Page v (Introduction)
In the early days of black-and-white television in the 1950's, while Lassie, Rin-Tin-Tin, and even Superman received most of their public acclaim in "reel life," Rex of White Way served as a hero in "real life." Born on September 26, 1946, he was internationally known from about age two onwards for his exploits...and his adventures. In a day when there were no snowmobiles, Rex was called "The Blizzard King" because of his ability to make a path through blinding snow.
He performed over 30 arduous, sled dog "rescue missions" including his most famous: "The Modern-Day Donner Party" Rescue in 1952 when he led the White Way Team carrying Dr. Lawrence D. Nelson to stranded passengers aboard the snowbound train, City of San Francisco. As you will also read in the Rex story, just like Superman, Rex routinely jumped through windows, and at one point was considered "The Strongest Dog on the Planet." He also "starred" in an episode of the popular TV show, "Have Gun Will Travel," and was "on the set" as "guard dog" to John Wayne during the filming of "Island in the Sky" in Lake Tahoe. The Duke was so taken with Rex that he kept him on location for three additional months to have someone to "pal around with."
We all need heroes to admire and serve as role models in overcoming life's difficulties. Not considered good enough to meet the "standard" for the dog show world's "Conformation Ring," because he was over the height standard, his coat was too short, and he had those four long gangly legs that "looked like they came out of one socket," he was sent out to trainer Lloyd Van Sickle to "make himself useful." Rex did much more than that! He became a figure larger than life.
Rex is every man or woman or child who has been told he or she "doesn't have what it takes," and yet somehow through hard work and hidden talent makes it in a huge way! I hope you enjoy the story of Rex and his adventures through life. He was truly the epitome of "man's best friend" and an inspiring example of why dogs are so universally loved.
As with the story of "Seabiscuit," Rex's story has been waiting to be "uncovered" and pieced together. Agnes Mason, Rex's breeder, had thought before she died in 1970 that a movie should be made of Rex's life story.
Above all, maybe it is as author Bob Ward remarked on one occasion:
"Rex was 5 pounds of bones and hair, and the rest was all heart."
Rex had heart, high intelligence, speed, and world class strength. And that is why we have a story to tell!
Page 107 Re City of San Francisco Train Rescue (1952)
"The only hope appeared to be dog sled. Southern Pacific called on Lloyd Van Sickle, one of the top drivers in the country. The only problem was that his leader, Rex of White Way, was at a dog show in San Francisco, hundreds of miles away. He was preparing for his turn in the ring. He didn't show much but here was a chance for that elusive major. It was a bench show which meant he was supposed to stay at the show all day."