This was one of the series' best episodes, with much to laugh at and a nice bit of drama in which Lassie played an important, but believable role.
Porky gets a mimeograph machine and he and Jeff decide to start up a newspaper. Gramps suggests they can buy supplies they need at the Calverton newspaper office. While the boys ride to town, he phones the editor and asks him to let them have what they need on credit, but not to make it too easy for them.
The boys wind up signing what Jeff calls a "mortgage" on Lassie in exchange for the supplies, figuring to pay out of their profits. They write a story that accidentally implies there is something shady in the local judge's committee for a town war memorial. Nobody knew it, but the two men the judge was working with to create a statue were crooks and Jeff and Porky's story caused them to be concerned that they were soon to be discovered.
They decide to abscond with the money raised already, instead of waiting for the full amount to be donated. Due to some luck, the boys overhear them planning to leave town. They tell the judge but he dismisses it as their imagination, until he finds out they left their hotel. The judge, with a shotgun, and Gramps, Lassie and the boys chase down the two crooks and get the money back.
The laughs mostly come from the boys' stories in the paper, which made Ellen crack up at the way they are written. There was a funny scene in the newspaper office when the boys try to present their collateral, in exchange for the credit account--pocketknife, rope, frog, etc.
I got to thinking that Jeff, Timmy and Lassie may have caused the arrest of more criminals than Sgt. Joe Friday and his partners.
To me, this episode is why I loved the series. Drama, comedy, and Lassie was important in catching the crooks--but not in a "Superdog" type of way, like she was later on too often with Timmy and beyond.
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