The show is considered to be a part of American popular culture. In addition to being parodied and referenced, the show has spawned many myths, particularly regarding the production history and the concept of the intelligent dog, Lassie. Let’s take a look at two major myths about Lassie—and just how well they hold up to the truth.
Myth: Little Timmy and the Well
Perhaps the most persistent reference to Lassie in popular culture is this presumed episode moment, when Lassie shows up and barks at someone. That person asks: “What’s wrong, Lassie?” Lassie then barks and answer, and gets the response: “What? Timmy fell down the well?!”
Despite the fact that this is the most well-known Lassie reference, and can be found parodied and mentioned in thousands of different media, it is actually a complete myth. Lassie never saved a boy named Timmy from a well. In fact, Lassie never saved anyone from a well!
No one knows where this myth came from, but—despite the fact that it never happened in the show—it’s probably not going anywhere.
Myth: One of the Lassie writers was blacklisted
This myth goes like this: One of the primary writers for Lassie episodes was actually a blacklisted author who used his wife’s name as a front to work on the show.
This myth is actually true! And quite complicated. The writer in question was Adrian Scott, who was already a successful Hollywood writer when he was blacklisted in the late 1940s. The reason for the blacklist was that Scott–along with ten other Hollywood writers–was accused of “un-American Activities,” in other words: of being communist. All major Hollywood studios made it a point to publicly ban these writers from working in Hollywood, costing them jobs, relationships, and in some cases, their freedom.
In 1955, Scott married a writer named Joan LaCour; LaCour was also accused of communism, but because she was such an unknown in Hollywood, she was able to get away with wrtiing for film and television under a false name–Joanne Court. Under this new name, Court was able to gain a job writing for Lassie. Scott penned two episodes for the show, which Court presented as her own work.
Scott was eventually unblacklisted in the 1970s, but he died in 1973, before he first real screen credit since the ban was published. Hop over to this entertainment website for other great entertainment choices.