I enjoy all the letters I get from Lassie fans, but some questions by now are "regulars." Hope this provides some up-front answers for those times when I cannot get directly to my e-mail.
The following questions are answered on the Lassie Facts page:
And here's an entire page just for the different versions of the Lassie theme songs and opening titles and closing credits sequences.
Where can I watch Lassie?
Lassie is presently running on a Christian channel called "Angel2," which is carried by Dish Network. As of October 2013 it looked as if they were going to be running the series from beginning to end, having started with the first episode, "Inheritance," and at that time broadcasting Season 8, but then they switched back to the first year of the series. It is also carred on FETV, which is an outlet of LeSea Broadcasting/World Harvest Television. Both these channels may also be carried by DirecTV and cable systems. The show airs during the afternoon, along with The Lone Ranger, Sergeant Preston of the Yukon, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, and The Roy Rogers Show, (aimed not at the series' original audience, children, but at the Baby Boomer generation, with commercials for walk-in tubs, elder safety devices, and medical insurance). Other channels reported showing the series are the "side channels" that were created by the move to digital from analog television, such as CoziTV, Smile of a Child, PB&J, and RTV (Retro Television Network). Me-TV has also been known to broadcast the series.
TVLand in Canada, which so long showed the series uncut, revamped its schedule and is no longer showing Lassie. Also, Canada's Pet Network was broadcasting the 1997 Cinar series at one time, but no longer shows it.
You can watch all of Season 5 on Hulu. Warning: they have mis-titled "The Big Cat" as "Trapped," and "Trapped" as "The Big Cat."
Where can I buy Lassie on DVD?
Check here to see what Lassie episodes are available on DVD.
Despite requests from people who would love to own season sets, there are no season sets available here in the United States. There were season sets of the Jeff episodes apparently available in Japan for a while (although the listings have been pulled from Amazon.co.jp). There are sets of the ranger episodes in both Germany and France. There is a nine-volume set of the compilation movies (movies made from multipart episodes; also see here), plus Magic of Lassie and Lassie: A New Beginning, in Great Britain.
Here in the U.S. there are only the piddling few DVDs Classic Media saw fit to release (see the "Lassie Movies and Other Media" page). Fans are hoping the new owners, Dreamworks, may be more forthcoming, but all that has been released so far is a new animated series in several European/Middle Eastern countries.
Bootleg sources for the episodes exist online, but please be careful! First off, these sets are illegal. Second, since they are illegal and you buy them and they don't work properly, you have no legal recourse to get your money back or replacement disks, but are at the mercy of the vendor. I have a correspondent who spent over $100 to get 100+ episodes of Lassie from one of these vendors, and the disks do not play properly, and the vendor did not respond to e-mails. Caveat emptor is the word of the day with these guys.
Thirdly, you are not going to get all the episodes of the series with these sets. If you don't care and just want some Lassie to satisfy your hunger, that's fine, but be forewarned, because many of these bootleg vendors advertise as having "all" the episodes and then number them at 155 or 160 or 166. There were 591 episodes in the original series.
Whatever happened to [name a character or actor on the series]?
Check out the "Whatever Happened to..." link on the main page. These are facts garnered from the Internet Movie Database, since I have no contact with the actors on the series. Jon Provost does have his own website, cited below, and wrote an autobiography, Timmy's in the Well.
How can I contact/get an autograph from [name an actor on the series]?
Although I have heard from several people who have worked on/are connected with the series, I have no connection to the series and do not personally know any of the performers; plus, I would not give out e-mail addresses without permission. So I have no idea how you would contact any of the surviving actors from the series. You can try writing to Jon Provost via his website: http://www.jonprovost.com. Bob Weatherwax's official site is now Weatherwax Trained Dogs and autographs may be available via this route, but I don't know for certain. You also may have success at Lassie.net or the official site, Lassie.com
Autographed photos from the series are also sold on e-Bay as well as other auction sites.
How can I contact Bob Weatherwax / get Lassie to appear at my charity event / find out where Lassie is making an appearance?
Bob Weatherwax is no longer associated with the dog considered the "official" Lassie. The "Lassie franchise," as it has been termed, was sold and is no longer owned by the Weatherwax family, and Carol Riggins now handles the official Lassie.
Which Lassie "are they on now"?
The ninth generation Lassie retired after appearing in a cameo role in the Charles Sturridge movie Lassie, based on Lassie Come Home, and released in 2005. He later toured United States promoting a new all-natural dog food.
The tenth generation dog is now the current "Lassie." The official "Lassie" is owned by Classic Media's successor DreamWorks and tours with Carol Riggins. Bob Weatherwax also owned a tenth generation dog known as "Laddie" who appeared at autograph events with Jon Provost and was a "spokesdog" for animal rights issues in California. Bob now handles a dog named Hammer who performs the same service, but they do not appear often as Bob has chronic health problems. (Classic Media and Bob Weatherwax broke ties...please don't ask me what happened, as I don't understand the legalities.)
Can you help me get a copy of a certain Lassie episode?
Probably not. I only have selected episodes, so chances are anything I have won't be what you want. (I actually only have Jeff and Timmy episodes.) I also work extended hours and really don't have much free time to copy things. Lastly, I have no way to do so.
Please check the link on the main page labeled "Movies/Comics/Other Media." It has a section on Lassie episodes that are available on videotape and DVD or that have been available on videotape. The ones that are no longer "in print" also may be found on e-Bay as well as other auction sites. See the Movies and Other Media page for more details.
Netflix does have some of the movies, and Hulu (the free version) has all the fifth season episodes.
Lastly, you might check some video sites.
I have a Lassie book/comic/toy, etc. Can you tell me how much it's worth?
Please don't e-mail me about values of Lassie merchandise; I'll just have to disappoint you by saying I don't know. I don't know values of anything as I don't sell any merchandise, and I don't collect any Lassie merchandise for its value. You can check out several books to find out how much your collectible might be worth. There is a comic price guide book that will give you the prices on all comics. If you have one of the little Golden Books, there is a Golden Book price guide. If you have a Lassie toy, there are toy price guides. A subject search on "price guides" on a book site like Amazon.com would probably find you what you're looking for. There's also a book for collectors called The Legacy of Lassie which lists all the known merchandise.
You might also check out web auction sites like e-Bay and Amazon.com auctions to see what your Lassie piece is selling for. I've gotten several questions about the Lassie ring that was given out as a premium in the late 50's (featured in the fourth-season episode "The Ring"). This ring turns up frequently on e-Bay. I did read an article that suggests this item has sold "for up to $500." That doesn't mean it is actually valued at that price.
I understand Eric Knight wrote a lot of collie stories. I'd like to read them. What are their titles and where can I buy them?
As far as I know, Knight only wrote one dog story, Lassie Come-Home, first as a short story for The Saturday Evening Post in 1938, then as a novel in 1940. You may be thinking of Albert Payson Terhune, who did indeed write "a lot of collie books," and who, because he and Knight both wrote about a collie protagonist who became extremely well known, is often confused with Eric Knight (a Lassie article several years ago in a Florida newspaper did just this and was published without correction). (The two men were at least a generation apart, with Terhune the elder.) Terhune's first collection of collie stories was Lad: a Dog (1919), and some of the others were Lad of Sunnybank, The Further Adventures of Lad, Bruce, His Dog, Treve, Buff: A Collie, A Highland Collie, Lochinvar Luck, Gray Dawn, and Wolf, although even Terhune's non-dog-centric novels usually had a collie in them. You may have read one of his most famous collie short stories in school or in a collection of dog stories: "One Minute Longer," which was originally published in 1919 in St. Nicholas magazine. Except for Lad: A Dog, Terhune's books are out of print, but you can find copies on Bookfinder.com.
Here is a great Albert Payson Terhune website that includes photos of Sunnybank past and present. The "Books" link has a complete listing of all his books, dog-related and not. The "Magazines" page links two articles written by Terhune; the March 26, 1927 story "With a Reverse English" from The Saturday Evening Post contains pictures of the collies. The links are excellent, too.
Also, here are the text and pictures from "The Sunnybank Collies" from St. Nicholas magazine, March 1922."The Sunnybank Collies," page 1
Oh, and "One Minute Longer," which, you must admit, has all the elements of a good Lassie story!"'One Minute Longer,'" page 1
Finally, see next question!
Why don't you list this Lassie movie on your movie list? / I remember these scenes from a Lassie movie, but it doesn't seem to go with anything on your movie list, so which movie is it?
The scenes cited from this "missing" Lassie movie are typically as follows:
You won't find any description like that in the Lassie movie list because it's not a Lassie movie at all. In 1962, Warner Brothers adapted Albert Payson Terhune's (see above) novel Lad: A Dog into a color movie. Angela Cartwright, who was then starring as Linda on Danny Thomas' popular Make Room for Daddy television series, plays Angela, the little girl endangered by the snake, and Carroll O'Connor, later to gain TV immortality as Archie Bunker, played her snooty rich father, Hamilcar Q. Glure. He is the man with the cigar handling "the other collie" in the obedience contest. Lad's owners (named the Tremaynes rather than the Terhunes) were played by Peter Breck (later Nick in the long running television series The Big Valley) and Peggy McCay. All of the situations in the movie are adapted from the book, although things are changed to make a cohesive narrative: for instance, in the book, the little girl saved by Lad is not given a name, and she is not related to Hamilcar Q. Glure. There is no "Little Lad" puppy, just "Wolf."
I don't remember if the credits say who trained "Lad"it might be a collie from the Weatherwax kennelsbut this is certainly not Lassie, as the collie in the story has no blaze at all.
Note: The woman in the snake scene is motherless Angela's nurse and is played by Alice Pearce, who later became well-known to Bewitched fans for portraying snoopy Mrs. Kravitz. And, oh, only one of "Lassie's puppies" dies in the fire.
Warner Brothers has not yet released Lad on DVD, although there was a VHS release at one time.
What episodes do these syndication titles correspond with: Jeff's Collie, Timmy and Lassie, and Lassie?
Seasons 1 through 3 and the first 13 episodes of Season 4 are syndicated as Jeff's Collie. The remainder of Season 4 through Season 10 are marketed under the title Timmy and Lassie. When the three-part story "The Wayfarers" (opening Season 11) are shown as individual episodes rather than a movie, they are also syndicated with the Timmy and Lassie package. Lassie consists of the remainder of Season 11 all the way through the end of the series (includes the Corey Stuart, Bob Erickson/Scott Turner, Lassie-on-her-own, and Holden Ranch episodes).
How many episodes of the original series were made? I see different numbers for the totals.
The total of episodes probably differs because many episodes have been pulled from the syndication lineup to make Lassie "movies," multiparters like "Lassie, Look Homeward" and "Lassie the Voyager" along with similarly-themed episodes that became The Adventures of Neeka or Flight of the Cougar, etc. Thus the episode count is coming up from the episodes remaining in the syndication circuit.
Total episodes broadcast were 591. Broken down:
103 with Jeff Miller
13 with Jeff and Timmy (the "transitional" episodes) ¤ 27 with Timmy (Cloris Leachman/Jon Shepodd as parents) (40 fourth season total)
209 with Timmy Martin (June Lockhart/Hugh Reilly as parents)
125 with Corey Stuart
50 with Scott Turner and/or Bob Erickson
22 on her own
44 at the Holden Ranch
Where's Calverton? (a.k.a. Where did Lassie take place?)
Anywhere you'd like to imagine it.
It's very difficult to pick out where in the United States Lassie was presumed to take place, and that was probably deliberate: so that people could imagine she was in their own backyards. All the Jeff episodes and the early Timmy stories feature a mixed-range type area with fields broken by stands of trees, including the infamous woods near the farm. Later episodes used a network of outcropping rocks ("Deadly Goats," for example, "The Rescue," "The Black Sheep," etc.) that look nothing like the earlier landscape, much more western.
Even the radio stations mentioned give us no clues. In general, radio stations with call letters beginning with "W" are located east of the Mississippi, radio stations with call letters beginning with "K" are located west of the Mississippi (although there are exceptions before this practice was standardized, such as Pittsburgh's KDKA). Radio stations with both "W" call letters and "K" call letters are mentioned on the series.
The Calverton streets Timmy walks are clearly a set. However, the streets of nearby Capitol (Capital? It's spelled both ways) City often look like they were filmed on real streets, i.e. the hospital in the Jeff episode "The Journey," the hospital in "A Specialist for Lassie," etc. However, the area of the country was never given, unlike in the Holden Ranch episodes, in which city scenes were clearly indicated as being filmed in Solvang, California.
(Indeed, Calverton is definitely not in California, as so many articles state. In "The Christmas Story"the 1960 episodethe Dennis children tell Timmy that their father is taking them to California. Timmy then remarks, "Gosh, my dad is always talking about going to California." (Italics mine.) Later, when Timmy tells Ruth about the family, he comments, "That car of theirs will never make it to California," implying that the state is some distance away. In addition, in a third season episode with Jeff and a fifth season episode with Timmy, an apple tree is shown that was planted by John Chapman, "Johnny Appleseed." Chapman had a colorful history which can be researched online. However, Chapman planted apple trees only in what was the frontier during his adulthood: the Northwest Territories. This area later became part of the states of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. Chapman also planted trees in Western Pennsylvania. Thus, if an apple tree planted by Johnny Appleseed is near the farm, it must be in one of those places.)
The individual season guide pages also talk about where Calverton mayor may not!be.
The series filmed in various locations over the years. The two "pilot" episodes "Inheritance" and "The Well" were apparently filmed in British Columbia. The Jeff and early Timmy episodes were filmed on the same ranch where Fury filmed, the Iverson Movie Ranch in Chatsworth, California. Later episodes were filmed at the Franklin Canyon Reservoir area in the Santa Monica Mountains of California, also a location for series like Bonanza and The Andy Griffith Show. A correspondent tells me the Thousand Oaks area was also used for filming, as was Vasquez Rocks and the Beverly Hills Reservoir. Some shows were filmed on location, such as part 3 of "Lassie the Voyager" (Williamsburg, VA), part 7 of "Lassie the Voyager" (New Orleans), "More Than Meets the Eye" (the Braille trail in the San Bernardino National Forest), and "Ride the Mountain" (the Columbia Gorge Log Flume). Looking at a site for the Clark Fork River in the Stanislaus National Forest in Modesto, California, it looks very familiar and may have been the site of several Lassie episodes taking place near a river.
However we do know where that beautiful landscape behind Lassie in the syndicated titles might be. Dustin Carpenter noticed that the peak looked familiar and thought it might be Mount Hood in Oregon. He wrote to a friend who works in the lodge there and confirmed that it is indeed Mount Hood.
What was the make and model of the truck used on Lassie?
I'm not a car person! The cars and trucks were provided by Chrysler at least through the Timmy and later episodes; if you look at the credits it has a notation mentioning this. So the cars are Chryslers; pretty sure the trucks are Dodges, since Chrysler owns Dodge and I don't believe Chrysler itself ever had a truck division. I have never seen a model name on any of them; maybe someone else has seen an ID.
Alfred Gruhler sent me an informative e-mail about the carsin the Jeff episodes they were not Chryslers. He says "[T]he Miller's car is a 1949 Ford while Gramps' pickup is a 1941 Ford."
Of other interest from Alfred: "The Millers' phone is manufactured by the 'Kellogg Switchboard & Supply Co.' of Chicago. Kellogg manufactured phones for the independent (non Bell System) phone companies."
Dustin Carpenter adds this information about Ruth's sedan: "Ruth's sedan is a 1957 Dodge Coronet. You can read the chrome script CORONET above the passenger front wheel opening in the episode "The Blanket."
Other vehicle trivia:
The later episode Martin truck was blue and white: white at the top to the level of the truck bed and then pale blue below. Corey's Forest service truck was green with a white roof.
98-81304: Gramps' truck license plate number.
2A4323: License plate of the Martin car (at least in "Lassie's Guest"; the prop department may have popped any old license plate on the car in other episodes).
Corey's license plate number is A113393.
Another "repeating vehicle": Dustin Carpenter adds "A 'white' (I don't know because it is B&W) 1960 Ford Country Squire station wagon appears in Timmy & Lassie so far as I know twice in the series. In Season 9 , 'Desperate Search,' Mr. Brown (Andy's father) drives the car. In 'Home Within A Home,' (the very next episode!) the gas line surveyors have the same car." I believe that same car also appears as Doc Weaver's car in several episodes.
How many times did Lassie "have puppies" on the series?
Since all the collies portraying Lassie have been males (see the Lassie facts page for the reason why), of course Lassie actually didn't have any litters, although each Lassie was the sire of the next collie to take over the role. However, the character of Lassie did have a litter several times within the story. She has a litter in "Lassie's Pups," a Jeff episode. She also has puppies that are being given away at the beginning of second season; this is probably another litter. All the puppies are given away except for Laddie, who is only seen in one other episode. Another of one of her puppies, Comet, is featured in the episode "The Marauder" (he appears to be from the same litter as Laddie).
Lassie has at least three litters during the Timmy years, the first two in "The Puppy Story" and "Puppy Sitters." Blacktail, one of the members of the litter born in "The Puppy Story," returns at the beginning of seventh season in an episode entitled (surprise! <g>) "Blacktail." Lassie also gives birth in the episode "Lassie and the Eagle."
The only other litter mentioned is at the beginning of the seventeenth season, in the seven part sequence, "The Saga of Lassie's Puppies." Lassie's encounter with a male collie named Duke in "Lassie's Interlude" leaves her in "a family way." The first of three puppies is given away to a little boy named Kerry in "The Miracle," the second to the boy Davey in "The Offering," and the third to a little girl in "Nature's Child."
Lassie also had a litter of puppies at least once in The New Lassie (one was given to Mrs. Chadwick, who turned out to be a remarried Ruth Martin) and at least once in the Cinar series (the series finale, "Graduation").
What was it that Jeff and Porky used to yell to each other when they met?
The cry was "Eee-Yaw-Kee!", which, a correspondent of Tom Rettig told me, was something that Tom and his friends used to yell to each other back in Rettig's old neighborhood.
Did Gramps/George Cleveland really die on the show?
The character of Gramps died on the series because George Cleveland died in real life (but, no, he did not actually die on the set; I believe I read that he had the heart attack while playing golf). Initially, Gramps was supposed to severely injure himself, which is why the Millers would have had to give up the farm. When he died the producers made the decision to have Gramps die as well. (See my note on the controversy this caused at CBS at the top of the fourth season page.)
What happened to Uncle Petrie?
Uncle Petrie was planned as a "Gramps" type character, but he didn't work out and was quietly dropped from the series without explanation after fifth season (although he appears out of nowhere in the sixth season story "In Case of Emergency," in which it's explained he's visiting). In the first episode with Petrie, it was explained he was just there temporarily to help Paul get started on the farm.
Other television shows are always making jokes about Timmy being trapped in a well. Which episode was that?
Not to disappoint youand all the writers who have milked this joke for yearsbut the answer is "none"! The classic Lassie joke has been for years this: "Bark! Bark-bark! Bark!" "What is it, Lassie?" "Bark! Bark-bark-bark! Bark-bark!" "What, Timmy's fallen in the well?" It's such a classic jibe that Jon Provost's autobiography was entitled Timmy's in the Well.
As far as I can see, of the dangerous things he could do, Timmy:
...let a rabid dog out of a cage ("Graduation")
...accidentally ate deadly nightshade berries thinking they were huckleberries ("Berrypickers")
...was threatened by an escaped female circus elephant ("The Elephant")
...hides out in the treehouse when he has pneumonia ("Spartan")
...was threatened by a mother wolf ("The Wolf Cub")
...falls into the lake ("Transition" and "The House Guest")
...develops a high fever from the measles ("The Crisis")
...is almost shot by Paul ("Hungry Deer")
...ignores severe stomach pains; he's diagnosed with appendicitis and then gets chicken pox ("Hospital")
...is trapped in an abandoned house with Boomer ("Trapped")
...wanders into a live mine field ("Junior GIs")
...is menaced by a bear ("Campout" and "The Renegade")
...is trapped in a mine ("Old Henry")
...gets a black eye playing football ("Growing Pains")
...nearly flies a home-made glider off a cliff ("Flying Machine")
...runs into a burning house to save a neighbor lady and passes out ("The Whopper")
...is endangered by dynamite picked up by an escaped lab chimp ("The Man from Mars")
...is locked in a shed with Lassie by an armed robber ("Star Reporter")
...runs away from home believing he and a friend killed someone ("Alias Jack and Joe")
...is exposed to radiation ("Space Traveler")
...gets trapped on a cliff with Rudy and Don ("Explorers")
...is threatened by Sam Burke's new German Shepherd dog ("The Killer")
...is trapped in a pipe ("Wrong Gift")
...is caught in quicksand during a camping trip ("The Fog")
...is trapped on a ledge while hunting for a missing ewe ("The Rescue")
...is out in the woods hunting a dangerous tiger which he believes is tame ("The Gentle Tiger")
...is saved by Lassie from a falling beam in an old mission ("Swallows of Los Pinos")
...is tossed out of a go-cart and knocked out ("Big Race")
...is threatened by a bull ("White-Faced Bull")
...has his foot trapped between two railroad cars while looking for a lost dog ("Little Cabbage")
...comes face-to-face with a rabid dog that wanders in the farmyard ("The Mad Dog")
...is trapped in a fire watch tower with Ruth ("The Fire Watchers")
...is nearly trampled by a carnival-attraction ostrich that's protecting her egg ("The Ostrich")
...is trapped in a mine with Cully ("Fool's Gold")
...freezes while on a narrow path at the Grand Canyon ("Lassie at the Grand Canyon")
...is threatened by a killer collie ("Mysterious Intruder")
...is trapped in a badger hole ("Badger Game")
...is caught in a leg trap during a thunderstorm ("Heat Wave")
...is knocked out ("Hike")
...is stalked by a presumably dangerous tiger ("Lassie and the Tiger")
...is exposed to anthrax when one of Paul's new goats comes down with the disease ("Deadly Goats")
...runs away with a new friend who's homesick for his old carnival life ("A Career for Lassie")
...with Lassie, is carried off in a balloon, must survive in the wilderness, and almost drowns ("The Journey")
...is attacked by an Army guard dog ("Silver Soldier")
...almost drowns ("Disappearance" part 1)
...is caught in an earthquake and threatened by a dam spillover ("Moving Mountain")
...is struck by a hit and run driver ("Hit'n'Run")
So of course the big joke is that never once has this kid ever fallen into a well! Paul almost fell into the well in "Her Master's Voice," and Uncle Petrie fell down a hole which was assumed to be an old well in "The Crow," but never Timmy. The only main character in the Lassie series, in fact, who actually ever fell down a well was Lassie herself, in Season 17's "Well of Love," a.k.a. "For the Love of Lassie."
What happened to Corey Stuart?
Apparently the character of Corey never recovered from his burns. In reality, Robert Bray had to leave the series. He had a worsening alcohol problem and then had an accident related to his alcoholism and had to retire from the show.
What happened to Scott and Bob?
We never found out. Season 17 opens with Lassie on her own with no explanation; even had they shown the episodes in the correct ordersee the note on "A Year of Sundays" on the Season 17 web pageit doesn't have appeared to clear up the mystery. In the episode "The River," someone raises the question of who Lassie belongs to, and the response is "Oh, I guess to everyone who needs her," and in "Nature's Child," when Jody's father asks why Lassie isn't staying with her puppy, Jody responds that Lassie is "searching for something" and she will know it when she finds it.
Was Uncle Steve on The New Lassie really supposed to be Timmy?
The way the story postulated it, yes: when the Martins moved to Australia, they hadn't properly adopted Timmy (uh-huhafter seven years!) and he was removed from their custody. Embittered, he started going by his middle name, Steven. He was then adopted by the McCullough family. Ruth Martin later turned up at the McCullough home under a new married name, Mrs. Chadwick. (Read my note about this improbable plot device in The New Lassie entry.)