I remember how sad it was, as a kid, when the 1957 episode of LASSIE "Transition" opened with the death of Gramps, and ended with Jeff leaving the series and giving Lassie to Timmy.
The Producers of Lassie originally intended to have the transition of Lassie occur at the last episode of that season. "Gramps" was to have some kind of accident that made him unable to run the farm.(The Actors who played Jeff (Tommt Rettig) and Gramps (George Cleveland) wanted out of the series). This all changed in the middle of filming when the producers ran into a small problem. Mr. Cleveland really did pass away. The producers decided to write in the death of gramps in the show, which is why the transition took place in mid-season.
Five years later the producers realized the actor who played Timmy (John Provost) was growing up and it wouldn't be long before he would be walking down the path his predecessor (Rettig) did. This time the producers were ready, so they asked themselves, who should be Lassie's new master after Timmy & Company leave the show. During seasons nine and ten the producers made nseveral "Experimental" episodes, some of which were multiple-part where Timmy and Lassie were separated for a while. During these episodes Lassie spent time with other charactures who were, among other things Truck Drivers, Barnstormers, Military Cadets and yes, Forest Rangers. The Episode with the Forest Rangers (The Dissappearence) produced the greatest feedback, thus sealing Lassie's Fate.
Now, what to do with Timmy? "Whacking" him was NOT an option, since the producers would probably get truckloads of "Flame Mail" if they did that, and Season 11 would most likely last 13 episodes and that's it! Having Timmy's Father quit farming and move to the city where they buy a house or apartment where "No Pets Allowed" was not acceptable either. The Producers searched far and wide for a bona-fide reason for lassie had to switch owners (Besides the two scenarios mentioned above). How about Paul Martin gets called back to active duty by the Military? Nope, If that happens the Military will make accomodations for his family. Paul Joins the Peace Corps? No go either, they allow volunteers to bring their pets. Then one day the solution found them. A stage Hand, who was having a day off decided to visit the set. He wanted to show his boss a new member of his family, a small, white Terrior. The dog was given to him by his neighbor. Why? His Neighbor got a new job, in Australia. Turns out this country had at this time (Mid-1960s) a SUPER STRICT Quarentine policy regarding the importation of animals that made it next to impossible to bring along your pet. At that time an animal being imported to Australia had to spend six months quarentine in Great Britain, then another six months in Australia. That was it! The first three seasons of season 11, The Wayfarers, had Paul Martin get a business opportunity in ozzy-land, because of the quarentine policy Timmy gives Lassie to Cully, who then gives the dawg to the Rangers.
Edited by Regulus, June 19 2013 - 06:22 AM.