‘The Brady Bunch’: The Sad Truth About What Happened To the Original Tiger
The legendary sitcom The Brady Bunch showcased one of America’s first blended families. After Mike Brady (Robert Reed), marries Carol (Florence Henderson), the couple kept their home running smoothly amidst the chaos of their six kids: Greg (Barry Williams), Marcia (Maureen McCormick), Peter (Christopher Knight), Jan (Eve Plumb), Bobby (Mike Lookinland), and Cindy (Susan Olsen). Alice the housekeeper (Ann B. Davis) was also a valued member of the household.
The idyllic family came complete with a lovable dog, Tiger. Viewers may have noticed that Tiger looked a bit different from season to season. Sadly, the dog from the first season had to be replaced due to an unfortunate accident.
Tiger acted out of character in ‘Katchoo’
In the fifth episode of season 1 entitled “Katchoo,” the plot centered around Jan possibly being allergic to Tiger. Whenever the dog is anywhere near Jan, she would begin to sneeze uncontrollably. When the family decides that Tiger needs to live with relatives to alleviate Jan’s allergies, producer Lloyd Schwartz began setting up the emotional goodbye scene with the Brady boys.
“The dog was placed in the boys’ bedroom set, and I retrieved Mike Lookinland,” Schwartz recalled in the 2010 book Brady, Brady, Brady: The Complete Story of the Brady Bunch. “Bobby Brady was ready. The dog was ready (so I thought) and the camera rolled.”
Though Tiger had done well in rehearsals with hitting his marks, the famous fur ball wasn’t sticking to character when it came time to film.
“The director said, ‘Action!’ And the dog promptly ran off the set,” Schwartz explained. “Dogs aren’t people. They are entitled to an aberration. The trainer put the dog back on the set. Same scenario. After the dog ran off again, I went to the trainer.”
‘The Brady Bunch’ endures a loss
With the odd behavior from Tiger, Schwartz questioned the trainer on what may be causing the dog to run off the set.
“The trainer then said the words that you never want anyone to say in any situation,” Schwartz recalled. “Especially not when the lights are on and you’re filming an expensive network TV show.”
The Brady Bunch producer soon learned of Tiger’s permanent fate. “That’s not Tiger,” the trainer revealed. “Tiger was home, and he got out. He was hit by a car and killed.”
Working with an untrained Brady
While both the cast and crew were saddened by the loss of Tiger, Schwartz soon discovered the current dog on the set wasn’t used to the limelight.
“I didn’t know what to do,” the trainer confessed at the time. “So on the way in I stopped off at the pound.”
“You put an untrained dog in the center of a set and we’re filming?” Schwartz asked. The trainer simply replied, “I was hoping it would work.”
Since Tiger was key to the storyline, Schwartz had to figure out how to keep the distracted dog on the set.
“The costliest time for any production is shooting,” Schwartz explained. “All the salaries and equipment add up to thousands of dollars an hour. And we were depending on an untrained dog to stay.”
With the help of a key grip on set, The Brady Bunch producer was able to keep the performing pooch in place by clasping his collar to prevent him from bolting. Wanting to avoid any misunderstanding, Schwartz promised, “No dog was hurt during the filming of the episode.”
Several different “Tigers” appeared over the show’s five-season run.