Friday, September 15, 2017

Dear Abby - Famous TV Dogs: Lassie

Dear Friends,

I am excited to introduce a new blog series.  I will be profiling some famous TV dogs (both retro and more recent) here.   I think this will be a lot of fun!

When you mention TV dogs, most people think of Lassie first.   Lassie was a long running TV series that ran from 1954 - 1973.   Lassie the dog was a beautiful collie.  She lived with the Miller family (with their son Jeff), and then the Martin family, and was great friends to a boy named Timmy.   Lassie had many adventures in the farm community where she lived.

Lassie with actors Jon Provost and June Lockhart
Before the TV series there was a children's book called Lassie Comes Home (Eric Knight) and a series of MGM movies.  The popularity of the Lassie character was perfect for the early days of television.

Several different dogs played Lassie over the years.  They were from the same family:  Lassie, Lassie Jr., Spook, Baby, and Mire.  All but one of these dogs lived to be at least 17 years old!

Lassie was so popular that there were all types of Lassie items in stores - even a Halloween costume!   Other Lassie items included:

Books, like Hooray for Lassie.  (My Momma wrote a blog post about this book here -- there is a Dachshund in it!)

Coloring books:

Comic books:

Lunch boxes:


Here's a little fun trivia about Lassie:

  • The first boy to appear in the Lassie TV show, Tommy Rettig ("Jeff") was allergic to dogs.
  • Chloris Leachman of The Mary Tyler Moore Show briefly played Timmy's mother on the show.
  • Lassie appeared in Keep America Beautiful posters in the 1960's with Lady Bird Johnson.
  • Lassie had dog friends including two miniature poodles, Buttons and Bows, and a Jack Russell Terrier named Mel.
  • Lassie's trainer, Rudd Weatherwax, was the uncle of Ken Weatherwax (Pugsley on The Addams Family).
  • Lassie was always played by a boy dog on TV.

I enjoyed learning about Lassie, and hope you had fun reading this too!   Have you ever seen this show?  Are you a collie fan?  Do you have a favorite TV dog?  I would love to hear from you in the comments below.


Abby xoxoxo