Q & A: Run, Joe, Run

I get a lot of e-mails from people asking me about television shows, made-for-TV movies or miniseries they remember from years or decades past. I try to answer each question as best I can. Every now and then I like to dig through my inbox and pull out a few choice e-mails to answer here at Television Obscurities for everyone to read. Keep reading for today’s questions and answers.

I’m looking for an old TV program. It’s called Run, Joe, Run about a German Shepard and an Army man who are partners.
Lisa

Run, Joe, Run (not to be confused with Run, Buddy, Run) was a live-action Saturday-morning kid’s show that aired on NBC from 1974 to 1976. Thirteen episodes were produced over the course of two seasons and, as was common with such shows, rerun constantly. Joe was German shepherd with the K-9 Corps who was accused of attacking his trainer. He escaped before he could be euthanized and thus the military placed a $200 bounty on his head.

Each week Joe helped someone in trouble even as his trainer and friend Sergeant Will Corey (played by Arch Whiting) chased after him, knowing that Joe had been falsely accused. Over the course of the first season the two came close to meeting but never did. When the second season premiered, Sgt. Corey had been recalled to his unit and Joe settled down with a new partner in the form of hiker Josh McCoy (played by Chad States).

Here’s how Bill D’Angelo explained the show’s conception to The Los Angeles Times in July 1974:

Richard Landau brought this idea to me about four years ago when I was producing Love: American Style. Ok, it’s The Fugitive, it’s Run for your Life. But they were “Les Miserables.” The part Whiting plays, the trainer, I think of as Ahab in “Moby Dick.” Joe is his white whale. Not that he wants to kill him or lock him up. The dog just doesn’t understand…

We tried for years to sell this as a prime-time show but no network was interested. Last winter, Joe Teritoro, head of children’s programs at NBC, asked if I’d do it as a kid show. I’d never done a kid show, but this was a chance to open my own shop: D’Angelo Productions. So here we are. [1]

Joe was played by D’Angelo’s own dog, Heinrich (whose mother was owned by William Self of 20th Century-Fox); Heinrich’s stunt double was another German shepherd named Gus [2]. Run, Joe, Run premiered on Saturday, September 7th, 1974. In May 1975, Cecil Smith praised the series, noting that “in writing, acting and production, it is the equal of almost any of the nighttime adventure shows” [3]. It was last seen on September 4th, 1976.

Works Cited:

1 “Run, Joe, Run—A Canine Fugitive.” Los Angeles Times. 15 Jul. 1974: E14.
2 Ibid.
3 Smith, Cecil. “Blowing Back from Hawaii.” Los Angeles Times. 9 May 1975: E1.


25 Comments

  • Cee Jay says:

    I remember this show and loved it, I was always rooting for the dog to escape or have his master find him and help him be exonerated.

    I believe it was one of only a handful of non animated Saturday Morning shows at that time because CBS had SHAZAM and ISIS and I think ABC had THE KROFT SUPERSHOW (Dr. Shrinker, ElectraWoman etc.) at that same time.

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    “Handful”? There was an “explosion” of live Saturday morning shows in the mid-’70s, ‘Cee Jay’….remember– “THE HUDSON BROTHERS RAZZLE-DAZZLE SHOW”? “THE HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS POPCORN MACHINE”? “THE LOST SAUCER”? “BIG JOHN, LITTLE JOHN”? “FAR OUT SPACE NUTS”? “THE GHOST BUSTERS”? “MUGGSY”? “THE RED HAND GANG”? “SIGMUND AND THE SEA MONSTER”? “W.O.G. {Way Out Games}”? “JUNIOR ALMOST ANYTHING GOES”? Should I continue?

    The only problem with “RUN, JOE, RUN” [10:30-11am(et)] was that NBC was too impatient for “ratings magic” in season two: “JOE” successfully survived the competition of “THE NEW ADVENTURES OF GILLIGAN” on ABC, and “PARTRIDGE FAMILY 2200 A.D.” (later replaced by repeats of ‘THE PEBBLES AND BAMM-BAMM SHOW” in mid-season) on CBS during the 1974-’75 season. However, CBS countered in the fall of ’75 with “THE SHAZAM!/ISIS HOUR” and ABC— initially with “UNCLE CROC’S BLOCK”, one of the most disastrous live action/animated amalgamations they ever scheduled (featuring no less than Charles Nelson Reilly and Jonathan Harris!): at least two of the cartoon series that aired within the show, “Wacky & Packy” and “Fraidy Cat”, are currently available on several “dollar DVD” compilations— eventually replaced by repeats of “SUPER FRIENDS” in mid-season. No matter what the competition was, though, NBC decided not enough kids were watching “RUN, JOE, RUN”, and dumped it after the summer of 1976, replaced by another live-action series, the short-lived “MONSTER SQUAD”….

  • Cee Jay says:

    I think I said handul Barry because if I remember those wee the only ones I watched regularly.

    I tried to watch the Globetrotter Show( they should have kept to B-Ball), Sigmund (H R Pufnstuf Jr.), Almost Anything Goes was okay I liked the format of cities against each other.

  • Tom Kovach says:

    Even as a teenager, I thought that “Run, Joe, Run” was very well done.

    I agree with the comments above that it was as good as almost any show on primetime back then.

    Yes, it was a K-9 version of “The Fugitive”, and there is nothing wrong with that.

    During my career in the Air Force, I was “catcher” for my buddies that were K-9 handlers.

    Part of my reason for getting involved in it was that TV series. I’ve owned four German shepherds.

    If there is ever a remake of “Run, Joe, Run”, I hope that my dog can be in it.

    http://www.BraveheartDog.com

    He’s big.

  • jeff cooper says:

    There were 26 episodes released, not 13. Lets hope it can either get on PBJ network (they have Skippy the Bush Kangaroo) or get a DVD release.

  • Bernadette says:

    Where can I purchase the series off “Run Joe Run” ?

  • Deb says:

    The only person I have ever found who ever heard of Run, Joe, Run, other than me, is my husband. One of a few reasons I swear we were destined to be together! I don’t remember the backstory – I just remember the German Shepard and how he used to remember back to his K9 training to help him through when he would encounter certain new situations. I am still a dog person to this day – maybe it’s why only 2 seasons when I was 9/10 years old still sticks with me….

    • Johnny B says:

      I LOVED this show growing up – 1974!!! I have 4 episodes from Season 1 on VHS, and turned my oldest daughter onto it when she was about 8 or 9. She is now in 20 and together we love these dogs.
      Growing up I always wanted a Jeep and a German Shepard for this reason – It’s taken a while but I just rebuilt my Jeep but gave it to my son, and my Great Dane passed away at 10, but just got a 10 week old Female German Shep and named her JOEY (go figure). We sat together just this morning watching these 4 VHS episodes – I hope when she’s bigger my Son will let me borrow back the Jeep and the circle will be complete.

  • Tobop's says:

    I’m with the several that asked “where can they purchase the series”? I’d like to know as well. Please reply.

  • John Greco says:

    I used to watch this tv show every Saturday morning when I was a kid and I really liked it. Can you tell me the title of a certain episode? From what I can remember, it opens with Joe and Josh relaxing on the beach, when all of a sudden a girl is heard calling for help. Josh then runs into the water and rescues her which is a very heroic scene I must say. I think the girl who nearly drowns turns out to be someone important. It goes on from there. Do you know the title of this episode? I look forward to hearing from you.

  • Christine D'Angelo says:

    So fun to see all these comments! This was my dad’s show and our family dog Heinrich (who was a wonderful, sweet, gentle giant). We have the episodes and are looking for ways to market them. We’d be open to suggestions !!

    • Larry palmer says:

      Please release them to DVD while U.S. Old guys are alive to relive joe!!! When did the star joe pass? I always loved that dog

    • Larry says:

      Let’s start a fund raising. RUN JOE RUN. People who donate get a dog tag with information about Heinrich who played Joe with a picture signed by Christine D’Angelo. Start a website donations with picture and dog tag are 50.00 . Just a thought. I sign up quickly.

  • Karen Martin says:

    My suggestion would be to pay for a consultation with an experienced entertainment lawyer. It’s much cheaper to learn your rights regarding contracts, royalties, and copyrights up front, instead of waiting until after you have entered into a shaky deal with someone who may or may not have your best interests at heart.

    This is especially important before starting a business partnership with friends or relatives.

    Best wishes in finding a way to market Run, Joe, Run.

  • darlie says:

    I loved this show. For Christmas in 1974 or 75, I got the “play set”. With the German Shephard & all his rescue accoutrements.
    Great show!

  • Michele says:

    I’d love to get a copy of this series. My brother talks about how good it was. He watched it growing up but I managed to be too young to follow it. I love dogs so much and if there is ever a chance you release it, please remember all of us here would love to buy a copy. Please remember my email address ! I’d buy a copy today!
    [email protected]

    • Larry says:

      I had 4 episodes on a VHS tape. My uncle put them on a DVD . But it so hard to really see it to enjoy. But it works out for me personally . I always loved run Joe run . I remember like yesterday. I hope it gets a DVD release soon. I have grandchildren who would fall in love with it.

  • marge says:

    You can watch some of it on you tube.

  • Jeff Matz says:

    Great childhood show to watch! My favorite show when I was 8 years old. I love the memory recall the dog had at certain times. Still brings me chills! I would love to see this get to disc! Oh, how I miss Saturday mornings in the mid 70’s!

    Thanks. Jeff–Minnesota

    • Larry says:

      Jeff , you and I both get the same gut thrill feeling! I joined the army and every time I heard someone say Joe …. I thought of gi Joe and Joe Joe Joe jump jump jump

  • Larry says:

    BRING RUN JOE RUN TO DVD!!!!!! we all should start a fund raiser to have them made.

  • Johnny Couck says:

    What about Chad States and Arch Whiting ? Are they still acting ?
    This series was also very popular here in Belgium,

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