When the weekly musical variety show A Couple of Joes premiered on ABC in 1949, the titular hosts Joe Rosenfield and Joe Bushkin were quickly eclipsed in fame by their occasional co-star J.J. Morgan, a three-year-old basset hound owned by producer Richard Gordon.
Morgan didn’t do tricks or perform feats of agility and intelligence, but his soulful snout and droopy eyes won the hearts of audiences.
His deadpan reactions to the actors and musicians around him quickly earned him guest spots on other television shows.
A tongue-in-cheek LIFE magazine article in March 1950 declared him a celebrity, praising his “polished acting and superb critical aplomb.”
Here’s to one of the OG animal memes, in black and white.