Few shows stood as unapologetically 1970s as ABC’s ‘The Brady Bunch.’ But a mystery surrounds one of the cast members: Tiger, the family dog.
I’ve decided to try a new occasional feature here at Patrick’s Place that I’ll call Footnotes. For my first edition, I’m going to answer a question about The Brady Bunch.
Nope, I’m not answering the question of which episodes are my favorite. I’ve already done that here.
From the very first episode of the series, the boys, Greg, Peter and Bobby, had a family dog named Tiger. The girls, Marcia, Jan and Cindy, had a pet of their own: a cat named Fluffy.
The two four-legged foes famously crashed the wedding of Mike and Carol Brady, but the family survived.
Unfortunately, the pets were soon AWOL.
Fluffy was the first to go, which is why she was so much more easily forgotten. In fact, she didn’t make it past that pilot episode. Presumably, she stayed with Carol’s parents, although her absence in the Brady home wasn’t explained.
But we remember Tiger. He stayed with the show for the first few episodes of the first season. One episode centered on Jan having an apparent allergy to him. But just before he was about to be shipped off to the grandparents’, Alice saved the day. She realized it was Tiger’s flea powder that was aggravating Jan’s allergies.
Tragedy strikes behind the scenes
But an off-set tragedy occurred during the filming of that particular episode. And even Alice couldn’t save the day on this one.
The dog was hit and killed by a delivery vehicle while with its trainer. Some claim it was either a pizza delivery vehicle or a florist and that the accident happened on the Paramount lot where the show filmed.
In any case, the trained dog died. And, as the story goes, the trainer didn’t want to admit what happened. So he found a look-alike.
This last-minute replacement may have looked the part, but without Tiger’s training, he certainly couldn’t act it.
The producers quickly realized something was amiss. After all, this dog who used to be able to follow commands seemed to not pay attention at all.
In television, every minute wasted represents a lot of money. Even back then.
So Tiger’s days on the show were immediately numbered when producers learned the truth.
The Tiger story Sherwood Schwartz loved to tell
Producer Sherwood Schwartz said he loved to talk about one particular incident on the set right after Tiger’s death when he spoke to college students.
With just a few days left of filming for the allergy episode, the staff quickly realized the aforementioned problem with Tiger 2.0. It wouldn’t follow directions. Even worse, the dog was suddenly terrified by the noise of the studio and the big lights.
The director came up with an unusual solution.
As Schwartz liked to put it, “We solved the problem by nailing Tiger down to the floor.” He told The Television Academy Foundation he would always get such a big reaction.
Then he explains that comment:
But with no training, the replacement for Tiger clearly wasn’t going to work out.
So, without any fanfare or explanation, the beloved Tiger (and his doghouse on the astroturf back lawn) quietly disappeared from the screen.