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
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
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
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