Serving the High Plains

Timmy's tell-all ruined more than 'Lassie'

Turns out Timmy is not stuck in a well and, furthermore, he never has been stuck in a well.

What deception!

I caught a Fox News interview with Jon Provost, better known as Timmy Martin, where he confesses that Timmy never was trapped in a well in any of the TV classic serials of the show “Lassie.” He says he’s not exactly sure where the modern-day myth came from, but before he penned his autobiography “Timmy’s in the Well,” he reviewed every episode just to make sure he never spent time at the bottom of a well.

Apparently there were other characters over the years that got trapped in abandoned wells (a popular Hollywood predicament of the era). Timmy was trapped in more than one mine, fell into lakes and was likely one of the most accident-prone youngsters on TV. So that’s likely how comedians picked up the joke.

Timmy had to get into some kind of trouble or save someone else in danger in pretty much every episode. That was the template of the show. Timmy does something stupid, he finally gets out of the jam with Lassie’s help, Mom welcomes him home with a tearful hug and Dad turns the incident into a teachable moment with a moral around the country kitchen table.

“Flipper” and “Gentle Ben” used exactly the same format with equally cute kids and just substituted a fish and a friendly bear for the collie. It was good TV and responsible largely for my morally sound fiber and ability to get into all kinds of trouble.

The interview with Timmy did burst a few childhood bubbles that I wish had remained intact.

For instance, Lassie wasn’t a lass at all. He was a she, the first television transvestite apparently. They even had an episode every year of Lassie having puppies, I guess just because puppies are cute.

Another deceit: that wonderful farmhouse with its yard full of chickens, barn and country kitchen was just a soundstage at Desilu Studios.

Worst of all, Timmy couldn’t stick to ruining just “Lassie.” Oh no, he ventured off into the television heaven that is Mayberry, North Carolina. He talks about filming at the same lake shown in the opening credits of “The Andy Griffith Show.” The one where Andy and Opie are seen strolling down the trail with fishing poles over their shoulders as Opie stops to skip a stone. That iconic scene is apparently a location right below Mulholland Drive, a short distance from Hollywood.

Timmy is no longer my best friend. In fact I hope he does fall down a well some day. Just see if Lassie comes to his rescue now after all of his tell-all stories.

He never could hold a candle to Ron Howard’s Opie anyway.

Karl Terry writes for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at:

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