A common type of Hilarious Outtakes. If you're really, really lucky, can become Throw It In!. The unpredictability of real life wild animals is one reason the Terrifying Pet Store Rat trope exists, since a tamed and socialized animal is less likely to cause this.
See also Not Allowed to Grow Up for the trouble in keeping a child actor looking like a child over the years.
- In a scene from North by Northwest, Thornhill (Cary Grant) is shot in the Mount Rushmore visitor center. After the scene was filmed, one could see that a little boy had put his hands on his ears before the gunfire. Alfred Hitchcock proclaimed that after this, he'd just work with people who were either adult or deaf.
- The aliens in Close Encounters of the Third Kind were played by young girls, who were hyperactive and incredibly difficult to control. In Bob Balaban's production diary, he said that Steven Spielberg often began takes by yelling "Girls, stop disco-dancing!".
- In 2009, Chris Columbus talked about the progress of Harry Potter kids:
"My biggest pride is seeing the pictures now, and watching the three of them from a distance, and seeing them do an entire scene in one shot. Seriously, I know that sounds funny, but in the old days — and, you know, the old days meaning eight years ago — and in that first picture in particular, it's filled with cuts because they couldn't really get beyond the first line without either looking into the camera, laughing, or looking at the lights."
- Several examples in A Series of Unfortunate Events:
- Filming was often delayed by having to calm down the twin babies who played Sunny, as they often burst out crying at inopportune times. One funny outtake also has one of the babies fall asleep during a take, much to the amusement of the rest of the cast, who try to gently wake her up.
- Also, Liam Aiken (Klaus) started filming the film shorter than Emily Browning (Violet), but hit a growth spurt, finishing the film taller than her. They had to keep filming with Browning standing on boxes.
- During the production of Monsters, Inc., the crew was having difficulty getting Boo's toddler voice actress to sit still in a booth and read her lines. They ended up just following her around the studio with a boom mike and working with what they got.
- Mamoru Oshii's crew just couldn't get the performance they wanted out of the child actress who played the ghost in Avalon. They ended up faking it by morphing several of her performances together.
- It took James Cagney to set the Dead End Kids straight on the set of Angels with Dirty Faces. They threw off other actors with their ad-libbing and went so far as to terrorize Humphrey Bogart.
- In Maleficent, the scene that kicked off the title character's HeelFace Turn was when 2-year-old Aurora approached her in the woods and wasn't afraid, as if the child's innocence still saw the good in her. Unfortunately, the toddler actresses they tested were too frightened by Jolie's costume to go near her. They found the perfect solution by getting Jolie's daughter Vivienne to play the part, since she still recognized her mother and was naturally calm around her.
- Most of the child actors from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory were well-behaved. That is, except for Paris Themmen (Mike Teevee) who was an absolute nightmare while filming. Themmen opened a glass dome containing the wasp colony for the inventing room scene, which led to the set having to be evacuated and him getting stung multiple times. At one point Wilder himself said, "I'm going to shoot [him] in the head tomorrow."
Live Action Television
- Stephen Colbert interviewing the oil industry on The Daily Show - it agreed to speak only if it could be represented by an eight-year-old girl. The girl was Madeleine Colbert, his daughter, and the outtakes are adorable.
- In an example that made it into the show proper, infants Winnie and Nelson on The Cosby Show would frequently look at the studio lights, boom mike, or other overhead machinery. Bill Cosby (as Cliff Huxtable) would look in the same direction and ask what was so interesting about the ceiling.
- Project Runway occasionally has challenges featuring children.
- One season the designers had to make complementary mom-and-child outfits, and in another designers had to make outfits based on paintings from students at Harlem School of the Arts. The designers' reactions are often just as fascinating as the kids', as even the designers with really temperamental and drama-prone personalities tend to be on their nicest behavior.
- And episode 11 of season 10 forces the designers to take care of baby dolls that cry (the type given to high schoolers in Scare 'em Straight sex ed classes) while working on their garments to simulate taking care of an actual child (not to mention being a fairly obvious Ratings Stunt) but the actual babies are more cooperative, minus Dmitry's, who falls asleep and has to be carried by his mom while "walking" the runway.
- Top Chef has had kids on as well. Though the kids are usually well-behaved and happy to taste the food, several contestants had trouble coming up with dishes that the kids and the professional chef judges will all like. They either make their dishes too complicated, or they assume kids don't eat anything but chicken nuggets and make a dish the adults hate. Season 1's Tiffany in particular was adamant about her dislike of cooking for children.
- Dick & Dom in da Bungalow ran on getting a bunch of kids to play silly games and throw gunge over each other, live. It's not surprising they sometimes got a bit overexcited. One boy, Raja, almost broke the hosts — he wouldn't stop running round and hitting them. Dom stopped being an Excited Kids' Show Host and started just telling him off and asking the producers what to do next; they even got him on the Clip Show Da Dick And Dom Diaries, four years later, to explain himself. ("I'm a really nice guy when you get to know me".)
- The little girl of perhaps ten or eleven (Melissa Wilkes, who went on to play Jackie Wright in Grange Hill), on a Saturday morning zoo show, who was innocent of the subtleties of French pronunciation. Given a link to do concerning the afternoon's sporting attractions, she read off the autocue:
And this afternoon at two, we go to Murray Walker who will commentate on the Grand Pricks of South Africa..(Producer): I think you'll find it's pronounced "Grond Pree"...(Little Girl, after a second's consideration): Well, it says "Grand Pricks" here!
- On an episode of the kids' game show Family Challenge, host Ray Combs learned the hard way something that Bob Barker once told him: "never let the contestant hold the microphone." He handed the mic to a five-year-old contestant who socked him in the head with it hard enough to make him bleed. He had to get stitches during the next break and spent the rest of the episode with a band-aid on his head.
- Good Morning America:
- Even the act of a baby tearing up a cake is too much: one segment had a competition to see what baby would make the biggest mess, with cakes provided by Buddy Valastro. The babies were evidently distracted by the cheering crowd and camera/lighting equipment and barely touched the cakes.
- There also have been several times when they had babies involved in viral videos on the show to repeat what they did in the video, like for example the arguing twin babies, who would either start crying or look around confused.
- It's not always a bad thing. While filming one scene of the Breaking Bad episode "Ozymandias", the baby who was playing Walt's daughter Holly started crying for her mother (who was standing just off-camera). In context — Walt had gone on the run after a vicious fight with Skyler and had kidnapped the baby as he left, and the script called for him to spend a few moments with her before deciding to give her back — it worked brilliantly, and a bit of reactive improvisation from Bryan Cranston allowed them to Throw It In!.
- According to Robert Singer, the director of the Supernatural episode "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part One" (S02, Ep21), getting blood into the baby's mouth was the most difficult special effect in the whole episode. The baby was evidently having a bad day and started crying even before they started trying to drip fake blood into the baby's mouth.
- Several examples in the Star Trek series:
- For the episode "If Wishes Were Horses" on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Hana Hatae, playing Molly O'Brien, had to run in the room and exclaim to her parents that Rumpelstiltskin was in the room (It Makes Sense in Context). On the day that was supposed to be shot, Hana had a cold and was being uncooperative. The director begged her and eventually promised her one of her character's toys if she performed (disregarding whether they could be given away). Hana ended up performing the scene well, which impressed the camera man so much he screwed up the take. To paraphrase the book Deep Space Nine Companion, "the shot was completed in 6-7 takes... and 6-7 toys."
- Star Trek: The Next Generation had a problem in "Q Who": the baby playing the baby Borg kept chewing on its cable. While some crew thought it was cute, the director kept at it until he got a take where the baby left it alone.
- Other than the previous examples, Star Trek usually averts this trend despite children making several appearances across the franchise (although Rick Berman once joked to Adam Nimoy, director of the kid-centric "Rascals", that the TNG producers owe him an episode with just adults). In short, the only problems are following child labor laws when using them. (In TNG's "Disaster", the baby playing newborn Molly O'Brien was specifically not allowed to be covered in strawberry jelly because of allergies she may have had. The filmmakers had to use cherry.)
- One early segment on Sesame Street was supposed to involve Kermit the Frog and a young girl named Joey singing the Alphabet Song, but when Joey starts singing, she keeps shouting "Cookie Monster" at random parts and laughing. Jim Henson stays in character, and decides to run with it by having Kermit react and try to correct her. The result ends up being very funny and adorable at the same time.
- On Modern Family, the twin infant actresses playing baby Lily became increasingly difficult to work with as they became toddlers. In Season Three they were replaced by four-year-old Aubrey Anderson-Emmons in a minor case of Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome.
- The Simpsons':
- In-Universe example: In the first episode "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire", Bart intentionally sings the wrong lyrics to "Jingle Bells" at the school Christmas show and is promptly (and literally) yanked from the stage.
- Taken to the extreme in "Bart Gets Famous", in which he has to perform in a Krusty the Clown show skit. He trips and brings down much of the set, and when he innocently declares "I didn't do it", the audience loves it. For a few weeks, the "'I Didn't Do It' Boy" is a regular on the show and a national phenomenon.
- An In-Universe example: Ms. Carol always comes up with a new fun phrase for a child to repeat as part of her popular children's show. Angelica sneaks backstage and overhears Carol exclaim that she thinks all children are little...(Discretion Shot). Angelica gleefully concludes that it's some sort of secret fun phrase and that she'll definitely be rewarded when Ms Carol asks her the question because she's the only one that knows the answer. Needless to say, Hilarity Ensues and Ms. Carol is ruined.
- Another In-Universe example occurs in a season one episode where Phil and Lil recall how they appeared in a diaper commercial. Problems first arise when Phil doesn't do what the director wants, then Lil wanders off onto the scaffolding chasing after her toy car when the Best Boy was supposed to be watching her. The set ends up getting wrecked by the both of them. Oddly enough, the camera was recording everything, and the producers loved the footage that they saw. Even so, Betty, understandably, refused to let her kids do another commercial despite the director's plea.
- The Balloon Boy. When asked by his father why he didn't come out of his hiding place when everyone was looking for him, he replied: "You guys said that, um, we did this for the show." On national television.
- Then there was the magician doing card tricks, who triumphantly showed his audience that a card had changed value before their very eyes. The little boy sitting next to him was unimpressed and pointed out that there were actually two cards stuck together...
- There is a reason you never see hyenas (such as The Joker's pets Bud and Lou) in scripted live action: they are notoriously difficult to tame.
- This is part of how Clint Eastwood got his whispering directing style. When on Rawhide, the director would yell "Action!" and cause the horses bolt every time. So when he directs, he whispers "All right, go ahead" instead of Action, and "That's enough of that" instead of Cut.
- Several in Indiana Jones
"Why do you like fire!? You're supposed to hate fire! You are ruining my movie!"
- The beaded dress worn by Kate Capshaw in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was eaten by an elephant. You can almost see it in the campfire at night scene note . The good news? It was covered by insurance (Spielberg notes that all he could write on the insurance claim for "cause" was "dress eaten by elephant" and hope he was believed). The bad news? It was a dress made of genuine vintage crystal beads.
- Also shown in a documentary reel about the making of Raiders of the Lost Ark were Spielberg's problems with the snakes. During one scene, Spielberg had set up a ring of torches to keep the snakes away, but being cold-blooded reptiles, they are naturally drawn to sources of heat and kept slithering nearer. At one point, he just grabs one by the 'neck' and stares it in the eyes, yelling:
- Sword & Sandal films set in the era of Christianity under persecution (such as Quo Vadis) usually had to resort to clever camera angles in order to show the martyrs being "eaten" (i.e.: playfully pounced upon) by vicious wild lions (i.e. fairly tame circus lions).
- In The Wizard of Oz, a large bird walked on to the set during the filming of one of the scenes. At one point, it's clearly visible extending its wing... however, it was a silhouette, and it was hard to tell it was a bird... and not the corpse of a Munchkin. This gave birth to the famous, yet totally bogus, "Munchkin Suicide" urban legend.
- Airplane!. When Dr. Rumack is removing eggs from the woman's mouth and cracks one open to release a bird, the bird nearly hits a passenger in the face as it flies off.
- An In-Universe example in Willow, as Willow's disappearing pig trick goes awry when the piglet he'd made vanish runs out from beneath the table he was using to display it.
- The crows playing Huginn and Muninn in Thor: The Dark World often landed in the wrong spot, among other things. One of them even tried to nibble Chris Hemsworth's costume.
- This is most likely the reason the Librarian is totally absent from the TV Movie adaptation of Hogfather. One imagines it's much easier to write about orangutans playing pipe organs than to film them doing so.
- During the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, the director and cast commentaries often point out that Jack the Monkey was often hard to work with and wasn't nearly as friendly or cooperative as the movie makes it seem, since we're just seeing the best bits.
- There are a few stories regarding Cheetah during the production of the old MGM Tarzan movies. One is that Johnny Weissmuller was advised to keep a sock full of quarters handy when dealing with the chimp, just in case it tried to attack him. Sure enough, Cheetah attacked him and Johnny hit him with the quarters and legend has it from that day on Johnny and Cheetah were the best of pals. However, Cheetah wasn't at all a fan of Maureen O'Sullivan, and often had to wear a leg shackle around the actress.
- Some scenes in Road to Morocco feature a live camel, the presence of which led to an unplanned gag when the animal spit in Bob Hope's face.
- Arachnophobia was filmed entirely using real spiders and you can imagine the problems that would cause given how active of a role the little guys played in the film. The DVD commentary points out the patience required on the cast members' parts to get scenes right, and points out the one scene where the spider rushes the cat only for it to be lifted out of harm's way by its owner took 47 takes before the spider decided to run toward the cat.
- Near the end of Caged, a kitten accidentally gets killed in a scuffle at the prison. The kitten clearly moves its mouth even while dead.
- Doctor Dolittle saw its budget balloon massively from this, and it's seen as a major reason it became a Box Office Bomb. Whole books have been written about the horror stories of over 1200 animals refusing to obey directions, including ducks forgetting how to swim and needing to be rescued, a goat that ate a script, a parrot yelling "Cut!", a squirrel that refused to sit still until it was rendered drunk, a piglet that had to be replaced multiple times due to outgrowing its own role, and a giraffe that stepped on Rex Harrison's crotch.
- Quite famously the film adaptation of Cujo experienced some major difficulties with working with its St. Bernard actors. Namely, the dogs (St. Bernards are basically the Trope Codifier for Big, Friendly Dog) were, in perhaps the ultimate extreme of Mean Character, Nice Actor, unable to behave aggressively to the human actors no matter how they were coerced. For many scenes, a cunningly disguised Rottweiler had to be used. A few scenes were ruined because the dogs would stop to lick the rabid blood and drool goop (in reality cream and egg white with red food dye) off their faces. For other shots "Cujo's" tail had to be taped down or kept out of frame because the dog kept happily wagging it whenever they saw the actors or their trainer.
- During the filming of The Elusive Avengers, the crew had a lot of trouble making the horses stand still for the Land in the Saddle scene. In the end, they just smeared some sugar syrup on the walls in front of them.
Live Action Television
- Blue Peter: An elephant defecating on camera and walking out of the studio, stepping on John Noakes' foot in the process.
- One of the most memorable bloopers from The Ellen DeGeneres Show was an anaconda wrapping its tail around a rather intimate part of Ellen's anatomy.
- Late Night With Conan O'Brien once did a sketch that briefly involved a duck. The duck did several unexpected things, most notably pooping on the studio floor and then eating it. Conan reacted with genuine shock, including an unusual instance of swearing that had to be bleeped (even though the show isn't aired live, he usually avoids certain words). "We've got a sh**-eating duck out here!" They capitalized on this incident in several follow-up sketches, in which the duck became known as "Quackers, The Sh**-Eating Duck."
- The Red Dwarf Smeg-Ups had two instances of animal trouble:
- Lister's cat in Series I, which slipped out twice before Craig Charles could catch her.
- The Series VI Smeg-Ups devoted an entire bunch of clips to "moving the chicken."
- Stephen Colbert had several instances of this:
Stephen: I also work with children.
- Lampshaded by Stephen Colbert after introducing a calf named Daisy on The Colbert Report - the calf spooked at the cameras, interrupted him by mooing, and generally misbehaved.
- The white pony on The Daily Show during the Napoleon sketch. Confused pony plus inexperienced horseman adds up to Hilarious Outtakes.
- In another episode of The Colbert Report, Stephen tried to get a cat to pick out why the Egyptians revolted. The cat just sat there despite the food, toys on a string, and even a laser. The cat didn't even react when Stephen threw food near him.
- The characters on Lost had to stop hunting boar because the boars were so hard to manage.
- Dirty Jobs: Mike Rowe demonstrates why this is true with a pig in a series of outtakes from a TV spot. In the show itself this happens a lot as well, such as in this montage of the most memorable animal moments.
- The Tony Danza Show. Tony for a time had this parrot named "Rocky" on the show and he would constantly try to get it to do tricks and it never cooperated with him.
- Gerald Durrell had no choice but to work with animals for a few TV shows. There are probably retired TV station employees still walking a little funny after Delilah the porcupine.
- Likely to occur on Mythbusters whenever animals are involved.
- Jamie's immortal line: "Quack, damn you." They needed to get a duck to quack for testing if a duck's quack echoes, but their ducks were very silent. Luckily, they eventually figured out the formula: make two ducks face each other and they start quacking like mad.
- The Build Team tried to make the famous fainting goats faint but they failed. The goats did faint in reaction to everything else from a passing car to the nearby cameraman.
- They also once attempted to test the theory that running in a zig-zag will help you dodge a crocodile... but couldn't get the crocodiles to actually chase them or the rig they built carrying a chicken carcass as bait. At one point the crocodile (regularly fed by the sanctuary where the episode was being filmed, mind you) looked at the chicken as if to consider it for a moment, and then seemed to go "nah, not worth it" and ignored it. Incidentally, this helped bust the myth since crocodiles are ambush predators and don't tend to chase their prey much beyond the water, and the myth was busted not because it didn't work, but because it wasn't necessary. (Of course, if the croc/gator hasn't eaten awhile or it's mating season, when the males get territorial... there's a reason the show's motto is Do Not Try This at Home.)
- One of the earlier episodes had Adam and Jamie trying to test out cures for skunk spray. They had everything figured out, except for how to get the skunks to actually spray them. Eventually they bought some in a bottle, and subsequently used a room that the skunk had sprayed for testing.
- Their attempt at herding cats also went exactly like you'd expect, and even the sheepdog they brought in had no luck. Adam eventually resorted to picking them up and manually placing them in the corral, and even that didn't work as the cats just ran out again.
- Averted in the "Bird Balance" myth; Kari says that despite what they say about working with animals, the birds were all very cooperative.
- To their surprise, real actual bulls busted that bulls in a China shop would prove disastrous for the shopowner: they were all smart enough to recognize that it was probably not a good idea to approach displays the Mythbusters built in their pen and agile enough to trot around them. The crew also commented on how nimble and careful the bulls were even when moving fast. (The most destructive creature during the episode? Tory, whose bumbling, both accidental and deliberate, broke several items.)
- Alvin Hall once found out that ostriches are not very cooperative when trying to film.
- On Welsh language TV, the magazine show presenter who was talking to the man from Pobsaes Twlldyn who kept ferrets and had bought a couple to the studio. The presenter, who had been petting a ferret, suddenly discovered it had clamped razor-sharp teeth over his nose and would not let go....
- In one instance of Jack Hanna being on David Letterman's show, a pair of armadillos ended up demonstrating the species'... ''embodiment''.
- The Muppet Show:
- In one episode, Gonzo tried to do a dancing chicken act and got a real-live hen on stage. The chicken didn't dance, much to his annoyance, but it did do an okay split at the end.
- George Burns once related to Rowlf the time he did this vaudeville act of holding a dog in his arms while singing a song. The dog bit him halfway through.
- David Attenborough recalled in a preface to some of his Zoo Quest books the 1950 weekly BBC TV programme of the same name with George Cansdale of London Zoo. Cansdale would bring an animal, put it on the desk and talk about it. Since film was expensive, all broadcasts were live, and misbehaving animals were part of the programme's charm. Most troubles involved either an animal relieving itself on the table or Cansdale's trousers, or less often trying to escape or biting. However, taking photos of animals seems to be the least of Attenborough's problems in the Zoo Quest books.
- Attenborough himself has ended up on the receiving end of this, though he seems to take it in good humor.
- On one episode of Countdown Jimmy attempted to distract the panel by bringing out two baskets of kittens. This went south quickly when he had trouble corralling them and they kept escaping the baskets.
- Edmonton weatherman Mike Sobel learned this the hard way while trying to do a live forecast featuring a dog named Ripple from the local animal shelter. The dog promptly chewed through its leash and proceeded to playfully jump all over him. Corpsing ensued.
- One television reporter learned the hard way why it's a very bad idea to get up close and personal with a dog who doesn't know you (especially one who, in this case, had been through a very traumatic event where it had to be rescued from a frozen lake only the day before).
- Some outtakes shown at the beginning of "Ludlow Laughs" from Reading Rainbow show that LeVar Burton had some very painful / embarrassing episodes involving animals in making the show. But, at least, looking back, he can laugh about them.
- The reason that the family dog, Tiger, was written out of The Brady Bunch was because the original dog was killed when he was hit by a car and the replacement dog was too unpredictable, so he was phased out by the show's second season.
- During the London run of Serena Blandish, Constance Collier had to make a dramatic entrance with two colossal greyhounds. Perhaps unwisely, Miss Collier and the dogs waited to make their entrance immediately behind the doors through which they were going to enter. When their cue came, the doors were flung open and the hounds, accustomed to starting races in this manner, tore off across the stage (dragging their holder behind them) and out through the fireplace, allowing Collier only a split second to duck to avoid decapitation!
- Happens on RuPaul's Drag Race in the Season 10 finale. During Asia O'Hara's lipsynch battle against Kameron Michaels, Asia intended to release live butterflies from various parts of her outfit, but the air-conditioning in the theater made them sleepy and sluggish. When they didn't take flight, she tried shaking them out, which only made them fall to the floor and at least one got stepped on. The embarrassing blunder got her eliminated and fans have dubbed her "The Butterfly Queen".
- Penguins - HONK - can be very - HONK - insistent - HOOOOOOOONK!!!!!!! - if you're trespassing on their territory. HONK!
- I've Got a Secret had two such instances.
Steve Allen: That's what I love about live television!
- September 12, 1956: A cow-milking demonstration went wrong when the cow they brought in made pies all over the stage instead.
- The first contestants on October 5, 1964 were dogs Suzie (star of the Folies Bergère) and Suzie Jr. (her understudy), who proved to be a bit troublesome. Suzie got scared by the buzzer and kept barking for about a minute (the judge whistled instead for the rest of the round) and Suzie Jr. had to leave near the end to do some "business":
- In-Universe: "The Mississippi Squirrel Revival", by Ray Stevens, is a song of a kid who catches a squirrel. The squirrel is expected to stay in a box. It doesn't, wreaking havoc in a church.
- OK Go features animals in several of their videos:
- Mostly averted in their video for "White Knuckles", where the dogs for the most part behaved and even got so excited that they would begin to outpace the video. There was also a goat who would often drag Andy Ross across the set, so they scrapped the idea that it would be on a treadmill as a Call-Back to one of the band's earlier videos. Outtakes also show that the human and animal actors tended to botch their scenes in about equal proportions.
- The video for "End Love" also featured several geese that wander in and out of the shots at various times, and one in particularly named Maria (which is actually a male goose) was initially hostile to them but eventually seemed to adopt them over the course of a few days, and follows them through a large part of the video.
- Cartoonist Bud Grace, creator of the comic strip Ernie/Piranha Club, had a photoshoot for the jacket of his second paperback collection that depicted him with a dozen monkeys in various clothes, which was a reference to one of the storylines collected in the book. Problem was, the monkey they used for the shoot wasnt too keen on cooperating, and not only made it almost impossible to take the pictures, but also bit his trainer, the photographer, and Grace himself.
- WWE has tried to work with animals on a few occasions. It has never worked out.
- During the early 90s, the British Bulldogs were given a mascot in an actual bulldog named Matilda. Bulldogs are normally very placid and safe for using even on live television, but Afa the Wild Samoan had gotten her a big drink just before the British Bulldogs match. Matilda took a gigantic pee in the ring, infuriating the wrestlers who had to work on the urine-soaked mat, and getting WWF banned from Boston for several years.
- Vince McMahon once had to chase a chicken in a training scene for a match with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Problem was it was cold and snowy out. The chicken wasn't having any of it, and refused to do anything at all. Vince actually belly-flopped into the snow and flailed around trying to make the chicken run from him, to no avail. Eventually he and Shane just picked the poor chicken up and laughed about the whole thing not working.
- In the execrable Kennel from Hell match (from the 1999 Unforgiven pay-per-view), the gimmick was that in between the two cages that make up Hell in a Cell, there would be two ferocious guard dogs. The problem was that the dogs (two rottweilers) weren't remotely ferocious. They defecated at ringside, mated, tried to get petted by the fans, and generally acted like overgrown puppies.
- They booked a match between Sting and Jake "The Snake" Roberts where the finish was for Jake to sic a (real, but devenomised) cobra on Sting, only to have it turn on him. But Jake couldn't get the snake to bite him, so he ended up holding it to his face while it flailed stupidly.
- You'd think they'd have learned what a bad idea this was from Jake's run in the WWF, specifically the time where he'd sicced his cobra on Randy Savage while the Macho Man was tied up in the ring ropes. That time it had worked too well, as the (devenomised) snake sank its fangs into Savage's arm and wouldn't let go, forcing Jake to desperately try and dislodge the annoyed reptile from Savage while doing his best to preserve Kayfabe. The cobra later died after biting Savage.
- While they weren't exactly "working" with the animal since it wasn't supposed to do anything but be there, the (WrestleCrap-worthy) match between Terry Funk and Chris Candido almost went horribly wrong when the WCW staff thought there was no problem having the two men brawl their way into a stable which contained a real live 400-pound horse. Funk had insisted the horse be tranquilised to make sure it was calm, but it wasn't enough, and when Funk gave Candido a piledriver in the stable right next to the animal (which wasn't even tied up) the horse got spooked and kicked Funk in the arm. Candido panicked, stopped selling the piledriver and scrambled out of the stable, but Funk just shouted "You fucking horse! I'll kick your ass!" and went on to finish beating Candido down for the win, despite the fact that if the horse had aimed about six inches higher it might have ripped his head off! Funk even later stated that if the horse hadn't already been tranquilised the kick might actually have killed him.
- Acknowledged in the play The Lieutenant of Inishmore by Martin McDonagh, which has two alternative closing lines depending on whether a cat on stage eats food offered to it or not.
- Two Gentlemen of Verona contains a comedy character named Launce, whose shtick is that he's constantly dragging his dog Crab around and delivering amusing monologues about it. Two Gentlemen was one of Shakespeare's earliest works and his plot-writing abilities weren't what they ended up becoming, so Launce and his dog, notorious scene-stealers, are regarded by pretty much everyone as the highlight of the play. However, Shakespeare never included a dog in a major role again, and scholars speculate that he learned this trope the hard way.
- Belle's cart horse Philippe and Aladdin's monkey friend Abu were left out of the Broadway adaptations of Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, respectively, both for logistical reasons.
- In one of Howie Mandel's stage shows, a dog was supposed to come out and bark like Lassie, and Howie would interpret the barking as "Robert Goulet is in the lobby and trapped under a boulder". The dog didn't bark, so Gilbert Gottfried, who was on stage as part of a previous sketch comes over and says "woof".
- In a production of Aida (Verdi) the famous tenor Lauritz Melcior was supposed to come on stage riding in a chariot drawn by two horses. However at the first rehearsal the horses stampeded, and he barely managed to stop them from dragging him and the chariot into the orchestral pit.
- During Kickassia there were multiple issues with the neighbors' dogs, who would often bark in the background of scenes and force them to reshoot. There's also one point on the blooper reel where The Nostalgia Critic is giving his big dramatic speech with his back to the camera (meaning that he can say whatever and just redub it later) and starts going into a rant about how annoying those dogs are and how he's going to shoot them.
- If a Let's Player has a pet that could make noise or disturb them, they will at one point do so.
"There is a cat on my lap."
- While Cry's cat doesn't work per se, it does interrupt his recordings at times, distracting Cry from narrating.
- Markiplier has two puppies of his own. Mind you, those puppies are big labradors or golden retrievers. Whenever he ends up filming since getting them, there is a real chance that he will pause at some point to tell Chica that she's not supposed to be stealing his socks, licking his legs or messing with his chair.
- A whole episode of SeaNanners was about how he and the other players had a great time being amused by Hutch's dog barking and whining in the background. Also the episode where Miles the cat decided to use his 5 seconds of fame to purr loudly into the microphone.
- Jontron, who often includes his pet parrot Jacques in his videos, naturally has come upon this problem more than once. So far, the incidents we know about have been:
Jontron: *during the latter incident* ...are you fucking serious?
- Trying to bite Jon's lips and ears (usually just a Funny Background Event, but there's at least one time it kept the video from continuing).
- Crapping on the floor while Jon was trying to explain something.
- Taking suicide leaps off Jon's desk while he's trying to explain the same thing.
- Trying to clean Jon's teeth, which rather resembled doing the head-in-lion's-mouth circus trick.
- Shrieking while Jon's trying to explain something (a different thing this time), interrupting him three times in a row.
- His other bird, Cinnamon, is apparently even worse, as even if she doesn't show up often she's acquired a tendency to chew on Jon's face, leaving gashes that require makeup to cover up later.
- In one episode of Best of the Worst, the cast decided to destroy the worst movie (Python II) in homage to the "best" movie (Beaks: The Movie) by covering the VHS tape in birdseed and letting a bunch of seagulls attack it. They quickly discovered seagulls don't eat birdseed, and in fact flew away when Mike scattered seed near them.
- The DVD of Barbie & The Diamond Castle includes a set of Hilarious Outtakes, 90% of which are the puppies ruining the shot by dancing. The Barbie In A Christmas Carol DVD supposedly had a deleted scene from Barbie & The Diamond Castle, but it was just another outtake of the puppies and a pegasus painting the titular castle.
- One of the Hilarious Outtakes from Cheaper by the Dozen is of one of the child actors freaking out as the frog he's supposed to be holding attempts to escape.
- In a making-of special for Labyrinth, Jim Henson states that he'd been told never to work with children, animals, or puppets. Labyrinth contains all three, and apparently it was quite a challenge getting everything to work out properly. Going by the special, the puppets were easiest to deal with (helped by the fact that those responsible for the puppets were neither children or animals), followed by the baby with the animals being the hardest, with the special showing Jim Henson having trouble with the chickens in an early maze scene.
- The baby actually peed on David Bowie's lap the first time they filmed a scene together and was originally supposed to be called Freddie but baby Toby Froud would only respond to his own name.
- Emma Thompson's diary during the filming of Sense and Sensibility relates difficulties with both animals and babies:
- The sheep gave such trouble that Ang Lee at one point declared, "No more sheeps. Never again sheeps." (Except ten years later he did Brokeback Mountain, where apparently the sheep were even more of a headache.) The babies presented an unusual problem: the scene called for a crying baby, and none of them would cry.
- She also mentions one day when the horse she was on had an audibly bad case of gas, and a shot involving a dog that was fascinated by the camera and kept staring directly into the lens. The people who were offscreen in each shot had to all wave dog treats at it to distract it.
- An In-Universe example occurs in Space Jam, where Daffy, after escaping Michael Jordan's dog with the help of his children, quips "This is the last time I'm working with dogs or children!"
- Jason Isaacs (Hook/Mr.Darling) says "Never work with children or animals or animal like children" on a behind the scenes of Peter Pan when the kids are mucking around, seen here.
- Roger Ebert cited this trope in his review of Picture Perfect.
- Zig-zagged in-universe in Willow. The first time Willow performs his "disappearing pig" trick, the pig escapes, revealing that the trick was mere slight-of-hand. Everybody laughs, and Willow is shamed. In the climax, Willow performs a "disappearing baby" trick with the much more immobile Elora Danan, and Queen Bavmorda falls for it.
Live Action Television
- This trope is exploited in-universe on Quantum Leap. Al was supposed to appear in the form of a hologram that only Sam could see and hear, but since animal and child actors couldn't just be asked to ignore him, they actually made it a plot point that they had special neurological features that made Al visible and audible to them. Al even made use of this trope to save lives, such as when he warns a black children's choir in the 1960s that Klansmen were approaching to burn down the church and to get the adults to leave with them.
- Noël Coward once attended a play featuring an irritating child actor, in which a horse also defecated onstage. Supposedly, he quipped, "If they had shoved the child's head up the horse's arse, they'd have solved two problems at once."
- This is discussed in William Shatner's book Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship With a Remarkable Man. He was talking with Steve Guttenberg about the play Three Men and a Baby and asked him if the adage among actors that the hardest thing to do was to work with animals and babies was true. Guttenberg smiled, shook his head, and told him "That's not true at all. The hardest thing is not working."
- Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, is at least knowledgeable about it, as they have Quark do VERY little in the show. Though, at least one episode includes quite a lot of reaction shots from him...
- In Gorillas in the Mist Dian Fossey described one of her early attempts that resulted in her then-best photos. When she approached a group of sunbathing gorillas, they hid in bushes. She decided to climb a nearby tree to get a better view. Since she had little experience climbing trees, wasn't in her best shape and was encumbered with cameras and other stuff, it took her a lot of time, and the process has been quite noisy. She expected the noise to scare the gorillas away, but instead "I was amazed to look around and find that the entire group had returned and were sitting like front-row spectators at a sideshow. All that was needed to make the image complete were a few gorilla-sized bags of popcorn and some cotton candy!" She quickly learned to use the apes' curiosity to overcome their fear and keep them where they are best visible.
Live Action Television
- Mister Rogers (that, and making his show seem more intimate).