Heroes for All Ages and a Day : Nickelodeon calls in a famous dog, horse and porpoise for 'Super Pets Day'


Probably every baby boomer who watched "Lassie" Sunday evenings on CBS from 1954 to 1971 wanted a collie just like her for his or her own.

No wonder. Lassie was ideal. Her coat was perfect. She never needed brushing and she never shed. She was house trained. She never chewed shoes. Lassie understood exactly what humans were saying and even had telepathic powers. And she didn't even mind being called Lassie even though she actually was a laddie.

One could call Lassie a "Super Pet." So it makes sense that "Lassie" would kick off Nickelodeon's "Super Pets Super Saturday," three hours of episodes from "Lassie," "Flipper" and "Mr. Ed."

The tribute begins at 9 a.m. with Lassie at her most courageous in an episode called "Trapped." This time around, she rescues Mrs. Martin (June Lockhart) from a mean and hungry cougar after Mrs. Martin somehow gets her leg caught in a trap. In "Rockhound" (10:30 a.m.), Lassie saves the day by capturing a bank robber.

"Flipper" first splashed into youngsters' hearts in 1963 in the hit movie "Flipper" and the sequel "Flipper's New Adventure." The movies spawned an NBC series in 1964, which ran for two seasons. Everyone's favorite dolphin performs his feats, or rather fins, of derring-do in two installments.

In "Explosion" (9:30 a.m.), Flip prevents a disaster when a first-time diver gets the bright idea of detonating explosives underwater. And in "Flipper and the Shark Cage" (11 a.m.), Bud (two-legged regular Tommy Norden), discovers an iron shark cage and decides to sell it for scrap metal. Bud runs into difficulties, though, when he gets trapped inside the cage. Flipper senses something fishy is going on and saves Bud from this peril.

And then there is, of course, the famous "Mr. Ed," which aired from 1961 to 1965 on CBS. The talking horse's amazing talents are on display in two episodes. Not only did the late Ed talk and dial the phone, he also was a speed demon behind the wheel of a car. In "Ed, the Chaffeur," airing at 10 a.m., Ed insists driving is easy and proves it by driving around town and driving Wilbur (Alan Young) crazy. Ed also was a very musical horse as demonstrated in "Ed, the Musician," (11:30 a.m.). Ed is in a pout because he's the only living creature not involved in the local variety show, so he decides to become a one-man band and practices at midnight in the barn.

"Super Pets Super Saturday" airs Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon on Nickelodeon.

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