If you’ve ever watched the Brady Bunch, then you’ve no doubt seen your fair share of the family’s adorable pets. The Brady Kids have had all sorts of critters throughout the shows 5 seasons, like Fluffy the Cat, Herman the Tortoise, Spunker Frog, the rabbit duo Romeo and Juliet, Bobby’s Parakeet, and cousin Oliver – wait, does he count? [sarcasm]
Most of these furry, four-legged, feathered, or shelled compadres come and go pretty quickly – only lasting for an episode or two before never being heard from again – which begs the question, who keeps getting these kids animals? STOP!
Even Fluffy, who became kind of a feline celebrity of sorts, only appeared in the pilot episode.
But then there is undeniably the most famous Brady pet of all – Tiger the dog. Still, even the beloved canine member of the clan can only be seen in a total of ten episodes. He mysteriously barked out of existence in the middle of season two. He bow-wowed out – pun intended – with the episode ‘The Impractical Joker” and was never seen again.
His Empty doghouse stood as a testament to the pooch that once roamed that astroturf covered backyard.
What really ever happened to Tiger? That question has stumped fans for decades, but we dug down a little bit deeper through all of the records and have finally come to the bottom of the mystery behind one of television’s most famous four-legged friends ill-fated departures.
We should probably go ahead and warn you, the truth is kind of a tearjerker. So if you’re sensitive then maybe you should stop watching. Otherwise, consider yourself warned.
Facts Verse Presents: The Heartbreaking Story of “Tiger” from The Brady Bunch
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What did Tiger Look Like In The First Place?
Was he shaggy and brown or was he gray and white?
No that’s not right. Oh yes! He was kind of sandy in color, right? No that’s not right either.
If you are struggling as much as we are to remember his appearance, then you might be somewhat relieved to learn that three dogs were actually used to play Tiger for the first season. But that reassurance should only comfort you for a moment before you learn the horrifying reason why so many dog actors were needed for such a simple role.
Barry Williams who played Greg Brady broke the awful news in 1992 with his tell-all book Growing Up Brady: I Was A Teenage Greg.
The Truth Is Rather Grim
In his memoir, he tells it how it is. He explains that normally when people ask him about what happened to Tiger, he’ll obscure the truth by saying some played-out cliche about Tiger being in doggie heaven now. But the only reason why he feels the need to spit-out an answer like that is because the truth is hard to swallow at best and gruesome at worse.
So according to Williams, during the filming of the fifth episode of season one ‘Katchoo’, which was actually the third episode to be filmed since they were all produced out of order, the Brady kids all sat around holding tightly on to the dog because they feared that he had to leave the family due to allergy-related issues.
Throughout the filming of the scene, the dog actor wouldn’t sit still. This was highly unusual because Tiger had previously been a very submissive dog. After struggling for several minutes to get the dog to obey, the trainer blurted out the truth.
It was a completely different dog. Sadly, the dog that had previously played Tiger had gotten out, wandered around loose, and was hit by a florist’s truck the evening prior. At the last minute, the trainer had found a vaguely reminiscent look-alike to fit the bill of Tiger.
Sherwood Schwartz Confirms The Awful Truth
As you probably know, Sherwood is the creator of the Brady Bunch. In 2002, he corroborated William’s story when he was questioned for a book about TV pets. His version of the story covered all fo the same bases with a few minor discrepancies.
According to Schwartz, the old Tiger had gotten out a week before filming the Katchoo episode and was hit by a car. But whether it was a week prior or the evening before, or the difference between being hit by a florist truck or a car, the end result is just as heart-wrenching. Memories tend to get fuzzy over several decades anyways.
Questions Still Left Unanswered
Things get pretty confusing when you try to spot the onscreen swap of the two dogs. It actually brings up more questions than it provides answers to try to make sense of the official story, despite being backed up by two high profile cast and crew members.
If the original Tiger supposedly died so early in production, then why was the hard-to-work-with, untrained replacement dog used for almost a year following – for another 7 episodes.
The original Tiger is pretty easy to spot. He has a substantially darker, browner coloring for his coat with little black tufts on the ends of his ears and around his muzzle. The replacement pup has a fluffier coat which is much paler in comparison. There is no mistaking the change-up in season two.
But theirs no need to split hairs about the whole thing. One thing that is certain is that Tiger passed on to the great beyond, was replaced by some kind of impostor then completely poofed midway through season two. Case closed…..right?
The Plot Thickens With A Third Tiger
So according to The Encyclopedia of TV Pets, Karl Lewis Miller, the Brady Bunch animal trainer, there was actually one more Tiger.
In the pilot, there is a big wedding party and the dog chases the cat at one point. When little fluffy was being terrorized, that was technically Tiger #1. He was much lighter in color than Tiger #2 which appears in episode 5.
Although it might be incorrect to call the dog from the pilot Tiger, as the only dog to be used for the Brady Bunch that was actually named tiger in real life was Tiger #2 – the one that came to an untimely end by means of a death-dealing florist truck.
Tiger 3 Was A Handful
Lacking the same extensive training as his predecessor, Tiger 3 was nearly too much to handle. He just wouldn’t listen. His obstinance became such a problem that the had to ‘nail him to the floor’ as Sherwood Schwartz put it.
Of course, no animals were literally nailed to any floors. That would have been wildly unethical at any point in television history, but they did have to fasten his collar to the floor to keep him from running off during shots.
Tiger 4 And 5?
It turns out there are far more Tiger dogs than anyone expected. The Encyclopedia of TV Pets went on to list two more Tigers as being a part of The Brady Bunch historical account.
In season 1, episode 18, “Tiger, Tiger”, allegedly a fourth Tiger was called in and then in season 2 the fifth and final Tiger was brought in for the remainder of the Tiger saga. Apparently Tiger 3 had become much too difficult to work with his lack of training and that’s why these additional Tiger’s were acquired.
Interestingly, Tiger 5 also acted in the 1975 film ‘A Boy and His Dog’.
One Last Time To See The Real Tiger
Perhaps you are as heartbroken as we are to learn the fate of the real Tiger. At least we get to see him one more time in the Brady Bunch series later on in the episode “54-40 and Fight’ thanks to lazy recycling of a scene from an earlier episode. The original scene was in ‘Katchoo’ and Alice can be seen washing little Tiger in a metal tub. They took the exact same clip and inserted into the 54-40 and fight episode and expected no one to notice.
Well, that’s one way to get a Dog to do what you command over and over again.
Final Thoughts On Television Pets
Again, it deserves questioning why the Bradys ever really needed a dog in the first place. It seems like it only ever made the cast and crews jobs harder to have an animal on the set – especially later on when the pup wasn’t even adequately trained for the job.
Sure, everybody loves a cute doggo, but you have to weigh whether the risk is outweighed by the reward. If the joy audiences get from seeing mankind’s best friend on their TV screens comes at such a high cost, then is it worth it?
You also have to consider the animals’ happiness and well being. Did any of those Tiger dogs really want to be on network television? Sure that might sound like a silly question, but think about what happened to Tiger 2 when he got hit by that vehicle. Pretty sure he never asked for that to happen – which it wouldn’t have if he was in somebody’s warm loving home instead of being toted around as a barking prop for a sitcom.
Let’s just pause for a brief moment and remember the life of Tiger – no, not the impostor Tiger’s or the replacement Tiger’s, but the real deal Tiger He was a good dog, and may he have an endless supply of dog treats in belly rubs in the puppy afterlife, amen.
Well, that wraps up another facts-filled and fascinating video. It’s a good thing that the Brady Bunch producers finally figured out that maybe it wasn’t the best idea for the technicolor family of 8 to have a dog. Although, it’s a little concerning that it took them going through 5 different dogs to get that memo.
Now it’s time to hear from you. Where you a fan of Tiger the dog or did you hardly notice when he vanished halfway through season 2? Let us know what you think in the comments section.
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