A dog barks. "What's that, girl? Timmy's in the well?" Whenever people hear this catchphrase, they know it's about Timmy and Lassie, the world's favorite boy-and-his-dog team.
Timmy's in the Well is the story of Jon Provost, television's first child superstar, and the low-down on Lassie, one of television's most enduring shows. It is filled with celebrity anecdotes, rare photos, and memorabilia. Since his original seven-year run on the show, Provost has become a household name in 125 countries. His episodes continue to air in more than 50 countries, the checked shirt and jeans he wore as Timmy hang in the Smithsonian, and he has his own star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.
Timmy's in the Well illustrates what happens to a middle-class American family touched by fame. Jon's first job came at age three, forever altering the course of his life and the lives of his family. With nearly a dozen film appearances in a mere five years, Provost was named the top child movie actor of 1958 by the New York Film Critics. Yet he could barely read, hardly knew his siblings, and had few friends under the age of 35.
At the age of twenty and on the verge of being swallowed up by Hollywood, Provost escaped to Northern California, only to learn that a "normal" life was not possible. Unprepared to make a living, he was gripped by depression and fell into a well that was deeper and darker than any he'd ever faced. But he found his way out of that well -- on his own and without the dog.
Jon Provost's story includes a vivid portrait of the inner workings of Hollywood in the 1950s and '60s, the collapse of the studio system, the burgeoning industry of television, the rock and roll ‘60s, the Sunset Strip and a life as far away from the Martin farm as he could get. It is populated with some of the biggest names of the day: Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby, Jane Wyman, Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Kim Novak, Lucille Ball, Anita Eckberg, Rod Steiger, William Holden, June Lockhart, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, Sidney Pollack, Kurt Russell, Elvis, Nancy Sinatra, Dino Martin, Davy Jones, David Cassidy, and Mr. Ed.
Dozens of interviews add texture and humor to this thoroughly researched story. Among them are other child and teen stars, like Jay North and Jeanne Russell (Dennis the Menace), Keith Thibodeaux (I Love Lucy), David Cassidy (The Partridge Family), Davy Jones (The Monkees), Paul Petersen (The Donna Reed Show), Stanley Livingston (My Three Sons), and many more.
Provost's fascinating story gives a real insider's view of Hollywood the effects of fame on a typical American family. The fall of 2007 marks the 50th anniversary of Jon's debut as Timmy.