|Please note that I have seen every episode of Lassie as listed in this guide. Therefore, although the titles and dates of these episodes have been gleaned from other sources (as cited on the contents page to this episode guide), any description and comments are mine.
Garth Holden: Ron Hayes
Sue Lambert: Sherry Boucher
Ron Holden: Skip Burton
Dale Mitchell: Larry Wilcox
Lucy Baker: Pamelyn Ferdin
Mike Bishop: Joshua Albee
Willy Carson: Radames Pera
Lane: Stuart Lee
Andy Lopez: Mark Miranda
Karl Burkholm: Karl Swenson
Elaine Baker: Jay W. MacIntosh
Lassie's final two seasons were seen in syndication. In an effort to give the show back some "home roots," Lassie was now based at the Holden Ranch, run by Garth Holden, who kept the place as a foster home for abandoned boys. This should have provided the series with some good adventure stories, but new restrictions on the content of children's television programs plus efforts to keep the show "relevant" managed to curtail what adventure could be shown. The series unfortunately reverted to heavy-handed morality tales that wove the story around the theme rather than vice versa.
Season eighteen episodes continued the practice of having no static title sequence; instead a unique title sequence was generated for each episode from a scene in the first few minutes of the story. The ones I have found are shown below, except for part one of "Peace is Our Profession" and part one of "Paths of Courage." Those two screencaps are on the Lassie Titles and Credits page.
The closing credits for this season and the next were done against a plain green screen. Occasionally a head shot of Lassie would be on the lower right corner of the screen, but this was uncommon.
(NOTE: Since the series was in syndication, it appeared on different days/dates in different parts of the country. The dates that follow are the New York City
- "Fury Falls" (10/07/71):
- A hawk Lassie rescues from entanglement in kite string returns the favor when the coyote pup Lassie has befriended is threatened by a snake. But it's Lassie herself who then must be rescued by Ron Holden and Dale Mitchell, two young men on a hiking trip, after she must save the hapless pup from nearby rapids.
Note: As a link to earlier episodes, Ron mentions that he once did some work for the Forest Service and they had a collie who was "special."
- "Search for Yesterday" (10/14/71):
- Now accompanied by Lassie, Ron and Dale have the gold they have been placer mining during their hiking trip assayedand just for the heck of it, buy an old treasure map and go in search of a gold mine. The final clue leads them to a cemetery, where the shadow of a gravestone points the way to a source of gold, but by the look of the abandoned mineworkings, it's been played out. While exploring the old site, sunlight beaming through an old bottle starts a grass fire, which heads right toward an old shed with dynamite left in it. While keeping the fire away from the shed, Dale's leg is trapped. Ben Wiggins: Frank Ferguson.
Note: Directly follows "Fury Falls"; we learn more about Dale's past as a troublemaker before he was taken in by Ron's father, Garth. Ferguson, of course, played Lassie's original vet, Dr. Wilson, in the Jeff episodes.
- "Trouble Tracks" (10/21/71):
- As Ron and Dale continue their hiking trip, they come upon an old railroad handcar on what looks like a disused railroad track and decide to ride it up the line, colliding with a rail car owned by Zane Maddox, who is re-establishing the rail line. While Ron and Dale work off their debt painting the water tower, Lassie plays with Nipper, the little fluffy white dog who is the railroad mascot. As Nipper shows Lassie around, his collar is trapped on the turntable, and Lassie must get someone to help him. Zane Maddox: Bert Freed.
Trivia: The train they are using was built in 1891.
Note: Wonder if that's the same handcar and rail car that was used in "Casey" and some other episodes? It's definitely the old water tower near the Shady Rest Hotel in Petticoat Junction and Junction's "Cannonball" locomotive and train! Filmed at the Sierra Railroad in Jamestown, California. The IMDb credits Nipper as being played by "Higgins," the Petticoat Junction dog who later went on to fame as Benji, but the dog here is definitely not Benji. It could be the little dog who played Tiffany, though.
- "Wings of the Ghost" (10/28/71):
- Dale gets his railroad ride when Zane Maddox drops the boys and Lassie off where they can hike through pretty country until they reach a highway to catch a bus home, but they are soon in pursuit of a baby rabbit that fell into a canal and is being swept downstream. Continuing on their way, the boys stop at a derelict house for the night, teasing each other about ghosts, where Dale promptly falls through a rotten patch of flooring. During the night they are continually disturbed by sounds from the attic. Zane Maddox: Bert Freed.
Trivia: Zane and Nipper drop Ron, Dale and Lassie at San Carlos Junction. Dale nicknames the place "Hotel Dracula."
Note: Dale continues to talk about Garth and how the man turned his life around. The "ghost" turns out to be a buzzard incubating her eggs.
- "Homecoming" (11/04/71):
- Ron and Dale return to the Holden Ranch, where Lassie is welcomed by Garth Holden and his foster sons, including Mike Bishop, a withdrawn little boy who never knew his parents and who has never even celebrated his birthday. But Karl Burkholm, touched by Mike's story, conspires with the Holdens to make a special day for Mike. Lane: Stuart Lee. Andy: Mark Miranda (who formerly played "Neeka"). Karl Burkholm: Karl Swenson. Dr. Sue Lambert: Sherry Boucher.
Trivia: The boys state they found Lassie "up north." Garth collects and restores old wagons.
Note: The new format of the series officially takes over here. Mike's little Appaloosa pony is introduced, as well as veterinarian Sue Lambert and the animal park at which she works, a refuge for unwanted wild pets and zoo animals. Sue, as you will note if you view further episodes, was played as a younger woman in these first few stories, and, with a change of actress, as an older, more traditional vet in "Circle of Life" and appearances in the next season. Karl, a baker, is also introduced, and you see a little of Solvang, California, the nearby Danish community. Classic film star Rosalind Russell married a Danish man and they held the wedding in Solvang.
- "Orphan of the Wild" (11/11/71):
- While riding out to see a new colt, Garth and Mike are led by Lassie to an injured owl in an old windmill, and take the bird to the animal park where Dr. Lambert treats it. She suggests Mike come back to "help the owl" when it seems being with the animals makes him feel better, but he becomes quite attached to the bird. In the end, it appears Lassie persuades the owl to stay with the other free-flight birds at the animal park. Sue: Sherry Boucher.
Note: The animal park sequences were filmed at Andersen's Animal Park in Buellton, California, founded by noted animal trainer and activist Pat Derby.
- "Day of Disaster" (11/18/71):
- While in town picking up a gift for Garth, Ron is knocked unconscious when an earthquake strikes, and when he comes to, Lassie has escaped from the truck. As he and the dog search for each other, Lassie helps fellow animals dislocated by the quake, and Ron enlists his father in the search. Barbara: Barbara Wells. Nurse: Alice Frost.
Note: This episode was filmed in the debris left over from the 1971 Sylmar earthquake. The sign on the church bulletin board at the end says: "In all things it is better to hope than to despair....Goethe"
- "The Schemer" (11/25/71):
- Ron and Lassie return home from a trip to find Mike has adopted a raccoon from the animal parkand "Rags" is immediately jealous of Lassie. Soon dog and raccoon are embroiled in a feud, endangering both of them on a house construction site when a fire breaks out.
- "The Flying Grandpa" (12/02/71):
- Mike befriends Henry Newton, who flies a Curtis Pusher at airshows under the name "The Flying Grandpa," when his aircraft breaks down in the Holden pasture. His long involved tall tales of bravery during air feats impress the boy, but bother Garth, who thinks Newton's lies might backfire. And when a bear charges Newton and Mike, the elderly man finds out they do. Newton: Richard Haydn.
Trivia: Mike's little grey Appaloosa pony is named "Apple."
Note: Another Sound of Music alumni visits Lassie: Haydn was Max the empresario in that movie. We really could have done without Garth's five minute lecture to Henry; let him learn his lesson on his own. "The Whopper" makes the point better without the lecture.
- "Mustang" part 1 (12/09/71):
- While Garth and Dale survey rangeland to see if it's suitable for grazing cattle, they see a herd of wild horses and a young white stallion challenging the older black
leader; Garth predicts the white horse will soon succeed in ousting the older one. When the white stallion is triumphant, even driving the injured black horse away from water, Lassie tries to lead him to safety before he collapses.
Note: Introduces Midnight.
- "Mustang" part 2 (12/16/71):
- As Lassie gently leads the stallion back to the Holden Ranch, Garth and Dale leave food. vitamins, salt and drink for the animal to help him heal and further lure him in. Dale wonders why Garth does not simply rope him, but Garth prefers that the stallion makes the choice to live at the ranch willingly, regaining his pride and his will to live in the process.
- "Roundup" (01/13/72):
- Ron and Dale, home from college, go out on the annual stray roundup and make a bet on which of them will find the most cattle. But it's Lassie who gets the jump on them, helps a calf stuck in quicksand, and then must help Ron from being trampled by the herd when he's thrown from his horse.
Trivia: The horse Garth is grooming is named Jubal. The cattle have wandered into Mill Valley and Stone Canyon. When he was ten years old, Ron wanted to be the Lone Ranger; Dale said that was good because he wanted to be Tonto.
Note: Another half hour spent around Vasquez Rocks.
- "Dream Seeker" (01/20/72):
- Ron and Dale, spending two days camping at Pine Lake before returning to college, give a lift to a teenage boy that Dale can sense is "on the run." Sure enough, once Ron and Dale drop him off, he builds a campsite in the woods. When the boys find his camp in the woods, he steals one of the motorcycles they've rented. Willy Carson: Radames Pera.
Note: "Rad" Pera was a "Tiger Beat" magazine regular in the 1970s. He later played young Caine in the series Kung Fu.
- "Peace is Our Profession" part 1 (01/28/72):
- Lassie accompanies Garth to Vandenberg Air Force Base, where Garth will be best man at the wedding of Pat, one of his foster sons. After Pat and his partner Dave Winton, along with Air Force chaplain Kenneth Stone, take Garth to witness a Minuteman missile launch, Lassie becomes involved with a snow goose who has laid her eggs in a missile launching area. Pat: Robert Dunlap. Lt. Colonel Stone: Jack Ging. General Davis: Philip Bourneuf. Voice of Range Control Officer: H. Lloyd Nelson.
Trivia: Chaplain Stone helped Garth start his ranch for boys. He is transferring to March Air Force Base to start a program for disabled children called "CHAP, Children Have a Potential," but is presently assigned to Offut Air Force Base in Nebraska. He is a 16-year veteran of the Air Force.
Note: Nice footage of 70s-era Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
- "Peace is Our Profession" part 2 (02/04/72):
- Lassie violates missile range space to rescue the goose from an upcoming launch. With the goslings safely hatched, she accompanies Chaplain Stone to help him with his children's project, but first back to his post at Offut. There Lassie befriends a diabetic poodle named Sparky who stows away on the "Looking Glass," the Strategic Air Command's airborne command post, to be with his ownerbut he hasn't had his daily insulin shot. Col. Gene Cameron: Frank Aletter. Stone: Jack Ging. Voice of Range Control Officer: H. Lloyd Nelson.
Note: More vintage footage of a missile launch at Vandenburg, plus slides and later footage of a vanished piece of military history, the Looking Glass, the airborne base of the Strategic Air Command during the Cold War.
- "Peace is Our Profession" part 3 (02/11/72):
- Sparky is found aboard the Looking Glass, but, as the 8-hour tour of duty continues, he begins to show signs of sinking into a diabetic coma. In the nick of time, Cameron's Looking Glass flight is permitted to land early and Sparky is saved. Later, at his new post at March Air Force Base, Lassie and Col. Stone meet Jimmy Fredericks, a boy who wears a leg brace and who has rejected God because of his lameness. Stone: Jack Ging. Col. Gene Cameron: Frank Aletter. Jimmy: Stephen Hudis. Gail Fredericks: Nina Shipman.
Note: More vintage footage of the B-52 aircraft used as the Looking Glass.
- "Peace is Our Profession" part 4 (02/18/72):
- When Jimmy's father's aircraft is stricken with a power failure that may impede the lowering of the landing gear and cause the plane to crash, the boy must re-examine
his faith as he awaits the outcome. Jimmy: Stephen Hudis. Stone: Jack Ging. Gail Fredericks: Nina Shipman. Jim Fredericks: Ryan MacDonald. Co-Pilot: Dan Barton. Colonel Bill Morgan: Kenneth Tobey.
Note: The four-part story also features Murray MacLeod, Richard Tretter, Harry Holcombe, William Sylvester, and Donald Briggs in the cast. Thanks to Sharon Turner for additional cast details. More footage of B-52 aircraft and also emergency procedures at US air bases is shown. The prayer
at the end says:
Lord, guard and guide
the men who fly
through the great
spaces of the sky,
Be with them
traversing the air in
darkening storms or sunshine fair.
- "Paths of Courage" part 1 (02/25/72):
- Hoping to give a boost to his confidence, Garth has taken Jimmy Fredericks back to the ranch with him, where he bunks in with Andy. While on a horseback ride with Garth, Jimmy meets the Holdens' new neighbor Lucy Baker, a girl who's been deaf most of her life, and her pet wolf Mountie. While Jimmy and Lucy get to know each other, Mountie, playing with Lassie, gets his leash caught on a branch. While Lassie races to fetch Lucy and Jimmy, a crow begins tormenting the wolf, who finally breaks free and runs by the newly-arrived flock of sheep. Domenic Cavallo, the shepherd, doesn't realize he's a pet and shoots him. Jimmy: Stephen Hudis. Andy: Mark Miranda. Domenic Cavallo: Cesare Danova.
Trivia: Andy has been at the ranch for four years. Lucy has been deaf since she was five years old. Both children are twelve. The Bakers have just moved onto the old Johannsen place. Elaine Baker works in Solvang.
- "Paths of Courage" part 2 (03/03/72):
- After Lucy and Jimmy find injured Mountie in the cave where Lassie has hidden him before running home to fetch Garth, Lucy sends Jimmy for help on her horse. He is terrified, but does so for her sake, and despite being thrown once, eventually finds Domenic. Jimmy and Domenic arrive just as Lassie returns with Garth, and Domenic removes the bullet from Mountie's flank. Jimmy: Stephen Hudis. Domenic Cavallo: Cesare Danova.
- "Circle of Life" (03/10/72):
- When Mountie weakens and then dies, even normally optimistic Lucy cannot understand and sinks into depression, so Sue asks her to help out at the wild animal park to take her mind off her loss. Eventually Lucy begins taking an interest in the animals, including a llama about to give birth. Sue: Sherry Boucher.
Trivia: Lucy is staying with the Holdens while her mother's away, and tells Garth her mom promises them a big meal when she returns. She mentions having gotten a letter from Jimmy. Sue Lambert: Joan Freeman.
One of the season 18 credits with Lassie's profile.
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