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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Lassie's Roots Revealed

052306lassie (AP Photo/HO/Classic Media)

Recently, The Slug hung out with the biggest bitch in Hollywood for this story. Little did we know Lassie was such a controversial figure. She seemed so nice! After the story was published, we received this letter, setting the record straight about the pooch's history. In our defense, we were just writing about hanging with the bitch for one night. We weren't hired to write her biography. (But we totally would. Lassie, call us!) The bizarre letter, after the jump.

I read your syndicated article regarding “A Day in the Life of Lassie” in the Orange County Register and was shocked to see there was no mention or reference to the name Weatherwax. Why?

The bigger story is “a strange cover-up” that’s spreading regarding these two amazing dog trainers: Rudd Weatherwax and his son Bob, the real owners and trainers of the original dogs that played the role of Lassie in all the MGM films and later TV shows.  The first Lassie, Pal was owned by them…as is the ninth generation dog who’s played in several TV commercials this past year. (Old Yeller, Asta and Toto were also Weatherwax family trained dogs.)

However, you did mention Carol Riggins, who worked as a Weatherwax assistant several years ago… You gave the impression that she alone created the lineage of dogs who’ve played the role of Lassie- and it’s just not true. The accolades and awards for all the years of hard work and dedication that should have gone to Weatherwax were swept under the rug. That’s a powerful story that AP should research and cover and one the American public would love to read.

I know Bob Weatherwax personally- what you did was add to the obliteration of his family’s name, reputation, history, wonderful abilities and services they provided. You took for granted that all the collies that played the role of Lassie these 45 plus years were always provided by Ms. Riggins and this is just not true (Do the math). Let the millions of fans of this wonderful intellectual property know the truth: The Weatherwaxs were the real owners and trainers of nine generations of Pal and they were the ones truly instrumental in creating, training and maintaining this memorable animal icon loved worldwide.

Sincerely Yours,

Bill Teitelbaum

Writer / Producer / Cartoonist

All we have to say: Woof!


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