Rough Collie, is "the world's most famous
dog" and a
fictional character who has starred in many
over the years.
The character of Lassie was created by
Eric Knight in Lassie Come-Home, published as a
story in the
Saturday Evening Post in
1938 and as a
1940. In Knight's
story, a young
boy owns an exceptionally beautiful and loyal collie, but when the family faces
severe economic hardship, the dog is sold to a wealthy nobleman. Both boy and
dog grieve over the separation, made worse when the new owner transports Lassie
hundreds of miles away to his estate in
However, the collie's instinct and courage cause her to escape, and the book
follows Lassie's desperate efforts to return to the boy she loves.
In 1943 the book
was made into what would become the first Lassie movie, also titled
Lassie Come Home (no hyphen), which generally followed the plot of the
Roddy McDowall starred. Since then, there have been numerous sequels,
television series and spin-offs.
The dog was so popular that it is one of only three dogs awarded a star on
Hollywood Walk of Fame, the others being
On the 1954-1974
Lassie, she had a series of owners, the first two being Jeff (Tommy
Rettig) (reruns of this era were later
Jeff's Collie) and Timmy (Jon
Provost). Both were farm boys frequently helped out of scrapes by their
Lockhart, who had previously appeared in
Son of Lassie, took over the role of Timmy's mother from
Cloris Leachman. Ranger Corey came later and, near the end of the series,
Lassie struck out on her own, with no regular human master.
The first dog to play the role of Lassie was
Pal, owned by
Rudd Weatherwax and his brother
Frank Weatherwax. Before Pal's death, he was bred with a number of
resulting in hundreds of offspring, several of which have performed under the
name Lassie. Most have been male, because their coats are usually fuller and
more impressive than for the bitches. Because the males tend to be larger, they
are considered more physically suitable to perform many of Lassie's stunts. As
is usually the case with canine film stars, several uncredited doubles have been
employed in the films and TV shows.
Charles Sturridge has been attached to a film based on Knight's novel,
planned for a 2006 release. Rudd Weatherwax died in
1985, and his son,
Bob Weatherwax, has been handling the Lassie star collies in the years since
Currently, the "official" Lassie is used mainly for "celebrity appearances"
at dog shows.
The Lassie theme song, "Whistle," was written by
6 videos were made by
Wonder in 1994
Lassie (1954-1974 tv series - a.k.a
Timmy and Lassie)
Lassie's Rescue Rangers(1973
- Lassie: A New Beginning (1978 movie)
The New Lassie (1989 series)
Lassie (1997 series)
Lassie Come Home (1943)
Pal plays title character
Son of Lassie (1945 -
Pal plays title character, while a different dog appears as Lassie)
Courage of Lassie (1946 - stars
Elizabeth Taylor, who also appeared in first film; despite title,
Pal as "Bill."
Hills of Home (1948 - a.k.a. "Master of Lassie" -
Pal actually plays "Lass.")
Challenge to Lassie (1949 - retells
Greyfriar's Bobby story.)
The Magic of Lassie (1978)
(In production USA/Ireland)
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