Ron Hayes left the series without fanfare at the beginning of season nineteen
(reportedly he complained to the producers that the role didn't leave him enough
to do) to be replaced by Larry Pennell, playing Garth's brother Keith. In a nice
touch, instead of just throwing him into the "one big happy family" situation, the
introductory episode has the boys not quite sure what to make of this "replacement"
Australian Lassie_Chat member Sharon Turner has written this detailed synopis of "A Joyous Sound." Since it's been edited into a movie and probably won't turn up on the rerun circuit any time soon, I'm including it here. I saw this in separate parts recently and can confirm where the parts end now.
For the first ten minutes Lassie is in the bush with wild animals, where she saves a cacomistle from being attacked by a bobcat. Lassie looks at other bush animals, then comes across a gray fox (with a black tipped tail). Lassie circles to the left around a bush, barking, urging the gray fox to follow her. She succeeds. Lassie sees a nest of eggs with the mother bird nearby. An owl hoots. There are two chicks in the nest. The mother bird goes in a burrow in the ground and comes out the other end.
A black-footed ferret appears, going to the nest of eggs. Lassie scares it off, then picks up the nest gently and the hen-like bird, which bobs its head back and forth as it walks on the ground, follows Lassie to some rocks, where she lays the nest down in a safer place. The bird goes to the nest gratefully.
Lassie arrives at the Holden ranch just as a car arrives and Lucy Baker and her mother Elaine get out. Lucy says Carl is almost fully recovered from his heart operation [Elderly Carl Birkholm had a heart attack in the episode "Vigil of the Stork" lmy], and will be able to come home. She is speaking to Keith Holden, who is grooming his palomino horse. Lassie barks.
"Speaking of favorites..." Elaine points Lassie out to Lucy.
"Lassie!" Lucy cries out with joy and runs to the bridge where Lassie meets her and gives some playful woofs. Keith lets the palomino horse loose in a paddock.
While Lassie and Lucy go off on their own, Elaine tells Keith a doctor referred Lucy to an otologist in Los Angeles for some hearing tests. She is unsure whether to do it. She hasn't told Lucy yet. Keith reassures her about Lucy's courage and dignity and that she's entitled to a chance to hear again. Elaine says she'll arrange for the tests as soon as possible.
Lassie and Lucy are sitting under a tree in a paddock. Lassie hears a pigeon and squirrel. Lucy longs to hear birds, wind, and most of all, Lassie.
They go to the city of Los Angeles, Lassie sitting in the back seat with Lucy. Lucy looks at the tall buildings and Lassie licks her face.
The station wagon arrives at the hospital. Lassie whines. "I'll be all right, Lassie," Lucy reassures her. Lassie has to stay in the car until Keith comes back for her.
Elaine is given papers to fill in while Lucy has the tests. Elaine sits in the patio outside while Keith goes to get Lassie out of the car so she can wait with them.
The doctor, Dr. Robins, takes Lucy to an audiologist, Mrs. Shirley. She tells Lucy not to worry, it wouldn't hurt a bit. She sits at a table with controls on it and Dr. Robins opens the door to an enclosed room with a window. He puts headphones on Lucy and explains about the tests. The audiologist will conduct an air conduction test and a bone conduction test. Lucy is to raise her hand if she hears anything.
Elaine, Keith and Lassie are on the patio. Waiting is hard for Elaine.
Lucy hears a high pitch with the air conduction test. Next is the bone conduction test. Lucy thinks of being able to hear, especially Lassie. Suddenly she hears a high sound and raises her hand.
Mrs. Shirley tells Dr. Robins the air conduction test was on average 70-80 decibels, while the bone conduction test was better at 130 decibels. It was the same for both ears. Dr. Robins told Lucy there was a chance, a good chance.
Using a diagram of the ear, Dr. Robins shows Elaine and Keith that Lucy has conductive deafness due to a bone disease of the middle ear (otosclerosis?). He could operate the next day, and Lucy should check in at 7 o'clock that night. Lucy nods to her mother and Elaine agrees. Lucy could go home the day after the operation.
At the hotel down the street Lucy gets ready to go. She stands at the window and prays silently, then picks up her suitcase and they all go out the door.
Lucy is wheeled into surgery. Keith gets coffee for Elaine inside. Lassie is out on the patio. She looks into the empty lobby, then goes out the gate to the front grassed area. She stops before the footpath and looks across the road. A toddler is in a pram with a toy. The phone rings inside and his mother goes in to answer it. The boy throws the toy and tried to wheel himself towards it, then reachs his hand down, though he is some way off from the fallen toy. Lassie runs over the road, picks the toy up and takes it to the pram, dropping it onto it. The boy starts to cry and his mother looks out. She shoos Lassie away, thinking that she had attacked her son.
A woman with a broom appears threateningly at the footpath, and two boys passing by look on with interest. One throws his baseball mitt at Lassie. She runs off. The woman goes off to call animal control, while the boys rush after Lassie. Lassie jumps into a van with the words "Motor Industrial Laundry Service" on the side to escape from the boys. The van drives off.
The laundry truck stops in an undercover carpark to pick up more laundry. As the man opened the back doors, Lassie streaks out and runs down the winding road leading out of the carpark, narrowly missing several incoming cars.
Lassie looks around, lost, at the big buildings. She wanders the streets, looking at people to see if she recognizes anyone.
Dr. Robins tells Elaine Baker that Lucy is in recovery. Keith goes to the lobby to wait, but when he sees Lassie isn't in the patio he goes outside to look for her. Keith goes out the front and calls for Lassie, but sees no sign of her. He walks down the street.
Keith tells Elaine that Lassie is lost: he went around the block twice but saw no sign of her. He takes Elaine back to the hotel and makes some calls.
Lassie walks out of the city centre and hesitantly tries to cross the road, but she quickly backs off as a motorbike zooms past close to the curb.
Keith and Elaine are talking in a hotel room. He tells her to give the excuse to Lucy that he has to rush back to the ranch on emergency business, and took Lassie with him. Elaine agrees and asks him what he'll do. Keith said he'll make some more calls and look around some more. Elaine will hire a car and drive home with Lucy that way. Keith pours a drink of water and looks out of the window. The camera zooms up to a sign near the top of a building: "Occidental Center."
It is nighttime. We go from seeing headlights to a lamplight. Lassie walks to a water fountain and drinks, then jumps down from the ledge and lies down next to a seat to sleep (the closeup shows her head on the left of her paws, then the next scene, which pans away to look at the city, her head is between her paws).
At hospital Dr. Robins tells Elaine that Lucy is ready to go home (we don't see Lucy here, last time she was seen was going through doors on a trolley just before surgery; next time see her is at home). Dr. Robins says he will stop in the middle of the afternoon on Friday to take the packing out of Lucy's ears. He is driving to San Francisco for a medical conference at the weekend. He asks about Lassie but there is still no news. Elaine hopes they can keep it from Lucy until they know for sure if she is really gone. Elaine goes into Lucy's room, number 107, and Dr. Robins pauses reflectively with a somber expression on his face.
Keith stops the car at a park and asks an elderly man who has a Yorkshire terrier in his lap if he had seen a collie. The man hasn't.
Keith goes back to the ranch in the station wagon. There's no sign of Lassie. He watches an eagle flying overhead, which cuts to a plane flying overhead and landing at the airport. Lassie sees boys playing baseball. Another plane comes over, and Lassie whines. The boys block their ears to the loud noise of the plane, and Lassie shakes her head and runs off.
Down the rocks to the beach Lassie runs, then along the beach sand. She walks along the shore. Going up a rocky hill from the beach, Lassie reaches a barbed wire fence and goes past a sign that says "Restricted Area. US Army Ordinance Target Range". Men are getting ready to fire guns on a range. As they shoot, Lassie runs across past the targets.
"Cease fire!" the head man yells, seeing Lassie running across the firing range. The shooting slowly dies off, and Lassie runs off, escaping being shot.
On the beach again, Lassie runs.
It's Friday afternoon. Dr. Robins takes the packing out of Lucy's ears and checks them. Lucy can't hear, but he reminds her that there is still some swelling and it may be a few days before she knows. Lucy is confident that she will hear again.
Keith arrives at the Baker ranch on his palomino. He knocks on the door. Lucy is doing the washing up. Her mother answers the door and lets him in. Lucy looks around to see where her mother went, then goes into the other room and sees Keith. She greets him and asks "Didn't you bring Lassie?" She knows something is wrong. "That's what you came to tell me, isn't it? I guess I knew something was wrong when Mom and I left Los Angeles and when you didn't come to visit."
Lucy is worried, but she knows Lassie will come home again.
That night Lucy prays that Lassie will come home safely.
On the side of the highway, Lassie comes across a van. She hears a radio and sees two young men looking out to sea. One is tossing rocks. Lassie whines and limps on her right front paw. She drops to the ground, hoping to be noticed. The boys come to her and see her hurt paw. One of them gets the first aid kit from the van. They give her something to eat afterwards.
When they're ready to go on, the boys guess it's up to her if she wants to go with them. They're heading north. They call her "Beauty." Lassie looks at the road, and thinks they are going in the right direction, so she hops in the back.
One of the boys has a sleep in the back of the van (yawns, "Man, I'm beat!") while the other drives. Come night he stops the van by the side of the road. He goes in the back, accidentally bumping two dials on the gas stove. Lassie whines as he turns off the light.
Lassie smells the gas and whines. She sniffs the stove, puts her paws up and looks at the top. She confirms danger! Lassie barks at the boys. The one who'd driven wakes, groggy, turns on the light, turns the stove off, and shakes his pal. He opens the door. He and Lassie burst out, then he pulls his coughing friend out into the fresh air. His friend asks what happened? The propane burner was on. Lassie had saved their lives. They gave her a little favour and she returned it with a big one.
Driving on the highway, Lassie is sitting between the boys in the front. Recognizing the country out the window, Lassie barks. The van turns off the road. One boy says she thinks we're heading in the wrong direction for her. They let her out and Lassie leaves, barking her thanks. They guess she's going to a place, called Home.
Lassie runs across a field, across a creek, through the woods, across more fields and through more trees. She sees animals. She's near home.
Lucy is under a pine tree. She looks at the pretty pink flower, and sees the squirrel in the tree, and a bird in the sky. Then she concentrates hard. Was that a sound? Suddenly she could hear the squirrel, the birds twittering, and the wind in the leaves. And also...Lassie's bark! Lucy cries out with utter joy. "Lassie!" and runs across the field towards her.
"Lassie, oh Lassie!" Lucy hugs Lassie, overwhelmed that she could hear and that Lassie had come back!
The last scene we see is Lucy and Lassie running across the field together.
Only two credits are included: Directed by Jack Wrather, Jack B. Hively, and Dick Moder; written by Robert Schaefer and Eric Freiwald.
On the front cover it gives a list of cast members: Lassie, with Larry Pennell, Pamelyn Ferdin, Angela Green, Julianna McCarthy, Robert Weatherwax, Leonara Rogers, and Jay North.