Pal (Lassie)

Pet type: Dog

Breed: Collie (Rough)

Born: Jun 1940

Died: 1958

Owner: Rudd Weatherwax


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Pal was the first in a line of dogs to play the role of Lassie on film and television.

Born at Cherry Osborne's Glamis Kennels in North Hollywood on June 4, 1940, Pal was the son of Red Brucie of Glamis and Bright Bauble of Glamis.

Pal's ancestry could be traced back to the 19th century and England's first great Collie, "Old Cockie".

Because of his large eyes and the white blaze on his forehead, Pal was judged not to be of the highest standards and was sold as a pet-quality dog.

Howard Peck, an animal trainer, brought the eight-month-old collie to Hollywood animal trainer Rudd Weatherwax in order to break the animal of uncontrolled barking and a habit of chasing motorcycles.

In the end Mr Peck gave the dog to Mr Weatherwax who in turn gave him to a friend. But when he learned that Eric Knight's 1940 novel, Lassie Come Home, was being considered as a feature film by MGM, Weatherwax sensed Pal was the dog to fill the role, and bought Pal back from his friend for $10.

Rudd's brother Frank Weatherwax, who trained dogs for such films as The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T and The Wizard of Oz, helped Rudd in training Pal.

The first MGM "Lassie" film was planned as a low budget, black and white children's film. Pal was among 1,500 dogs who auditioned for the title role, but was rejected because he was male, his eyes were too big, his head too flat, and a white blaze ran down his forehead.

A female prize-winning show collie was hired to play the title character. Rudd Weatherwax was hired to train the star, and Pal was hired as a stunt dog.

But as filming continued, a decision was made to use Pal instead – and the film was also upgraded to an 'A' film in technicolour and Lassie/Pal became a star. Pal went through his paces with enthusiasm, rarely required multiple retakes, and did his own stunt work.

Pal's success in Lassie Come Home in 1943 led to six more MGM films: Son of Lassie, Courage of Lassie, Hills of Home, The Sun Comes Up, Challenge to Lassie, and The Painted Hills.

When MGM decided the Lassie series had run its course, Rudd Weatherwax negotiated to retain the Lassie name and trademark.

After leaving MGM, Pal and Rudd went on the road performing at dog shows and department stores.

In 1954, Pal filmed two Lassie television pilots and CBS signed the 30-minute show up for its 1954 schedule. After filming the two pilots, Pal retired and his three-year-old son Lassie Junior stepped up to play the role for the television series. Initially, Pal went along to watch filming too, but by 1957, Pal was suffering from many of the complaints that afflict aging dogs.

Pal died in 1958, and, for months, Rudd Weatherwax slipped in and out of deep depression.

Robert Weatherwax, Rudd's son, later recalled, "It hit him very hard when Pal died. He buried him in a special place on the ranch and would often visit the grave. Dad would never again watch an MGM Lassie movie. He just couldn't bear to see Pal. He didn't want to have to be reminded of just how much he loved that dog."

Several descendants of Pal played the fictional Lassie character on television including Pal's son, Lassie Junior, and his grandsons, Spook and Baby.

Useful links:
Pet info about the Rough Collie on Lost & Fond
Wikipedia
www.lassie.com

Pet type: Dog

Breed: Collie (Rough)

Born: Jun 1940

Died: 1958

Owner: Rudd Weatherwax


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Pet type: Dog

Breed: Collie (Rough)

Born: Jun 1940

Died: 1958

Owner: Rudd Weatherwax


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Pal (Lassie)
Pal's last screen appearance, The Inheritance (1957)

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Pet type: Dog

Breed: Collie (Rough)

Born: Jun 1940

Died: 1958

Owner: Rudd Weatherwax


No gifts have yet been added to the tribute for Pal (Lassie). Why not be the first to add one?