Lassie – Rough Collie Pal
Lassie – Rough Collie Pal.
Lassie (1940 – 1958) – Eric Knight’s novel about the dog Lassie was published in 1940. It was a huge success and was translated into 24 languages. The film rights to the novel were obtained by MGM. A bitch trained by Rudd Weatherwax was chosen for the lead role. His then one-year-old dog Pal was to be an understudy. But when MGM officials saw how he skilfully navigated a raging river, then crawled and pretended to be exhausted, he moved them to tears and won the role for himself. He earned $250 a week, ten-year-old Elizabeth Taylor, later a movie star who also starred in the film, was getting $100 a week at the time.
The film was a huge commercial success, and six more Lassie films starring Pal were made. The dog managed to star in two more television series about Lassie, and then retired as a dog. He died in 1958, two years later Lassie received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The role of Lassie was later played by nine more of Pal’s descendants, always a dog, although Lassie in the film was a bitch. With each new year, new Lassie movies were made, the last one in 2020.