20+ Facts About “Inspector Rex” That Won Our Hearts 30 Years Ago
In 1994, the first season of the series Inspector Rex was released and immediately became very popular. The audience watched the adventures of the police officer and his dog with bated breath. They cried with emotion when the heroes came to each other’s rescue in dangerous situations, and laughed when they couldn’t share a hot dog. Our favorite TV show has turned 30 so we decided to tell you some interesting facts about it.
- The idea to make a detective series starring a smart dog belongs to the Austrian filmmakers, Peter Hajek and Peter Moser. Hajek shared, “I really love animals. And it was cool to work with a dog and to learn a lot about these animals just by watching him.”
- He also added, “I’ll be honest: I enjoyed writing a script about a dog more than I enjoyed writing a script about people. And anyone who says I was looking for fame is lying. I was just doing what I was passionate about.”
The cast with the series creator
- So, the dog’s partner became Tobias Moretti, the actor of Austrian-Italian origin, who got the role of Inspector Richard Moser. By the way, this character is the namesake of one of the creators of the series for a reason: he was named after Peter Moser.
- 40 German Shepherd dogs were tested for the role of Rex until the dog with the amazing name, Santo vom Haus Zieglmayer, was selected. His owner was the German dog breeder, Helmut Brossmann. And Rex’s body double was his own brother.
Otti v Haus Zieglmayer is the mother of the first dog who played Rex.
- But even though the star of the show was found, the dog still needed time to be trained properly. And the training took 5 months. Herr Santo vom Haus Zieglmayer diligently trained up to 4 hours daily. He was taught commands in both English and German.
- Santo’s trainer was Teresa Ann Miller, the daughter of Hollywood trainer Karl Miller, who trained dogs for the movies Beethoven, Cujo, and many others.
- This is what Teresa said about her work on Inspector Rex, “The most interesting thing to me was the challenge. There’s a lot of things that the dog is capable of doing in the show that I’ve never had an opportunity to do myself. I tried to train the dog in a way that he enjoyed the process. As soon as he understood what was required of him, I would end the session to make it positive. I didn’t want him to get bored with our sessions and stop seeing them as a fun game.”
- Probably everyone remembers the opening scene of the show, where Rex spectacularly breaks a window. Of course, real glass wasn’t used during the filming, so as not to harm the dog. But it’s really interesting how the trainer taught him this trick.
- Teresa first got Rex to jump through an empty wooden frame. The frame was then gradually covered with a plastic sheet which had a hole in the middle. This helped Rex to jump through whilst getting used to certain pressure against his back. Rex repeated the jump until the hole in the middle of the frame was so small that the plastic sheet tore. Finally, “sugar” glass replaced the plastic sheet, thus giving the effect of real glass.
- The first season of the show was released in 1994 and immediately won the hearts of the audience. In Germany alone, the show was watched by about 10 million viewers. And although most characters spoke Austrian dialects, many countries bought the rights to broadcast the series and translated it.
- Europe was swept by “Rexomania.” In the Netherlands, they began to produce bubble gum which had inserts featuring Rex, in Italy, you could find albums for collecting Rex stickers, and in Germany, different merchandise was sold: calendars, postcards, books and even CDs with the sound of the famous dog barking.
- In one of the early seasons, you can see the now-Hollywood superstar, Christoph Waltz. He portrayed a doll shop owner who leads a double life. Later in an interview, the actor was asked what it was like to transition from an important role in a historical drama Catherine The Great to a small part in a series starring a dog. And he answered that he was fine with it.
- In almost every episode, the cops ate hot dogs, and were unable to share them. And Rex was always trying to steal it from someone. Wolf Bachofner, who played the role of Moser’s partner, later revealed that although he enjoyed eating hot dogs in the series, in reality he couldn’t stand this food for 5 years after the filming.
- 1998. The show is watched, the show is loved. Suddenly, Tobias Moretti announces that he is leaving the show. The actor asked the writers to kill his character.
- Tobias shared, “To dedicate 4 years of your life to a dog, even if it’s as smart as Rex, is, you know, overkill. My girlfriend had to constantly clean the apartment from the dog hair I brought in on my clothes from work. I’m surprised she agreed to marry me at all. But it was important to me that my character’s line came to a smooth conclusion.”
- It also later emerged that Moretti hated when the dog licked his face. And this happened at the end of almost every episode, when Moser and Rex rejoiced at the successful capture of a villain.
- Anyway, the creators respected the actor’s decision and granted his request: they filmed a 2-hour finale for Moser. Needless to say, the tragic fate of the screen policeman literally broke the audience’s hearts.
- Trainer Teresa Ann Miller later said that the episode with Moser’s death was one of the most important in her career. According to Teresa, her student, when portraying despair and grief, performed as good as Robert De Niro.
- Moretti’s departure made many people upset, but, as we all know, the show must go on. So, Rex needed another partner. And this partner became the actor of German descent Gedeon Burkhard, who bypassed 25 competitors and landed the role of police officer Alexander Brandtner. Some attentive viewers even noticed that he had already appeared in one of the early episodes of the series, where he played a criminal.
- It’s funny that this actor once said that he’d never film soap operas. But when he got a chance to work with a famous dog, he didn’t miss it. For the sake of this project, the actor even moved from Los Angeles to Vienna with his girlfriend.
- Gedeon Burkhard was delighted with his four-legged colleague, “Rex is a professional actor and extraordinary colleague. He knows exactly when is rehearsal and when is shooting. In rehearsal, he does only half, but when the camera starts shooting he does his best and gives maximum. Rex needs half less shots than me!” The actor adored his work so much that even put a sticker Inspector Rex on his car.
- In 1999, Santo von Haus Zigelmeyer retired, and the starring role was succeeded by a German Shepard dog named Rhett Butler. After finishing his acting career, Santo stayed with his trainer, who took him to her home in Hollywood.
- The creators of the series partially changed Rex’s character as well. For example, he stopped being jealous of his partner to women. With Richard Moser, the dog tried to spoil all his potential romantic relationships. But with Alexander Brandtner, he on the contrary tried to help in any way, and even brought a rose in his teeth for his love interest.
- Gedeon Burkhard wasn’t very popular in Austria and Germany, as ratings showed. But internationally, Burkhard became even more popular than Moser, especially, in Italy. Also, the US and Australia got interested in the series.
- Anyway, the actor left the project in 2001 when his contract expired. It was rumored that he wanted to leave the show even earlier because of the harsh criticism from German and Austrian viewers.
- So, the policeman Alex Brandtner suffered the same fate as Richard Moser, he died in the line of duty. However, the episode with his death was broadcast only in Germany. This is why people from other countries couldn’t understand why Rex got a new partner, Marc Hoffmann.
- Rex’s new partner did not impress the audience much. And although the actor Alexander Pschill also got a lot of fans, most of the audience were indignant. They didn’t like the fact that Marc’s romantic relationship seemed to be more important than Rex’s work.
- In 2004, the Austrian production of the series was completed. It is noteworthy that the project “outlived” Santo, the first dog who portrayed Rex, for only a year. Everyone’s favorite went over the rainbow bridge in 2003, at the age of 12.
- In 2008, it was decided to relaunch the show in Italy under the same name. But that is a different story.
And if you want to dive into nostalgia and remember other TV shows of your childhood, then here is an interesting article about Charmed TV show.