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Spielberg's Bite

February 15, 1987|Charles Solomon

Viewers who watch "Family Dog," tomorrow night's animated episode of "Amazing Stories," won't see the ending that writer/director Brad Bird originally shot. (It was a 10-month job for 11 animators and 10 assistants on a $1 million budget.) While Bird vacationed last week, exec producer Steven Spielberg changed the ending at the last minute. (Some reviewers glimpsed the original already sent out by NBC.)

The final scene is the "topper" to a series of gags about a mild-mannered dog who's been sent to a bizarre attack-training school. A lumpish father (he's the one who sent the poochie to school) locks himself outside, then is set upon by the mutt as he goes in through the back door.

The original ending had dad finally booting the canine out of the house. But Spielberg decided the dog should win--and stopped the episode during the pooch's attack.

Tampering with completed animation is rare, but producer David Vogel noted, "It simply feels better to have the dog inside." Bird, NBC and Spielberg and his Amblin Ent. wouldn't comment.

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