of Lassie (long out-of-print and only published in London).

Continue reading…


"What can one person do?"
Read some of the stories on this site; you'll see that they revolve around single individuals who worked toward change.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead


Strongheart
Strongheart was the first dog “movie star” to appear in dramatic roles. The handsome German shepherd was fast and strong; smart and capable and always managed to save the day, thereby setting the stage for Rin-Tin-Tin and all those that followed. The dogs that had preceded Strongheart… Continue reading »

Taco Bell Dog
The Taco Bell dog, Gidget, was a 12-pound Chihuahua that was in the right place at the right time to become a big star. Taco Bell Dog Discovered Sue Chipperton, an animal trainer with Studio Animal Services, a company that provides all types of animals for the entertainment… Continue reading »

Fatty Arbuckle and Luke
Fatty Arbuckle’s dog, Luke, was one of the most talented stars of silent films.  In a day when camera tricks were technologically not possible, Luke is seen jumping from one wall on a building rooftop to another narrow wall across the way. He climbs from… Continue reading »

Delacorte monkeys
The Delacorte Clock in Central Park has been delighting families with its carousel of animals dancing to musical chimes since it was first created in 1965. The musical clock built above the arcade between the main part of the Central Park Zoo and the Children’s Zoo, was… Continue reading »

James Reese Europe
James Reese Europe (1880-1919) was a gifted musician who achieved numerous firsts in bringing African-American musicians and music into the mainstream.  As a conductor and composer, he is credited with bringing ragtime and jazz to European audiences. He enlisted in what was to become the 369th… Continue reading »

Dorothy Dandridge
Dorothy Dandridge (1922-1965) was a successful actress and singer. She started performing as a child in local variety shows, and then eventually made a career for herself in films. Her portrayal of the lead role in Carmen Jones brought her positive acclaim, including the honor of being … Continue reading »

This Day in History

On August 30, 1967, Thurgood Marshall became the first African American to be confirmed as a Supreme Court justice. Prior to this, he was one of the country’s leading lawyers arguing for the “little guy” in many cases that challenged the “separate but equal” doctrine. He was the winning litigator in 1954 on Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, which was to change education forever. He remained on the Supreme Court for 24 years before retiring, leaving a strong legacy.

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