Help! Timmy Fell In The Gravity Well!

By Daniel Dern: Eric Mowbray Knight’s best known character is probably Lassie (the canine), from his 1940 novel, Lassie Come-Home, which went on to begat the TV series (with a series of male dogs playing the titular female dog).

I wouldn’t have known that there had been a prior-to-TV book, nor the author’s name, except that, because I’d been pinged by Eric T Knight of the Action Fantasy Book Club, whose mailing list is one of several I’ve recently joined/subscribed to.

(I haven’t yet gotten an ack or other reply to my “are you related to EMK?” messages to him.)

The SFnal connection with Eric Mobray Knight — along with a handful of mainstream books, he (EMK)  also wrote, and, was (dunno whether still is) better/best known (among some of us grey-haired fen, presumably) for his stories/books/series about Sam Small, aka The Flying Yorkshireman. I’ve read, and might have somewhere in my stacks/boxes of books, at least one, ahem, Small volume. I can more or less visualize the book (smallish hardcover) and an illustration or two.

The title is literal; Sam Small can fly. It feels like he wasn’t flying at great speeds, etc., but still. And I don’t recall there being any explanation of how it works, other than, possibly, requires some alcohol, e.g., a glass or two at Small’s local Yorkshire pub.

I’m assuming that Knight’s Sam Small and Lassie stories were in different universes (Lassie’s based in the US, anyway), or at least times, or Small could have helped rescue Timmy from those pesky wells. I don’t see Small giving Timmy a signal watch, though…

(It looks like other Sam Small stories involve non-flying magical events.)

See the Wikipedia entry for Eric Knight.

The Amazing Adventures of The Flying Yorkshireman (Sam Small Flies Again) is available on Hoopla, Amazon, and, if I’ve sussed correctly on And possibly my bookshelf 🙂

According to (Jeopardy! GoaT) Ken Jennings, Lassie never had to rescue Timmy from a well.

OTOH, according to Jennings, “Timmy did manage to fall in the following (a partial list): two lakes, a gap between two railroad cars, two abandoned mines, quicksand, and a badger hole. Damn, that kid spent a lot of time falling into things.” And “the usually sure-footed collie fell into a well in the season 17 two-parter ‘For the Love of Lassie.'”

9 thoughts on “Help! Timmy Fell In The Gravity Well!

  1. The TV series was set in the US, but Knight’s novel was set in the UK.

    I’m not sure where the 1943 movie was set. I never saw that.

  2. Pingback: AMAZING NEWS FROM FANDOM: October 22, 2023 - Amazing Stories

  3. As any Douglas Adams reader knows, flying is simple: you throw yourself at the ground and miss. A bit of alcohol would probably help with that.

  4. @Patrick: I’ve seen pictures of me on the 1960s version of a leading string, which probably kept me out of trouble when I was two or three.

  5. Yeah, when I was a tyke there was a harness with a leash. The harness is important, because, well, parents did not put collars on their kids in those days.

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