Forever Stay: Author Ace Mask Inspired by Lassie's Legacy
When Dreamworks Animation acquired the rights to the Lassie character in 2013 the company stated that the world’s most famous dog would be used for marketing and promotional purposes but that there were no plans to create any new stories. The reasoning behind Dreamworks’ decision was based on the belief that in this age of Harry Potter and superhero action movies, today’s young people would find little interest in a rural story of a boy and his collie.
As the owner of three collies who are very actively involved in therapy dog work, I’ve found that despite a very large recognition factor among adults, few of today’s children have ever heard of Lassie and a large percentage have never seen a collie. Once America’s most famous dog, when the weekly “Lassie” television program was cancelled in the mid 1960s, other breeds have gradually overtaken the collie in popularity.
Would it be possible, I began to wonder, to bring the classic collie stories personified by Eric Knight and Albert Payson Terhune into the 21st century? Though their books still retain their ability to entertain, I decided to try my hand at placing my book, Forever Stay amid such contemporary elements as social media and corporate greed, with enough mystery and action to appeal to both teens and adults.
When an autistic boy inherits a mysterious collie from his estranged grandfather, a multi-billion dollar corporation lays claim to the dog, triggering a national frenzy and an adventure that ultimately challenges the boy to make a poignant decision, testing the love of the boy and his collie.
Dreamworks Animation was recently purchased by NBC Universal and they’ve made no announcements concerning their plans for the Lassie character. Though from a corporate perspective a new Lassie story might be considered high risk, we can only wish for a small dose of family entertainment that doesn’t rely exclusively on high tech and explosives.
After all, if we only offer young people a continuing diet of candy, they may never know the occasional pleasure that can be found in an apple or orange.
by Ace Mask, author of Forever Stay (Kane the Collie), pictured above with collies Kane, Reign, and Heather.