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No, there just king sized pussycats, my friend here paints stripes on them.
~ Josef Pietz.

Josef Pietz is the main antagonist of Disney's 1964 live action film A Tiger Walks. He is a sadistic and greedy tiger trainer who is abusive to his tigers, including Rajah.

He was portrayed by the late Theodore Marcuse.

Role

The truck transporting tigers for a travelling circus breaks down in the small town of Scotia leaving the handlers to wait for repairs. Josef relentlessly torments the tiger Rajah and foolishly leaves the cage door open in a show of misplaced courage.

The hungry and enraged tiger leaps to his freedom in the surrounding countryside. Spectators, comprised mainly of youngsters, scatter as the tiger heads down an alley coming face to face with Julie Williams. Rajah is interested only in escape and Julie's only injury from the encounter is a scrape on her arm from a fall.

Josef follows the tiger into the woods armed with a shotgun taken from garage mechanic Frank McHugh. What Josef does not know is that the gun is not fully loaded and this will lead to his death.

Later, Julie's father finds the sadistic trainer mauled to death in the woods. Panic seizes the town, and the governor (taking political advantage of the situation) sends in the National Guard to hunt Rajah. Julie, interviewed on television, states that Rajah had been mistreated and misunderstood and should be captured alive. Children all over the country send money to help toward this end.

A fog descends, and when a farmer comes through the woods to tell the troops that the tiger is on his land, he is shot at and wounded by a guardsman. With the help of Ram Singh, Josef's circus assistant, the sheriff captures Rajah alive, and the tiger is placed in a zoo with his mate and cubs.

Trivia

  • Despite being the main antagonist, he only had a brief amount of screen time.
  • Josef Pietz has some similarities to Jacques Lebeau from Nikki, Wild Dog of the North. Both are animal abusers who mistreat their former pets (Rajah and Nikki) and also have a companion who cares for them (Ram Singh and Makoki). Both were killed by the main animals and the people wanted to kill the animals for killing them until they change their mind.

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