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Lassie (US)

General Characters (3)

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Main Characters (7)

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Recurring Characters (2)

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Listing all characters in the group Main Characters (7)

 
Lassie [1954-1972], played by Lassie

Lassie was raised from a puppy by Midwestern farmer Homer Carey. At his death, eleven-year-old Jeff Miller receives Lassie as a bequest but Lassie refuses to leave the Carey farmhouse. Jeff discovers Lassie is guarding a cache of money from the thieving designs of a hired hand. Once the hired hand is brought to justice, Lassie leaves the Carey farmhouse and makes her home on the Miller farm. She has many adventures with Jeff and his friend Porky Brockway.

In the show's fourth season, a runaway called Timmy is discovered hiding in the Miller barn. The Millers take a liking to him and arrange to have him spend the summer on the farm in a foster status. Timmy and Lassie become great friends. When Jeff's grandfather dies, his mother plans a move to the city and the farm is sold to Paul and Ruth Martin who adopt Timmy and Lassie. Timmy and Lassie have many adventures and travel to the Grand Canyon and the Air Force Academy. In the first episode of the eleventh season, the Martin family emigrates to Australia where Paul plans to teach agriculture. Lassie remains in the States due to Australia's strict quarantine regulations and makes her home with a succession of Forest Rangers. She has many adventures in wilderness areas from Alaska to Monument Valley.

In her seventeenth season and her last with CBS, Lassie wandered alone from place to place helping needy humans and animals. No mention of her Ranger friends was mentioned nor were any human leads introduced. For the eighteenth and nineteenth seasons, the show entered syndication with Lassie settling on the Holden Ranch, a home for troubled children. She enjoyed adventures with children similar her years on the farm as well as adventures in the wilderness similar to those of her years with the Rangers.

Although Lassie's portrayers were all male dogs, "she" had several families of puppies through the course of her long television career. She also suffered numerous injuries including gunshot wounds and a concussion and other ills such as blindness. She survived all her various maladies. Lassie received several awards and honors including one from Timmy's Cub Scout troop, and one from the Lone Ranger's Peace Patrol.

Lassie has many unusual talents and abilities such as finding worms that always catch the biggest fish and singing with Uncle Petrie. Countless episodes demonstrate Lassie's very unusual canine ability of understanding complex human vocabulary, speech, emotions, and motives. Lassie is a well rounded dog mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. She is loyal, loving. and devoted to her humans though sometimes jelaous, angry, and stubborn. She is brave, fearless, and playful -- but above all she demonstrates an extraordinary care and concern for her humans.
 
 
Timmy Martin [1957-1964], played by Jon Provost

Timmy makes his debut in the fourth season opener, "The Runaway" when he is discovered hiding in the Miller barn. The Millers take a liking to the seven-year-old boy and provide him a foster home. They learn his parents have been killed in an accident sometime in the past, and, since then, Timmy has been living with an elderly and ailing aunt and uncle. Timmy believes he is a burden on the two and runs away to save them the trouble of providing him a home. With the help of a social worker, Timmy is allowed to spend the summer on the Miller farm in a foster status.

When "Gramps" Miller dies at the end of Timmy's summer on the farm, Ellen and Jeff decide to move to Capitol City. They have no choice but to return Timmy to his elderly relatives. But the Millers sell the farm to Paul and Ruth Martin who fall in love with Timmy and adopt him. Timmy remains on the farm with his new parents. Jeff leaves Lassie on the farm with Timmy.

Timmy is a good boy although some commentators during the period of the show's production thought he set a poor example for young children in that he often went off on his own and sometimes disobeyed his parents. He has many interests and belongs to the 4-H and the Cub Scouts. Timmy is a sensitive but sensible boy. He has strong feelings for injured or suffering animals. He loves the natural world. He is intelligent and does well in school, His relationships with both his peers and adults are respectful and considerate. Timmy is a "well-adjusted" boy.

Timmy had few steady child friends in the series. In the fourth season, "Scott Richards" was brought in as a pal but vanished and never returned. In the fifth season, chubby "Boomer Bates" was introduced in an attempt to recreate something of the Jeff and Porky friendship of the early seasons but the character was unpopular and dropped. "Wilhelmina Brewster", a neighbor and classmate, was the only pal who lasted through several seasons. Played by Linda Wrather, the daughter of the show's owners and producers, "Willy" made sporadic appearances over several seasons. Timmy had many adult friends, notably Ed Washburne, the fire chief, and Cully Wilson, an eccentric old bachelor farmer and nature lover. Cully and Timmy were scripted into many episodes together, and, when the Martin years ended in the opening episodes of the eleventh season with the family emigrating to Australia, Cully briefly provided Lassie with a home before she found a permanent home with a Forest Ranger.

Left: Jon Provost as Timmy.
 
 
Petrie J. Martin [1957-1958], played by George Chandler

Petrie J. Martin is Paul's uncle and debuted late in the fourth season (1957). He hails from Millvale, Pennsylvania and joins the Martins on the farm at Ruth's invitation. Timmy takes a dislike to Uncle Petrie at once but after Petrie fashions a ring featuring Lassie's portrait, the boy is won over. Uncle Petrie sings, plays the guitar and the fiddle, calls square dances, and creates stories to amuse Timmy. Uncle Petrie was dropped from the cast in the fifth season when Hugh Reilly was cast as Paul Martin and viewers asked to see Timmy spend more time with his father. Producers felt two adult males on the show would overwhelm the audience.

Left: George Chandler (far left, with guitar) as Uncle Petrie with Cloris Leachman as Ruth, Jon Shepodd as Paul, Jon Provost as Timmy, and Lassie.
 
 
Ruth Martin [1958-1964], played by June Lockhart

Ruth makes her debut in the mid fourth season (1957) when she and her husband Paul buy the Miller farm and adopt Timmy. She is the daughter of a park ranger and spent many years as a girl at Yellowstone National Park. Ruth is the typical strong, level-headed "good mom" of late 1950s television in the fashion of Margaret Anderson in Father Knowns Best and Donna Stone in The Donna Reed Show. Like her TV "good mom" counterparts, Ruth has no aspirations beyond home and family. She participates good naturedly in Timmy's pigeon racing, coon dog racing, Sunday school carnivals, and 4-H projects. In one episode, she serves as Timmy's Cub Scout Den Mother, and, in other episodes, she travels with him to the Grand Canyon and the Air Force Academy. She is a literate woman, familiar with classical mythology and English authors such as Izaak Walton. The role was originally played in the fourth season by Cloris Leachman who quickly tired of playing a farm woman, and was replaced at the top of the fifth season by June Lockhart.

Left: June Lockhart as Ruth Martin.

 
 
Paul Martin [1958-1964], played by Hugh Reilly

Paul is the husband of Ruth and the adoptive father of Timmy. He is an agricultural college graduate, and, in his first appearance on the show in the fourth season (1957), he and his wife Ruth buy the Miller farm and adopt Timmy. Paul is a level-headed, realistic man with strong moral principles. He eschews Uncle Petrie's tale spinning and wants Timmy to grow up a practical boy. Paul flew 22 missions in WWII and was stationed in England. He pays a visit to his alma mater years after graduation with Timmy who gets into some serious mischief. Paul is a volunteer firefighter with the Calverton Volunteer Fire Department, and is quick to protect his family when troubles (whether natural or man-made) strike the farm. In his final apperance (1964), Paul and his family emigrate to Australia to teach agriculture. Lassie is left in the care of neighbor Cully Wilson, and the Martin family never appears again on the show.

Left: Hugh Reilly as Paul Martin.
 
 
  Corey Stuart [S11-S15], played by Robert Bray

Corey Stuart is a bachelor and a Forest Ranger. He first appears as a guest in the multi-part episode, "Disappearance" of the tenth season. There, Corey rescues Lassie in a storm and has several adventures with her before she finally reunites with the Martin family. At the top of the eleventh season, the Martins emigrate to Australia and Lassie is left in the States due to Australia's strict quarantine regulations. Lassie finds a home with Corey and has many wilderness adventures with him. When Corey is severely injured in a forest fire and requires months of rehabilitation, Lassie finds a home with two of his co-workers, Scott and Bob. The wilderness stories continue for a few seasons but Corey never returns. In her last CBS season, Lassie's two human companions vanish with no explanation and she travels alone from place to place helping needy humans and animals before settling at a home for troubled children for her two final syndicated seasons.

Producers believed handsome Robert Bray as Corey would appeal to the show's teen and adult audience but teens turned to more exciting fare and the show suffered poor ratings. Behind the scenes, Bray's emotional and alcoholic problems forced his departure from the series.
 
 
  Garth Holden [S18], played by Ron Hayes

Garth Holden is the head of the Holden Ranch, a home for troubled children. Garth's college-age son Ron and his son's friend Dale are wilderness hiking and camping when they rescue Lassie from a torrent during the course of a multi-part episode. They carry her back to the Ranch where she becomes a companion for the children.

Ron Hayes appeared once or twice as a guest star when Lassie was airing on CBS., but only appeared in the first season of the show's syndication seasons. He later stated he was unsatisified with his role because he had so little to do dramatically. In the second season, the character's "brother" (played by Larry Pennell) directed the Ranch and remained on the show until it was canceled.
 
Warning: Lassie (US) guide may contain spoilers
Classification: Scripted
Genre: Adventure | Pets
Status: Canceled/Ended
Network: Syndicated ( USA)
Runtime: 30 Minutes
Premiere: September 12, 1954
Ended: March 24, 1973
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