Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the Movie urban legends featured so far.
MOVIE/TV URBAN LEGEND: MGM gave up the rights to Lassie in exchange for not paying $40,000 in back pay to owner/trainer Rudd Weatherwax.
(NOTE: This is also pretty much a TV Legend, as well, so I’ll include it in both archives)
Rudd Weatherwax and his brother Frank trained the dog Pal who starred in the hit 1943 film, Lassie Come Home (co-starring a young Roddy McDowell), which was adapted from the Eric Knight novel of the same name.
The movie was popular enough to spin off a series of sequels, including, among others, one film featuring a young Elizabeth Taylor…
In 1951, the film series was dried up and MGM was looking for a way to get out of their contract with Weatherwax. They still owed him another $40,000, which certainly was not chump change in 1951. What they decided to do next changed, well, Lassie’s history, at least, forever.
Continue reading “Did MGM Give Up Their Rights to Lassie Just to Avoid Paying Lassie’s Trainer Backpay They Owed Him?”