In the late 1970's, Jack and Bonita Wrather lamented the state of the movies. So, reaching into their IP vault, they pulled out Lassie and decided to produce an old-fashioned musical featuring songs by Richard and Robert Sherman and a score produced by Irwin Kostal.
Of course, both the Sherman Brothers and Irwin Kostal had worked on many projects for Walt Disney in the past. The Wrathers still owned and operated the DISNEYLAND Hotel at the time. Many people still believe the film was released by Walt Disney Pictures, but the studio had nothing to do with the film. It was having an identity crisis of its own at the time and wasn't sure where it was headed. The Wrathers found another distributor and released their clean "family film" into theaters.
Despite starring Jimmy Stewart, the film was a disappointment at the box office. Viewers found it too old fashioned and creaky. Many people were fairly certain that Walt Disney wouldn't have been producing the same type of films his studio was releasing in the 1970's, but they were absolutely certain that he wouldn't have made The Magic of Lassie. Not in a year that also saw the release of Star Wars.