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  • I was 9 years old when Jeff's Collie 1st came on Sundays. It was our first B&W TV and I was glue'd to it. I had my favorite line-up on Sat mornings but could not wait until Sunday to see Jeff's Collie. I was from the midwest and could relate to Jeff and the farm. (later to work on one at 16) I truly believe all my values came from that great show. What a mother Jan Clayton was and even that grumpy Gramps, (whom I adored) as he was just like my Grampa. After reading all the comments so far. I see we all have the same opinion that this series was the best ever made, -BAR NONE. I am so happy that Discovery Kids plays all the series. I believe I'am in my second childhood sometimes in that I can't wait to see another episode every. The passing of Tommy, Jan and George has left a big hole in my heart, so thank God for film. I still look at all of them as alive each day and the're message will go on forever. I now collect all the movies that each of that cast was in thru-out their acting years. To me there is nothing wrong with holding on to memories like these as in this world, there is not much to hold on to.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    On a December 1957 night when I was 8 years old, my favorite TV program, Lassie, was dramatically changing in an episode appropriately named "Transition". Jeff Miller, played by Tommy Rettig, then 15, would turn over his collie to the younger Timmy and finish the portion of the Lassie series later syndicated as Jeff's Collie. I was sad because Jeff was for me an idealized older brother and he and his wonderful mother Ellen, played by Jan Clayton, were leaving forever. Yet I was curious to see Timmy's new foster mother and I wanted to witness the formal transfer.

    The opening scene marked the passing of Gramps, played by George Cleveland who had actually died before filming began. Suddenly, the picture on my parents' TV set disappeared due to a blown vacuum tube (this was before transistors). The sound remained but I could not visualize the new mother nor properly experience the transition. I was so upset that I stopped watching the series. Years later I heard about June Lockhart's role as Timmy's mother but I discovered the actress only after she left Lassie and began the Lost in Space show.

    This past summer I revisited Jeff's Collie through reruns on a local channel. Imagine the lonely widow and her lonely father-in-law clinging to the memory of their lost loved one by raising his son in the highest ethical standards. Above all, there was Jeff, the lonely boy without his father, overcoming all obstacles in doing the right thing, lovingly guided by his mother, grandfather and almost magical dog. Alas, the "Transition" chapter was not shown, and once again, I was left without closure.

    So now, after 46 years, I've finally been able to see it on the new DVD by Sony Wonder titled Lassie - Best of Jeff's Collie. While containing only 3 of the more than 100 Jeff's Collie episodes, this disc is nevertheless immensely satisfying. The quality of the images and sound is superior to the broadcast in the fifties. "The Inheritance" starts the saga of Jeff and Lassie. "Lassie's Pups" is a tearful heart warmer establishing her legacy. "Transition" literally concludes Jeff's relationship. Simply flipping between these few stories lets you contrast the beginning and the end, over and over.

    By the way, the new mother was not June Lockhart, rather she was Cloris Leachman. June joined the series the following season as a replacement for Cloris. Both women are fine people, but neither was a match for Jan Clayton, who passed on in 1983.

    Tommy Rettig is also no longer with us. Death and the mystery of life is especially sensitive to me as I've lost several friends recently, and I nearly died six years ago. Surely you've experienced what are called unexplainable coincidences. I was 46 when Tommy died at age 54. Closure on Jeff's Collie has occurred for me after 46 years when I'm now 54.

    Whatever the time we have left, we can take comfort that Tommy and his TV family live on through the Best of Jeff's Collie. Indeed, it's the very best.
  • I've watched a few episodes of the '54-'58 Jeff's Collie [Lassie] and it brought back some good child memories. Being Hispanic and living in New York City, I fantasized how nice it would be to live in the midwest, on a farm, where I could go out with a friend like Porky, on our bicycles, and do the things they did like going fishing, and having a great dog like Lassie to watch over us. I would hear how they greeted each other with what I believe was "Aquie! Aquie!" Which in Spanish means over here, over here. Next time anyone watches the show, listen to their greeting, aquie, aquie, and see if I'm right. Sorry to hear that Tommy Rettig [Jeff Miller] past away. I'll be looking for Joey D. Veira's [Porky Brockway] movies, to see what he looks like as an adult. I know what John Provost [Timmy Martin] looks like. Thanks to the TV network/s, and IMD.com, for helping us walk down memory lane.
  • I, too, have to chime in with the folks who prefer "Jeff's Collie" to the other incarnations of "Lassie". Tommy Rettig, rest his soul, was superb, as were Jan Clayton and George Cleveland (and the wonderful boy who played Porky, sorry, I've forgotten his name). Perfect family entertainment -- and a brilliant vehicle for teaching young and old alike the all-important lessons in empathy and do unto others. What better way to learn how to look beyond appearances and taking things at face value, than taking the time to understand what a dog is feeling or trying to tell us? Sometimes the storylines were amazing, considering the time. I saw a rerun last week that dealt with the evils of people who engage in pit bull dogfights! I feel very fortunate to have grown up with Lassie.

    BTW, thanks to the poster who remembers the book "Lassie and the Secret of the Summer" -- I LOVED that book!
  • When i was growing up in the late 50's are early 60's there was only one program we ever watched at 7pm on Sunday and it was Lassie. I remember the 2 part episode when Tommy and Lassie were lost and

    i cried at the the end of part 2 when Lassie found her way home . I was very dissapointed when the Martin's sold the farm and gave Lassie to Forest Ranger Cory Stewart. The show was never that same after that. Thanks to Discovery Kids Channel i can now see these wonderfull shows including the 1st three seasons 1954 to 57 when Jeff Miller and his family owned Lassie and the farm.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It appears I've never reviewed this series, so I'll chip in. Condensed version: All the many other reviewers and message board commentators are quite right when they say the shows with Jeff were far better than what came later.

    When I was a little kid, it was Timmy and Lassie. I think my family watched because my older sister was a huge fan of the Jeff episodes, and just kept watching, even though admitting it wasn't as good. As a kid I didn't like some elements, particularly that they seemed to want me to cry almost every week.

    When Lassie became paired with Corey the episodes really got dull and we quit watching. There was no family, no fun times, just work at saving the forest every week. No wonder Smoky Bear never got a series.

    Years later in reruns I got to see the episodes with Jeff. "WOW!" First of all, the characters were much more real--about as realistic as any TV family ever in the ways they interacted with each other. Jeff made mistakes, but wasn't in any way stupid. Ellen was usually doing all the right things in raising her son, but occasionally erred as well. Gramps was the funniest of the group, but was not a buffoon in any way.

    With Jeff, it was the story of a boy, who had a dog who he was seen training to do some tricks. They sometimes showed how he had to spend time training Lassie to do anything. Most of Lassie's heroics were running home to "Get Gramps" and bring him to wherever Jeff was. Totally believable.

    With Timmy, it was more like "Superdog" who understands hundreds of words and does all sorts of tricks, seemingly without any training at all. Nearly every week Lassie saved either Timmy or someone else from either death or serious injury.

    I think almost everyone who likes Timmy better, does so because that is the era they first saw. Even though I fit that description, I don't like Timmy years nearly as much. I think the difference between the Jeff years and the Timmy years is like the difference between a Corvette and a VW Bug. The Bug might have lots of good points, but it's not nearly the auto a Corvette is.

    I loved the comedy episodes, which were fairly frequent in the Jeff years. I remember Jeff phoning for help because "There's a lion in the yard." Another time Ellen's meeting with other women is disrupted by a seal Jeff put in the bathtub.

    Two of the most dramatic episodes that I remember that did make me cry: First the one where Jeff tries to shoot a fox and finds out he accidentally hit Lassie. He cried "I shot my Lassie." I just thought that was about the most horrible thing that could happen to a boy's dog, from the boy's perspective.

    The other episode came when Jeff, trying to help a blind soldier who had come home and whose parents didn't want him to know his collie had died, agreed to lend Lassie to this family for a couple of weeks, "just so it'll be easier" for the soldier. Somewhere along the way, with Jeff telling Lassie to stay with the other family, just got to me.

    The series was mostly drama, but with Jeff there were not so many life-threatening episodes. There were poachers of various kinds and thieves, but lots of the episodes dealt sick or wounded animals or the family being worried about the health of the other members.

    It was about a family that had a smart dog. The family was the center of the action, with the dog doing some nice tricks. It was rare for Lassie to do something so extraordinary you would think it hard to believe a dog could do that. I think the Timmy years saw "Superdog" nearly every week, which was the biggest flaw.

    I'd like to give a rating to the different eras.

    Jeff years 9

    Timmy years 5

    Corey years 2

    I never watched the later years.
  • Atreyu_II21 January 2010
    After nearly 3 years as a user of IMDb, I can't believe I haven't commented on this yet. 'Lassie' was one of the TV shows I grew up with when I was a child. In my place they used to air this in a Turkish TV channel and, as you can guess, the show was dubbed in Turkish. I don't know why they wouldn't air this in another channel. Nevertheless, I loved to watch this, even if I didn't understand a word they said.

    I am surprised that this show lasted 20 years. But I think that the episodes I watched were from the 50's, possibly with Tommy Rettig (who resembled a lot another young actor from that decade, Tommy Kirk).

    This is one of those classic shows that stay eternally in our best memories. They don't make them like this in this generation. It's a great show, with expert dog training, beautiful settings (all natural, no fake sceneries), adventure, drama, courage and emotion. Plus, it's a show that teaches useful and good lessons and values. Lassie is the hero. She is a very brave, loyal and intelligent dog. And she saves many lives, always with a happy ending, even in the most dangerous situations which she even risks her own life.

    This show increased the popularity of Rough Collies to a notorious level and became the trademark of these dog breeds. Anyone who grew up with this show associates for sure the name Lassie with this dog breed. Even if that person isn't familiar with the name of the breed, if you tell «It's a Lassie», the other person will almost for sure say «Ah yes, a Lassie! I know it!». "Lassies" are beautiful and very elegant dogs.

    'Lassie' is a timeless classic that was once very popular, but today it's so unknown is such that it's almost an optical illusion. Ask any kid of this generation if he/she is familiar with this show and see if any of them says yes...
  • This is my favorite version of Lassie as well. I watched all the re-runs on the Animal Planet channel until I had seen them all. Tommy Rettig was a talented young actor; it's a shame he passed away. It's too bad they don't make classic TV programs like this one anymore.
  • I watched that great series without fail. I always thought how great it would be to be a friend of "Jeff Miller". Of course, knowing he was really Tommy Rettig the boy actor gave me a strong desire to somehow be like him. I even dreamed of getting a part on the show. This was, of course, pure fantasy and yet I remember the intense dedication I had as a boy toward that show. I was not aware, until now, that Tommy had passed away. It saddens me to learn this. I am about the same age as he was.
  • I grew up with the Tommy Rettig "Lassie" series. Looking back on

    it, I would say that I was addicted to that show and that I fantasized

    that I was the Jeff who lived with Lassie on the Miller farm, not the

    Jeff who lived in New Jersey suburbia with a teddy bear. When George

    Cleveland died, the show decided that Tommy Rettig was too old to be

    Lassie's boy and the scenario was that since Gramps was dead, they had

    to sell the farm and go live in a crummy apartment in Capital City

    where Mom would get some miserable job and Jeff would simply go to

    school. Mom explained all this to Jeff at the kitchen table, adding

    that they couldn't take Lassie to live in some crummy Capital City

    apartment, so...... I was ten years old when seeing this unfortunate transition. I

    remember it felt like it was my life that was being eviscerated. I

    never enjoyed the "Lassie" show much after that.
  • I live and grew up in Melbourne, Australia. When I was a kid in the 1960s, I was given a book, a novel, called "Lassie: The Secret of the Summer", based on the Jeff's Collie cast of characters - Jeff, Porky, Ellen, Gramps. The story was that Jeff was trying to save up enough money to buy a record player for his room... and the Millers took in vacation guests on their farm. It was one of my favourite books of that time, in fact, I still have it somewhere. It was published by Whitman Publishing Co. of Racine, Wisconsin, I believe. I first saw the Timmy series of episodes -- and was confused when his parents changed actors suddenly. Later in the 1960s, another network reran the Jeff's Collie episodes from the 1950s. I loved the Jeff's Collie theme music -- wasn't it something classical... Mozart? All in all, a great childhood memory.

    Peter Kohn, Melbourne, Australia
  • I too remember some of the episodes when I was a kid growing up,but by far out of all the "Lassie" series that ever depicted the true meaning of a boy and his dog was that of "Jeff's Collie". My friend and I had a debate is which who was the best character of all the shows and to our decision we came with Tommy Rettig for his performance to the show. He brings a astounding depth of passion and emotion to his character and by far this was the original and the first series that really brought "Lassie" out in the open and the first ever to do so during the early 50's. When Rettig left the show in 1957,he was replaced by actor Jon Provost and the tone set the collie along with his new family,The Martin's. The family consisted of June Lockhart and Hugh Reilly as the father. In other words during this run,and in some of the episodes with Provost who played Timmy,it was always up to Lassie to get him out of a tight situation and boy was Timmy one hard headed individual at times when it came to staying out of trouble! Good girl,Lassie! When the 1960's came along the collie went into another direction where during this time the Martin family would move to another country and this time Lassie was taken up by park ranger Corey Stuart played by Robert Bray and in this one Lassie had to defend her honor by helping out Ranger Stuart at times and in a two part episode called "The Tempest" it goes into that detail where Lassie fights for survival in a barron land when the Ranger is seriously hurt after a tragic accident(worth seeing and its in color). By the end of the 1960's,Ranger Stuart and Lassie went their separate ways,and the collie would take up with another family by the 1968-1969 season and from there her services would be needed once more and thus end the shows' trimuph run making it one of the all time children's shows ever.

    For the 17 years it ran on the CBS network(from 1954-1971),Lassie was an

    American institution every Sunday evening until the network changed the overall course of its programming. Truly,she was America's favorite dog. Catch the re-runs on Nickelodeon and on the Animal Planet Channel.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    In my early NCY kiddy-hood, I recall when Timmy buried Lassie's toys, assuming as she was lost, he would never see her. again. Then there was a bark, and Lassie was HOME! I remember the scene well because my quite grumpy maternal Grandfather watched the episode with tears streaming down his face. When I saw that I was one stunned kid I can tell you!

    No one has mentioned the very last season of Lassie which was like Lassie on LSD. She was lost and lived on her own in the wild (though magically she didn't kill and eat prey, but somehow stayed healthy). She met and fell in love with a male farm collie. Then, Lassie gave birth to her love-puppies in a cave. Then, because that wasn't far fetched enough, she proceeded to travel the country side, finding unhappy people and gifting them with one of her puppies. She 'gave away' her own litter of babies. I think the show's writers were on some kind of drug. You think I made that all up? I did not!
  • Of the variations of this series, the 6 seasons that featured June Lockhart, Hugh Reilly and Jon Provost seemed to hold the episodes that worked the best for me (the other variations of the series, while good, seemed to lack the small family environment that existed with the above), and, I must admit that "Lassie" is one of the reasons that I pursued a job in the field of meteorology in my adult years (and why to this day I still enjoy camping in National Parks or Forests) - as the Bible says, a good influence at a young age is very important, and I'm grateful that through television, the program "Lassie" was the good influence I needed. After watching some of these early episodes during the TVLand "Lassie" 50th Anniversary Marathon this past weekend (4/23-24/05), the program still remains in my mind as my all-time favorite television series during my grade school years.

    In watching these episodes over the weekend, what also came to mind was the "poor simplicity" of a child living in those post-World War II times - some might think that what is shown in "Lassie" was an exaggeration for television, but, in reality was mostly true - of our favorite "toys" at that time (I was born in the mid-1950's), our green garden hose was one of our favorites during the summer months (a very inexpensive way to "go to the beach"), along with our clothesline, which we used to "transport" our stuffed animals on "long journeys" far from our house (with the use of wooden clothespins - a stuffed rabbit had the ears for just this purpose) - try explaining that to a child today!

    People should also remember that this "poor simplicity" was also a reflection of the country's recent past at that time - while in today's world, 30 years ago means 1975, in 1960 30 years earlier meant 1930 - the height of the depression, and as older Americans know, it took the country many years to recover from those very poor and simple times, and could still be felt in some ways, even during the early 1960's.

    Florida2
  • Jeff's Collie, the original in the Lassie series was by far the best of the various segments of this show. Starring Jan Clayton, Tommy Rettig,& character great - George Cleveland, the writing was a cut above and made for exciting scripts. Originally debuting in 1954, this cast lasted until the untimely passing of Cleveland in 1957.

    After various recasting, this first and superior version holds up well even today as an example of great programming from TV's early days!
  • Lassie first aired in 1954. It was created by Robert W. Maxwell. He created the perfect vehicle for teaching children (and adults) values and moulding young minds. Lassie brought in the viewers. The children learned as Jeff did. The episode, "The Leash" was especially notable as Jeff learned how to deal with the aftermath of a friend's tragedy and its implications.

    Jan Clayton is outstanding as Jeff's mother, Ellen. Ellen Miller is in my opinion, the most well developed and realistic mother in the history of television. She is a real mother, period. Her advice to Jeff as well as so many touching scenes is simply something that has to be seen to be believed. Bravo to the most talented woman in America, Jan Clayton.
  • I still like to watch reruns of Lassie on Discovery Kids network and it brings back memories of watching it as a child. Every sunday, my dad would bring me home from church and while we were haveing lunch, he would turn on Nickalodean (which was a good station back then in my oppinion) and we would watch Lassie (The episodes with the Martins, Paul, Ruth, and Timmy) He would tell me how he watched it as a kid. I really enjoyed those good times. Now that we have Digital Cable, we have the Discovery Kids Network and they have the Lassie episodes on with Jeff Miller on at 1:PM EST on sundays so we always watch it to remember the good times. I would have to say that I enjoy the episodes with Timmy Martin the most because those are the ones I grew up with.
  • EawkE8 January 1999
    Of all the "Lassie" series, this is by far the best. It is the original lassie and the most relatable of them all.

    Tommy Rettig (Jeff Miller) is an outstanding actor who brings such passion and emotion to his character.

    This is a series that can and should be seen by all ages, but especially children. It is what t.v. and movies should try to emulate again.

    Thanks to Tommy Rettig, for years of enjoyable entertainment.
  • When i was growing up in the late 50's are early 60's there was only one program we ever watched at 7pm on Sunday and it was Lassie. I remember the 2 part episode when Timmy and Lassie were lost and

    i cried at the the end of part 2 when Lassie found her way home . I was very dissapointed when the Martin's sold the farm and gave Lassie to Forest Ranger Cory Stewart. The show was never that same after that. Thanks to Discovery Kids Channel i can now see these wonderfull shows including the 1st three seasons 1954 to 57 when Jeff Miller and his family owned Lassie and the farm.
  • I grew up on this show! It was THE ONLY show that we waited to watch, and never missed an episode of. THIS WAS AND IS QUALITY TV PROGRAMMING.

    When is someone going to realize the goldmine available in restoring and releasing this classic on DVD, ESPECIALLY the complete core years. Much of what has been released is poor-fair quality and UNRESTORED.

    Please, someone restore and release the original episodes of this show.

    This is the kind of show that teaches our children morality and compassion, something that is sorely missing in TV today.

    Let your children learn what quality TV is.

    Give your children an alternative to the current trend comprised of 'Urban Lifestyle' shows and let them learn what a real high quality of life and morality is so that they have an alternative to believing that 'Urban Life' is 'Quality Life'.

    Remember, most of the TV show creators and producers do not care what a show teaches your children, All They Care About Is Creating A Show That Makes Them Money. Money Is Their Driving Force, As Parents, The Quality Of Life For Your Children Should the Driving Force Behind Everything You Do For Your Children.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    (discussing the first series only with Tommy Rettig) ... remembered fondly by the boomers as a simple tale about a boy and his dog, this series, on deeper examination, was everything but. I will share a secret with you, and if you did not grow up watching this show, you will not have a clue what I am talking about. The show was really about tradeoffs. I mean, while you were watching Timmy and his wonder dog (-- a dog who could understand English, maybe other languages as well, bark in morse code, climb trees, tie knots, do CPR, and, if in the mood, chase cats --) have wonderful adventures on the farm, 99% of those watching (ie, the Boomers, those wonderful folks who are responsible for most of the problems in this world now, trust me on this) DID NOT LIVE ON A FARM, DID NOT HAVE A PARTY LINE, DID NOT HAVE A RESIDENT GRANDPA, DID NOT HAVE CHORES, DID NOT HAVE A MOTHER WHO BAKED FRESH COOKIES FROM SCRATCH, and most importantly did not have a dog who (see above) could take shorthand and play Canasta at the same time. To believe that these tradeoffs did not go through our juvenile minds is naive. We understood what we were missing. We understood that knowingly or otherwise we had made a choice. And the producers understood this too, hence the success of the show, it showed you a life you would never have in a place you would never be. I think another reviewer may have mentioned it, but much of the show, like everything else in the world, was not what it appeared to be. BELATED SPOILERS: "Lassie" was not one dog but rather one of a half-dozen or so that trainer Rudd Weatherwax was grooming for the role. (Whether the other Lassies were "aware" that only one of them could play the role at a time is matter for canine psychologists.) Oh yes, one final note. According to Weatherwax himself, Lassie one of the first cross-gender stars in mainstream TV - a male dog, playing a female. That will give new meaning to the catchphrase, "GOOD GIRL LASSIE." OK, enough reviewing. I have chores to do.
  • "LASSIE," in my opinion, is a must-see CBS hit! Despite the fact that I've never seen every episode, I still enjoyed it. It's hard to say which one is my favorite. Also, I really loved the theme song. If you ask me, even though I liked everyone, it would have been nice if everyone had stayed on the show throughout its entire run. Everyone always gave a good performance, the production design was spectacular, the costumes were well-designed, and the writing was always very strong. In conclusion, even though it can be seen on TV Land now, I strongly recommend you catch it just in case it goes off the air for good
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This listing for "Lassie" is extremely biased. In 1954 when this TV series first aired Jon Provost was only about 4 years old. The ORIGINAL cast is not even mentioned here and one must look up the bios of each principal actor to even find their contributions. There were over 100 episodes without Jon Provost!

    In this writer's opinion the best performances in the TV Lassie series were by the original cast: Tommy Rettig, Jan Clayton, and George Cleveland. Jon, June Lockhart and company, by comparison, never could match the sparkle of the original cast.

    That said, when Lassie was acted by Jon Provost and June Lockhart it was nevertheless a fine show. But to us old timers we lost our "family" and the pain of it was inconsolable by the new cast.
  • Hoo-boy, am I going to be the bad-guy regarding comments about this show. Everybody loves dogs and animals, and yes, Lassie (who, I understand was played by a series of male Collies - they found that female collies were difficult to train and work with) was an incredibly well-trained and smart dog. That part was fun. But, as a t.v. show, I found the plots to be contrived and the pace of the shows to be slow, filled with long spaces with no dialog. The music was schmaltzy and maudlin, as were the plots, I'm afraid. Timmie, played by John Provost was a cute child actor. He seemed to go for long periods without checkin' in with Mom or Dad. You'd think as much trouble as he got in where Lassie had to go find Mom and Dad to rescue him, the Martins would have kept a little tighter reign on their boy. Lassie had this uncanny ability to communicate long complex sentences with only a bark or two. She also had an amazing ability to understand fairly complex English sentences. As a family show, it was obviously aimed at families with younger children. It was a fun show, if you could suspend reality enough to stay with it.
  • I was not born when the Lassie series starting in 1954. The only episodes saw Lassie was from 1964 to 1968 when she was owned by the U.S. Forest Ranger Corey Stuart. I was sad when Corey Stuart was severely injure while fighting a forest fire and his character was taken out of the series. One of Lassie's episode was a guy dumping out all his garbage into a river and the guy with Lassie's help save a raccoon whose head was stuck in a tin can which was part of the man's garbage. The man look at the river and saw how he had despoil the river's beauty with his trash plus nearly causing an animal to die from it. He went back down the river to remove all the garbage. It show how we should protect, respect, and cherish nature and not treat it like a huge dumping ground for all our garbage. That is why we have agencies like Fish and Game and the Forest Service to protect the land from human misconduct.