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Randall Davis Barfield

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Lassie: about a Pal (no joke)
By Randall Davis Barfield
Saturday, November 29, 2008

Rated "G" by the Author.

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Pal was the real name of Lassie in the 1943 movie Lassie Come Home with stars Roddy McDowall and Elizabeth Taylor.  He was a beautiful California dog and 2 of his owners were the brothers, Rudd and Frank Weatherwax. In 1950, the book, The story of Lassie, his discovery and training from puppyhood to stardom came out. It was co-written by Rudd. Of course, Pal had to have offspring so that Lassie would continue to exist, so he was provided with ‘girlfriends’. Also, the Lassie “look” in the movies is a trademark.

Now more than 8 generations of Pal and his descendants have played the ever-popular collie in more than 10 movies and 2 TV series. All the dogs were owned by the 2 Weatherwax brothers then later by Rudd’s son, Robert. Three of the dog-descendants were named Howard, Hey Hey II, and Rockie.

In the 2005-2006 remake of the first Lassie movie a collie named Mason was used. He was not a direct descendant of the Pal-Lassie we know of 1943. Certain Lassie fans objected to Mason. This protest caused a return to the practice of using a direct Pal descendant (named Rockie, 10th generation) for some filming that was completed later. Many many films, books and toys have been enjoyed by people of all ages for more than 70 years now, thanks to British-born writer Eric Knight, who wrote the short story, “Lassie Come-Home”, all those years ago. It was published by the Saturday Evening Post in 1938. Eric, unfortunately, was killed in an airplane crash in South America in 1943 (he was 46 years old). “Lassie,” of course, will never die. Thanks for reading!    


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Reviewed by John Domino 6/22/2009
Thank you for this interesting article. Lassie was a classic example of how great God's animals are. I wrote a poem and a short story about "God's Four Legged Miracles" and it is posted on Author's Den. You are most welcome to visit and let me know what you think of it.

Blessings in Christ,

john Michael
Reviewed by Aberjhani 12/2/2008
Wow, that is extraordinary. And it backs up my belief that just one good literary idea--or dna pattern?--can last generations if it's done right the first time. Obviously "Pal" had the right stuff :-)

Aberjhani
Reviewed by Bonnie May 11/30/2008
Of Course he will live on forever. I still remember those Sunday nights with Lassie and Jeff, oh how I love him and what a joy he brought. Thank you for the memories my friend. Totally enjoyed. Love and hugs, Bonnie
Reviewed by 000 000 11/30/2008
My son, a Lassie fan for the past 25 years did not like the new Lassie dog from the 2006 remake. He may be mentally challenged but he would not finish the show. He walked out of the movie theater! I noticed the bark was not Lassie's!
Reviewed by Sandie May Angel-Joyce 11/29/2008
Lassie will never die indeed!!! Is he as old as Bugs Bunny?
Very interesting write, Randy!!!

Sandie Angel :o)
Reviewed by Meg Leigh 11/29/2008
Randall,

I really enjoyed reading the history of Lassie/Pal. I knew that they'd used the male collies to play Lassie, because they grow a much thicker and luxuriant coat. It was interesting to hear how they're all descended from the one dog.
Reviewed by Micki Peluso 11/29/2008
Randall,

Thanks for some info that I never knew--some I did but not all that you posted. I saw every Lassie movie and tv series that was ever made and so did my kids. There was never a dog like Lassie, not even Rin Tin Tin.

Micki Peluso

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