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TV: Changes Coming to “Lassie”

Mar. 4, 1964 - The combination of a boy and a dog, which has made “Lassie” a television hit for 10 years, will be broken up at the end of this season. Next fall, the dog Lassie will have a forest ranger as a master, and the boy Timmy will no longer be in the cast.

Recently, the producers of “Lassie” announced that the series had been renewed for the 1964-65 season by the Campbell Soup Company, a sponsor since the show made its debut on Sept. 12, 1954, on CBS-TV.

It was learned today that plans had been completed for the major transition in the “Lassie” story line. In addition to Timmy, portrayed by Jon Provost, the series will eliminate his foster parents, played by June Lockhart and Hugh Reilly. In a script to be performed this year, Timmy and his parents will move to Australia. According to circumstances, they find it impossible to take Lassie, and the dog is entrusted to the forest ranger.

The ranger was introduced in a recent five-part installment, although he may not be seen on the show again until next season. The role is played by Robert Bray, who apparently will be the only new principal character.


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