This cartoon featured Lassie, America's favorite collie, as the leader of The Rescue Rangers, which consisted of the Turner family, Gene Fox (an Indian), and several animals like Toothless ...
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This cartoon featured Lassie, America's favorite collie, as the leader of The Rescue Rangers, which consisted of the Turner family, Gene Fox (an Indian), and several animals like Toothless the mountain lion, Robbie the raccoon and more. Written by
Originally premiered as a one hour animated movie special that was featured in September of 1972 as part of the ABC Saturday Superstar Movie. On the strength of that one hour pilot movie it went directly into a weekly animated series that was only seen on Saturday Mornings. This was pretty much an interesting early 1970's show that was part of ABC-TV's Sunshine Saturday Morning Line-Up of cartoons and live-action specials. When it was released,the live-action version of "Lassie" was ending its run on the air,after an astounding 19 years on television which started with the "Lassie" series(which ran on CBS-TV from 1954 until 1971),and later on with "The New Adventures Of Lassie"(which was in first-run syndication from 1971 until 1973). After the live-action version of "Lassie" left the airwaves in the spring of 1973,America's favorite collie continued her adventures onward...as an Saturday Morning animated cartoon.
"Lassie's Rescue Rangers",was just that,the continued adventures of America's favorite collie as an animated cartoon aired on ABC-TV for three seasons beginning in September of 1973 and ending in June of 1976 with a lot of repeated episodes that aired in the last two seasons. Its last season,the series moved from Saturday Mornings to Sunday Mornings. This cartoon premiered the same year as another animated series came out in the fall of 1973...."Superfriends",which was also on ABC as well. You have to remember at the time "Lassie's Rescue Rangers" came out,it came out in the era when violence was pretty much eliminated from all Saturday Morning programming including its cartoons.
In this new version,which was produced by Filmation Productions and produced by Lou Scheimer and Norman Prescott with direction by Hal Sutherland....Lassie is given a new home....This time around her new owners are the Turner's,who run and operate Thunder Mountain National Park. Lassie's owner is Ben Turner,the leader of the group and chief of head park ranger of operations of Thunder Mountain National Park(voiced by Ted Knight,of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show",fame and also the narrator here as well not to mention the voiceovers for several cartoons including being the narrator for the first two seasons of the animated series "Superfriends"). Along with him are his wife Laura Turner(Jane Webb),and the Turner children which consisted of older brother Jackie Turner(voiced by Lane Scheimer,the son of Filmation producer Lou Scheimer in the first season,and later by Keith Sutherland who is the son of Filmation animated director Hal Sutherland),sister Susan Turner (voiced by Erika Scheimer,the daughter of Filmation producer Lou Scheimer),and the youngest of the clan,the troublesome tyke,Ben Turner Jr.(voiced by Hal Harvey). Their friend in times of need was Gene Fox,a Native American who lived in the park and could communicate with nature and was a park ranger as well. Together,they save the park from disasters and not to mention individuals who start trouble in times of crisis. They would work from their home base in the forest rescuing various people from danger or go to various locations around the country and show their unique skills. Not to mention Lassie's brilliant talents too in helping out in impossible situations. The episodes had the unintentional parody of the original "Lassie" television show and that was during the show's first season,and when season two came along the formula stopped.
The animated is barely acceptable since Filmation uses a lot of reused scenes in order to cut production costs as well(very noticeable Lassie leaps toward the screen from the same tree in the same shot and this was just about in every episode not to mention the same dogfighting sequence too). The sound effects and that corny music in each episode is not only atrocious but repulsive. It may worked for the little ones but with the older kids it was too much. Joining Lassie are a motley assortment of animals who live in the park,and who rescue trapped children,animals threatened by fire and others of interest. Not to mention in every episode,Lassie always rescues Ben Turner,Jr. from a dangerous and certain fate. Ben Turner Jr., was like Timmy Martin,a hard-headed individual who always gets himself into trouble and its up to the family to bail him out. Even though adults and older kids may find it silly and repulsive,but you have to be eight or nine years old at the time this came out--was not to be missed! And furthermore,who can beat Lassie,a wacky assortment of animal pals,impossible rescues and not to mention a cliffhanging disaster that had you on the edge of your seat each week?
Episodes where Lassie is in diving gear(underwater),and not to mention hang guiding from a plane is worth seeing. Only in an animated cartoon!
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