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Giving an Animal Its Due: Animal Actors Looking for Respect in TV Show Reference Resources (Jerome A. Holst © 2002)

Continued from Page 1

Next, I thumbed through the most relevant TV books that document TV programs and actors who played on the above shows. The books used included The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows by Brooks and Marsh; Total Television by Alex McNeil; Television Character and Story Facts by Vincent Terrace;.and Harry and Wally's Favorite TV Shows by Harry Castleman and Walter Podrazik. In every case, there were ten out of ten times that no TV animal actor credits could be found.

All the books surveyed included a summary of each show and a list of characters. Now, the name of the TV character animal may have been mentioned in the summary but rarely did I find an entry with the real name of any animals who may have played a role on such programs. Ironically on the sitcom Frasier, the show's credits list "Dan Butler as Bob 'Bulldog' Brisco" but nowhere listed is the name of the real dog (Moose) who plays the role of Eddie, Martin Crane's pet dog.

Why this is happening is anyone's guess. Maybe there is a logical reason. Maybe, the animals don't have a Screen Actor Guild (SAG) card and so can't legally be listed in the credits as an actor?

Or maybe TV researchers and writers are simply showing their distain for another species by saying that they are not worthy of such praises. After all they're just animals. Well, I say that is just plain unfair. If TV animal actors are good enough to act on cue, to make us laugh and to earn a paycheck for their trainers and owners, then they should, at the very minimum, be given the acknowledgement of an acting credit in reference books and databases.

After all, if a TV reference book can include a human actor's credit like "Kelsey Grammer as Dr. Frasier Crane" (on Frasier) then why can't the same writers and compilers of these TV books and databases place a simple entry like "Moose the dog as Eddie the dog" (on Frasier) so that future readers and researcher of these books can easily find the real name of such animals.

So how do we change the attitudes of the writers and compilers of reference books on TV programs and electronic databases to include the real names of TV animals actors. Well, I could suggest we carry signs out in front of studio lots and cry foul in support of these animals. But, since I live on the East Coast and I can't afford the air fare, I'll recommend a more reasonable approach. Contact animal rights organizations and let them know your opinion on the topic. Let them know that you believe that TV animal actors have the same right as their human counterparts to get credit where credit is due.

So start by sending your concerns to the following organizations listed below and see if we can't get a grass roots movement going to support our animal friends on television. Are you with me? Ruff! Meow! Moo! Oink! Now that's the spirit.

NOTE: This article may be linked for distribution to other Internet publications with the agreement that you credit the article to the author, Jerome A. Holst and mention its URL


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