"Khan and Kirk battle heroically, while meanwhile in an identical room, two men dressed the same also have a fight. Problem with forty years of television enhancement: What you could get away with on a small grainy screen becomes rather obvious on a large digital one, especially when presented in loving 1080p."Alice is a famous actress working on her latest movie. The time has come to film the scene where she rides a motorcycle through flaming hoops over a shark tank. But, wait, Alice is far too delicate, precious and non-expendable to put be put through that! A Stunt Double is needed. But Alice's usual stunt double is in the hospital, so what do they do? Hire Alice's friend Bob. Sure, he looks nothing like her, but it's not like anyone will notice. A subtrope of Paper-Thin Disguise or Special Effects Failure, depending on whether the example is in-universe or not. It often overlaps with Fight Scene Failure. Stock Footage Failure is also related. The Other Darrin is something similar, where a character gets a new actor because the previous one left the show. Happens less often now than it used to, thanks to film and TV-makers now being able to digitally stick the real actor's face on the stunt performer.
Special Effects Failure examples:
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- Wet Hot American Summer: Whenever Neil climbs on the motorcycle it not so seamlessly cuts to another man who looks nothing like him wearing the same costume, in a cheap wig riding away. At one point the double even slowly and awkwardly rides the motorcycle directly toward the camera. After panning away to others, it whips back to show the actor now straddling the bike. Given the film's nature, it was likely done on purpose.
- There's a Freeze-Frame Bonus in Men in Black where Agent K drives the agents' car up onto the roof of a tunnel, and Agent J, played by Will Smith, flips over because he isn't wearing a seatbelt. The stunt double's pant leg rides up far enough to reveal a white ankle.
- This was actually a serious problem throughout Arnold Schwarzenegger's career, particularly early on. There simply weren't any trained stunt men who even came close to his size and build. Rapid cuts, padded clothing, hiring bodybuilders to stand in for him, all of these were done to avoid having Arnold just do the stunts himself, which he often wanted to do but the chances of him getting injured and shutting down production were so great that the studios would not permit it.
- Similarly in Striking Distance. Aside from looking nothing like Bruce Willis, the stunt driver is dressed differently.
- Averted in the climbing scene at the beginning of Mission: Impossible II. Even in the interviews in the DVD extras, Tom Cruise's climbing double looks exactly like him.
- This is a Bollywood movie called Yaarana. There are two main protagonists, Bishan and Kishan. Bishan buys gliders for both of them, and they take off. It's very obvious that the stunt doubles riding the gliders aren't the two actors.
- When Jason grabs Chris as she is falling from a window in Friday the 13th Part III, it becomes obvious from the camera shots outside the house that a stunt actress is being used.
- Big Bad Prof. Glastenbury alternates between his actor and a stuntman in a bad wig during the final fight in Avenging Force.
- In The Great Muppet Caper as Ms. Piggy is racing to the gallery on a motorcycle there are several shots of a full body driver on the bike which is obviously a real person. Though they are careful to never show the face, the difference in size between a human and a Muppet is blatantly obvious. (and this is the same film that had some of the most elaborate actual Muppets riding bicycle scenes).
- Also present in Piggy's rollerskating scene in The Muppets Take Manhattan. The skating double is filmed from a great distance but, like the previous example, is clearly human.
- Batman: The Movie: In the various fight scenes the Riddler looks nothing like Frank Gorshin, who played him the rest of the time.
- Diamonds Are Forever. In the scene where Willard Whyte's two female captors dive into the pool after James Bond, Thumper is clearly not the same woman as the actress who was playing her earlier.
- Moonraker opens with a spectacular aerial fight between James Bond and Jaws. Ron Luginbill, the skydiver portraying Jaws in the sequence, looks nothing like Richard Kiel, the actor who plays the character in the rest of the movie.
- A View to a Kill: During the Paris car chase, it is very obvious that a stunt double is being used for Roger Moore.
- Near the start of The Avengers, the Black Widow is being awesome. Only, Scarlett Johansson isn't. It's her stunt double, Heidi Moneymaker, in a ginger wig. Usually, you'd be too enthralled by the fact they're flipping around strapped to a chair, but the change in hair color and the actress' weight in additional muscle makes it a bit obvious.
- While the shot's convincing in the movie proper, the outakes in the credits of Jesus Christ: Vampire Hunter show the double for Mary Magnum's motorbike stunts without his helmet on (but wearing the, presumably padded, catsuit). That said, while the stunt double's gender is pretty well hidden in the film, the fact that the double's catsuit is a completely different shade of red makes it obvious when he's in the shot.
- Ditto for one of Angelina Jolie's stunt doubles◊ for the second Tomb Raider movie. One of the stunts in the film was so difficult, there apparently wasn't a woman alive who could do it, so they had to dress up a male stuntman as Jolie's Lara Croft to do the stunt.
- The not-that-good film Robo Vampire (reviewed here) has the white, blonde heroine replaced in one scene by a stunt double who is... a dark-skinned, gray-haired short man with a moustache. The reviewer has a field day imagining what hiring this stunt actor must have looked like.
- A meta-example of sorts in Titanic (1997). While Jack is drawing Rose in-story, James Cameron did the sketch in question, with his hands being filmed making it. Not very obvious. What is obvious is that another artist was then hired to redo the sketch, as the one that is drawn by Cameron doesn't look much like the sketch seen at the film's beginning. So a stunt double for a stunt double, in a sense.
- When Jessy is crucified again at the end of Greaser's Palace, it's clearly obvious that it's a dummy we see nailed to the cross - his suit and tie are positioned to look as if they are wind-blown, yet, they don't move in the breeze.
- While Joseph Gordon-Levitt did a good deal of his own bike riding in Premium Rush, there are several stunt sequences where the camera holds on a stunt double who looks markedly different from Gordon-Levitt, most notably in the scene where Wilee jumps his bicycle over the tops of crates in a warehouse.
- Santo vs. la hija de Frankestein: The scene where Frieda tears Santo's mask off is shot from behind Santo ... more accurately, from behind someone who's at least six inches taller than Santo. Justified in that masks in lucha libre are Serious Business.
- All over the place in Face/Off, mostly because of John Woo's love of slow motion action shots. The most blatant one happens as Archer and Troy fall off the boat in the climax, and the slow motion shot shows two people flying through the air who are very much not Travolta and Cage.
- Done as a gag in Chillerama. In "The Diary of Anne Frankenstein," when Meshugannah hurls Nazi soldier Franz into a table, he changes from the white Matthew Temple to an uncredited black stuntman in a Nazi uniform.
- In Carry On Girls, the diminutive (4'10'') Barbara Windsor was filmed making her escape by riding a moped across the camera's view. This would have been more effective if it wasn't so obviously a burly stuntman in a headscarf and mini-skirt. In a series of films renowned for their cheapness and consequent tendency to print and use the first take, this was a low point.
- Happens in the Baby Geniuses movies, as they naturally couldn't have the babies doing any actual stunts. This led to many scenes where the babies cut into midget actors who were obviously taller than the babies they were doubling for.
- In the first 3 Ninjas movie, a stuntman is clearly used during grandpa's fight with the villain. At one point, the stuntman's face is even shown very clearly. The Nostalgia Critic had fun with this in his review of the film, and turned it into a segment called "Spot the Real Grandpa."
- One of the sequels, 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain, has another really bad example. There's a scene where where the terrorists infiltrate an amusement park on jet skis, and despite the fact that the terrorists include a woman, a black man and a really fat guy, all the stuntmen riding the vehicles are athletic white men.
- Elf: Upon closer inspection one can see that Peter Dinklage's stunt double in the conference room scene is not a little person.
- In Cooties, the premise is an elementary school is afflicted by a virus that turns anyone who hasn't entered puberty into a zombie. Of course you can't count on kid actors to do all the things you need zombie children to do, such as when the teachers escape the school, Clint trips a zombie that - judging by the hips and their size - had been through puberty. You can see it in the trailer, here, at 1:50.
- Fatal Attraction. The man grappling with Glenn Close is NOT Michael Douglas.
- Die Another Day: It's a Freeze-Frame Bonus, but at one point during the Graves/Bond swordfight, we get a glimpse of the doubles for both actors.
- During the Robot Jox scene where Athena fights Achilles, her male stunt double is clearly visible in a few shots.
- In E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, during the bike chase as this image shows◊, 10-year old Elliot's stunt double is a fully grown man. Having the teenagers' stunt doubles be taller-than-average men did not make this much less obvious.
- There's a scene in Simon Sez where an obese monk has to hang onto a railing after falling off a bridge, and he suddenly looks significantly thinner.
- In the first Back to the Future film, the scenes in which Marty is rammed by Biff's car while he's riding the makeshift skateboard feature a stuntman who is obviously much taller than Michael J. Fox and also has darker hair.
- In The Addams Family, one part of the Mamushka dance involves juggling knives. In the wide shot of them juggling both Raul Julia and Christopher Lloyd are replaced by real jugglers, and Raul Julia's double is easier to spot.
- During the final battle between Connor and Duncan in Highlander: Endgame, Connor's katana skills noticeably improve in the wide shots. That's because Christopher Lambert has notoriously poor eyesight in real life, requiring a trained swordsman to stand in for him during much of the duel. It's rather obvious to spot, as the action shots with the stuntman are way more fluid and naturalistic than the close-ups of Lambert.
- In The Princess Bride, Buttercup pushes Roberts (played by the blonde Cary Elwes) down a steep hill, then, after realizing he's really her long lost love Westley, dives after him. We then get a scene of the two tumbling down the hill. At one point, Westley's bandanna comes off and we see his redheaded, bearded stunt double tumble down.
- In Star Wars, the Imperial officer in charge of the detention center miraculously transmogrifies from a brown-haired middle-aged man into a much older man with a stronger jawline, shorter gray hair and a completely different nose when he gets shot. We even get two very obvious closeups of the officer first pulling his gun and then getting hit so we can see how much his face has changed between cuts. The substitution was likely due to the fact the death scene required a pyrotechnic in the abdomen to go off, simulating the officer being shot, and actor Malcolm Tierney probably either refused or was not allowed to perform the stunt himself.
- Another example happens in Return of the Jedi. Sound designer Ben Burtt appears as an Imperial officer, who gets killed when Han Solo knocks him over a railing. In the closeups, it's obviously Burtt, but for the shot of the officer actually being struck and backflipping over the rail, an older stuntman with a completely different body build is substituted (the same stuntman appears as another officer in the background of other scenes).
Live Action TV
- Salem from Sabrina the Teenage Witch: it is fairly easy to tell the difference between when he is being portrayed by a real cat and when he is being portrayed by a puppet.
- Knight Rider had lots of scenes where David Hasslehoff's stunt double was used, mostly driving scenes but also some brawls. The stunt double's head often had a comically big silhouette due to an afro-like hairstyle.
- Star Trek: The Original Series
- The most infamous example might be the fight in "Amok Time", which featured a stunt double that looked nothing like William Shatner fighting an equally non-Leonard Nimoy-ish stuntman.
- The fight between Ricardo Montalban's stuntman and whoever was doubling for Shatner in "Space Seed".
- Or the fight in "Court Martial", where seemingly two random guys fought in place of actors William Shatner and Richard Webb.
- This happened frequently on Star Trek: The Next Generation but was particularly noticeable during the first season.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy's stunt double was quite a bit larger than she. During one commentary, Joss Whedon says of the switch that Buffy "straps on her fightin' boobs". Perhaps the most egregious, however, was when a heavyset cafeteria lady was replaced by a stunt double half her size.
- The very first episode of the spin-off Angel continued the tradition when, in the big fight scene between Angel and Russell Winters, the two stunt doubles' faces are clearly visible and Angel's stunt double is obviously considerably slighter than David Boreanaz.
- Super Sentai/Power Rangers
- The stunt person wearing the spandex is not always the same gender as the character that they are playing, leading to some female characters with bulges in the crotch area and a couple male characters growing boobs. Certain seasons can hide the former with the addition of a skirt, but not all characters have that luxury.
- Jason David Frank, who is known for having No Stunt Double, magically changes into an Asian man during the car explosion scene from Power Rangers Turbo's "Passing the Torch."
- Tori from Power Rangers Ninja Storm is played by a 17-year-old girl with a boy-ish figure, but her surfing double is a considerably older woman with curves. No amount of padding could hide the fact that the two are not the same person.
- Ethan's stunt double from Power Rangers Dino Thunder is an Asian man in blackface. Because of this the double took little to no effort in hiding his face while filming.
- When not in spandex, the doubles for Power Rangers S.P.D. seemed to take pride in doing completely over-the-top moves that no normal person could ever do. This was especially noticeable with Syd's double, who was a small Asian man in a bad wig.
- When some of the characters from M*A*S*H are riding in a chopper, and it's clear it's not the actual actors.
- Wonder Woman: Lynda Carter's double, Jeannie Epper, didn't quite have the same curves.
- The first episode of Chuck has Chuck being burglarized by a mysterious masked ninja, later revealed to be Sarah. The masked figure, however, was very obviously a man.
- A very obvious stunt double was used for most of Jaime Pressly's fight scenes in Mortal Kombat: Conquest. Phelous pointed out that the wig they had the stunt double wear wasn't even the right color.
- The Wild Wild West usually averted this with star Robert Conrad, who quite clearly did most of his own stunts. Not so much with his opponents (see "The Night of Sudden Death" and "The Night The Dragon Screamed" for particularly glaring examples) or with his co-star Ross Martin (the swordfight in "The Night of the Big Blast" goes back-and-forth between Martin and his double).
- In the Smallville episode "Exodus", when Clark Kent jumps off a roof to a motorcycle, the stuntman has a beard.
- Person of Interest has Bear the dog, who is ordinarily portrayed by Graubaer's Boker, an intact male with a patch of white on his chest. He is occasionally doubled by a female dog who lacks the white patch on her chest and was lactating for part of season four. Would a swinging mammary line be the canine equivalent of Gag Boobs on a male character?
- Doctor Who:
- In "The Chase", William Hartnell's usual stunt double plays a Dalek Evil Knockoff of the Doctor. With his face clearly visible on screen for literally minutes. And, inexplicably, in scenes where only one actor had to be around. He does look a lot like Hartnell, but not so much that they're not readily distinguishable.
- "The Dominators" uses Patrick Troughton's double for the location filming. His face is clearly visible at one point in the final episode.
- In "The Sea Devils" when Jo climbs the ladder to get onto the fort, she is played by a muscular man in a blond wig.
- Pay attention to when the Doctor drags the guard out of the way in "The Green Death" - he's replaced by an absolutely terrible dummy.
- The T.Rex in "Invasion of the Dinosaurs" is terrible to begin with, but it doesn't help that the model used for closeups is obviously completely different to the one used for the long shots.
- There's a fight scene in the Third Doctor story "The Monster of Peladon" where you get a good, clear look at the face of the Doctor's longtime stunt double, Terry Walsh.
- "The Android Invasion" had a duplicate Fourth Doctor with a highly Off Model wig.
- "The Deadly Assassin" has a sequence where the Doctor falls off a cliff and is suddenly replaced by a poor-quality dummy. His usually fairly convincing human stunt double is also betrayed by a terrible wig that stays springy when wet compared to Tom Baker's plastered-down real hair in the closeups, and is several shades redder than it.
- In the Cannon episode "Stone, Cold Dead," Frank Cannon dons a wetsuit to go scuba diving for a key clue in that week's case. Given the series never tried to skirt the issue of Cannon's avoirdupois, whoever's doing the swimming for William Conrad is a lot slimmer than our hero.
- In Arrow episode "The Climb", during the fight between Ra's Al Ghul and Oliver, this trope is averted for Ollie, as it's Stephen Amell himself the whole time. However, for Ra's... not so much. The stunt double has a thicker beard than Matt Nable, is more ripped, and his hair is really different.
- Happens so often in The Greatest American Hero, Agony Booth turned it into a Drinking Game.
In-universe and parody examples:
Anime and Manga
- From Binbō-gami ga!, this is actually what Nadeshiko's "body doubles technique" is. A bunch of other people dressed in her outfit and a wig.
- In the Mitsudomoe anime, one episode is almost entirely A Show Within a Show Super Sentai parody, complete with its own stunt driver (though surprisingly only during scenes with no actual stunts).
- In Pokémon, when shooting a Pikachu film, Ash's Hawlucha is the stunt double to the hero Super Pikachu (played by none other than Ash's own Pikachu). There was actually a full-body suit for Hawlucha to wear, so he can actually pass for a Pikachu...if it weren't for the fact that Hawlucha is larger and more musclebound than Ash's Pikachu. In one of the In-Universe Hilarious Outtakes, Hawlucha seemingly forgets that he's just a double, and an embarrassed Pikachu (from his hiding place) is signalling Hawlucha to switch places with him.
- An In-Universe / Breaking the Fourth Wall example in Spaceballs when the Spaceballs capture the heroes' stunt doubles. Princess Vespa's is a man.
"You idiots! These are not them! YOU'VE CAPTURED THEIR STUNT DOUBLES!"
- Played for laughs in I'm Gonna Git You Sucka. When Jack Spade's mother fights Mr. Big's toughs in the diner, she's replaced by a blatantly obvious stunt double - a guy in a wig, with a mustache. You can watch the scene here.
- Invoked in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World when Scott has to battle Lucas Lee's stunt doubles, some of which are roughly one head shorter than Lucas Lee himself and a few of which appear to be of different ethnicities. Note that the Lucas Lee's stunt doubles are played by Chris Evans' actual stunt doubles.
- Made deliberately obvious in Epic Movie during the fight between Silas and Aslo to the point where Aslo's stunt double is a thin bare-chested Asian guy in an obvious wig. For reference, Aslo is played by Fred Willard.
Live Action TV
- The opening credits for Everybody Loves Raymond required Ray Romano to perform desperate athletic feats, such as propelling himself across the living-room on a tea-trolley and sumersaulting towards the door to lock it in order to prevent his parents getting in. It only becomes apparent a stunt double was used if you look really closely. note
- Saturday Night Live: Kristen Wiig and Mike & Molly's Melissa McCarthy do a jazzy dance behind a sheet, so we only see their outlines. McCarthy's is about 150 lbs thinner than she is.
- From an episode of VH-1's I Love Toys, the commentators were talking about pogo sticks; at one point, comedian Patrice O'Neal wants to try one out, but knowing how large he is, he wouldn't have been able to pull it off, and needed a stunt double. Cue a super skinny guy (wearing Patrice's outfit, which just hangs off his body) bouncing on the pogo stick.
- World's Dumbest...: In an episode of "World's Dumbest Partiers", John Enos and Loni Love watch "their" wedding video (a couple's wedding video with their faces plastered over the bride and groom) involving an accident with the bride and groom crashing into each other on a zipline. Loni comments, "Good thing I used that white woman as my stunt double!
- [adult swim]'s NTSF:SD:SUV:: makes it very obvious, although it's really the editing that gives it away, not bad continuity. Such as cutting to a sudden, awkward, far angle shot just for Trent to perform an entire spin kick (with his hair covering his face, no less).
- In the Christmas Special for Pee-Wee's Playhouse, Pee-Wee shows off a huge display of tricks while ice skating, impressing Little Richard. Moments after he finishes, Pee-Wee's stunt double Hans walks into the scene asking the real deal how he did, revealing that he was the one who did all the skating, much to Little Richard's disappointment.
- Played for laughs in the pilot for Angie Tribeca, with Hayes MacArthur (Geils) being doubled by a much smaller man in a bad wig during Le Parkour sequences, and even featuring the actor and his stuntman appearing together in the same frame. Rashida Jones (Angie) is also briefly doubled by a man with incredibly burly and hairy forearms.
- In the second Broken Sword game, George wanders onto the set of a movie where the actors' stunt double is significantly fatter than the star he's doubling for. When said double is injured George serves as one as well.
- In The Movies: Stunts and Effects your films are penalized by critics if you use a stunt double who is of a different race or gender than the actor they are representing.
- In Mass Effect 3 DLC Citadel, Commander Shepard and Javik can end up in a shooting of Blasto 7. The cast includes a man as Shepard's double, even if Shepard is female.
- The central joke of The B-Movie Comic is that it's recreating B Movies in all their cheesy, low-budget glory. Part of this is the variety of behind-the-scenes bonus comics, explaining how they accomplished the numerous stunts and special effects. Turns out that Snuka's underpaid Chew Toy actor Lee does his own stunts, and everyone else's stunts, regardless of how little he looks like them.
- Parodied in a Strong Bad Email where a reader asks if Strong Bad has ever used a stunt double. "I've always done my own stunt work!"
We then see a preview of his upcoming movie, Dangeresque 2: This Time, it's not Dangeresque 1, where the stunt scenes are obviously an excuse for Strong Bad to injure Strong Sad. For the record, Strong Bad looks like a normal human wearing a mask, while Strong Sad looks like a large, grey, slightly elephant-like person (wearing a paper bag with Strong Bad's mask drawn on it during the stunt scenes).
- Mocked by Film Brain's body double counter in his Steven Seagal reviews.
- SF Debris highlights this in his reviews when it pops up, but also explains why it does with older shows. Basically on old, small, fuzzy TV sets of yesteryear the technology meant that even the most superficial resemblance could be gotten away, but as technology advanced and we got better and bigger televisions it became more noticeable when a non-lookalike stunt "double" was used. Also, back then most people didn't have means to record television, so any mistake would be quickly forgotten about.
- In the episode of Garfield and Friends, Lights! Camera! Garfield! Garfield is given the role of "stunt cat" in a movie. However, he's an orange tabby, whereas the cat he's playing "stunt cat" for is a white long-haired cat.
- In-universe in an episode of Family Guy, Neil shows his class an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series and points out in a fight scene when it's William Shatner and when it's his stunt double.
- In Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story, there's a scene of Stewie leaping out of a hotel window. It cuts to what appears to be Dennis Franz in red overalls making the dive.
- In Leggo My Meg-O, an Affectionate Parody of Taken Stewie and Brian use "Car Chase GPS", it ends with "A poorly edited shot were driver is obviously a stunt person".
- Subverted in Kick Buttowski when Kick takes Scarlett's place as Teena's stunt double. It's fixed in editing so Kick looks exactly like Teena. Later, when Kick winds up in hospital, he's replaced with Emo Kid.
- In Spongebob Squarepants, it's obvious Sandy's doubling for Mermaid Man in the unofficial movie they make.
- Used in the Looney Tunes short "A Star is Bored", where Daffy is Bugs' stunt double for any dangerous scene. He's dressed in a rabbit outfit but you can still see his duck face.
- The Simpsons:
- When they shoot the Radioactive Man film in Springfield, Milhouse plays Fallout Boy and a late middle age European little person is his stunt double.
- Krusty and Sideshow Mel have very obvious doubles for an ice dancing routine they do.
- Tiny Toon Adventures:
- In the episode "The Return of Batduck", Plucky becomes the stunt double for Michael Keaton when Batman Returns is filmed. He's even referred to as the "Stunt Duck" by the Director.
- In the episode "Kon Ducki", during the "Making of" segment, Plucky's original plan was to have Hamton as his stunt double during the scene where the mast falls on top of him. However, Hamton's inability to remember his lines led to Plucky having to do his own stunts.
- In The Fairly Oddparents episode, "Lights, Camera, Adam!", Timmy becomes the stunt Cleft for The Crimson Chin Movie. The Main difference between him and the main Actor playing Cleft is that the main Actor playing Cleft is a much taller teenager and Timmy is a short 10-year-old.
- The Legend of Tarzan has an episode in which a director is filming a movie about a wild man raised by monkeys in the very jungle the protagonists live in. Since the actor playing the wild man is lousy at filming the action scenes, Tarzan ends up roped into being his stunt double. Not only do Tarzan and the actor look nothing alike, but their outfits are different.
- In the pilot for Sheep in the Big City, Sheep finds himself cornered on a rooftop by Far Mer John and General Specific, though while Far Mer John and General Specific argue over the General's penmanship (or lack thereof) on the cue cards, Sheep uses this opportunity to escape: he unravels his wool, creating a rope for him to swing over to the roof of the building across the street. Cut to a shot of a man wearing a Sheep costume swinging from a rope to the other building, only crash against the facade, and tumbled down to the street below (all in slow motion, and with added film grain), before cutting back to Sheep, who is now lying on the cracked sidewalk in a daze.
- In the Sonic Boom episode "Eggman the Auteur", when Amy, as Sonic's manager, refuses to let Sonic do his own stunts for Dr. Eggman's movie, Knuckles, who is painted blue, fills in for him. Knuckles is clearly larger than Sonic, wears cardboard spines, and didn't even fully paint his whole body blue.
- In The Venture Bros. Col. Gentleman keeps a log of Sabrina the Teenage Witch that details when Salem is being portrayed by a real cat and when he's being played by a puppet.