Friday, December 24, 2004

What's That, Lassie?

One of the pleasant rituals of my childhood (at least until we started going out of town every weekend, to return too late on Sunday night to see the Beatles on "Ed Sullivan"--can you tell that still rankles?) was watching "Lassie" on Sunday evenings. This was the black and white "Lassie," with June Lockheart and Jon Provost. The show was sponsored by Campbell's Soup, if I recall correctly, and so I always had soup--usually tomato. I was probably four to six years old during that time, and utterly free of irony, as befits a small child in the late fifties. Each week I would get terribly involved, afraid that Timmy would be stuck in that mine, or unable to reclaim the treasure that was morally, if not legally, his...

So this morning Emphatic Girl calls me in to the sunroom, where she is getting her early morning ration of vacation TV (far more nourishing than school-day TV) to tell me that "Lassie" (the sixties, color version) and what they're calling "Timmy and Lassie" are showing on Discovery Kids this morning. "Just like when you were a kid! You have to watch them with me!"

With no insult intended toward Lassie himself, I have to say that the sixties "Lassie" is static, preachy--a real dog. Even the color is washed out. The print of the black and white "Lassie," however, was crisp and handsome. There's June Lockheart, beaming at Timmy. There's Timmy, earnest and honorable. And there's the dog him/herself, beautiful, beady-eyed, saving the day (in this case, stealing a calf from the farmer who wasn't taking proper care of him, but somehow the show managed to make that a case of rescue rather than theft).

Afterward Sarcasm Girl, who had wandered into the room while we were watching, asked, "Weren't you the least bit cynical about it when you were a kid?" To which I answered "I was not in the least cynical. I was five, and I loved it." (I pointed out that SG herself was not cynical watching The Little Mermaid at the same age. Sarcasm is a gift attained, not inborn.

4 Comments:

Blogger Gregory Feeley said...

Sarcasm comes only with wisdom, Grasshopper.

7:46 AM  
Blogger Gregory Feeley said...

I will note that one of my favorite recent cartoons from the New Yorker shows, in the first panel, Timmy hanging from a precipice and crying "Lassie, get help!" and in the second, Lassie on a psychiatrist's couch.

7:02 AM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...

Oh, nice.

4:49 PM  
Blogger claire said...

My favorite latest New Yorker cartoon is about "Assistant Living on the Upper West Side", where we have a teenaged youngun telling his parents that he needs $200 for skis...for his school's weekend trip, which was taking placing tomorrow. And the $35 for a entrance fee for whatever...and if it wasn't too much of a bother couldsomeone bring him a soda from the kitchen. With a straw.

I gave this to my thirteen year old Not Quite Monster. He laughed. And then had the good sense to post this on his bulletin board.

Thank the Gods of Thrift he has my sense of humor. _And_ he knows that even though we live on the Upper West Side Mother is not made of money...

--claire

7:27 PM  

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