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20 Things: “The Brady Bunch”

 

Are you familiar with that story about that lovely lady? You know…the one about that woman who was bringing up three very lovely blond girls? And then there’s a part where that Brady guy with three boys of his own came into the picture? You’ve got to know this story, because it is one that tells of the way The Brady Bunch became one of America’s grooviest families

Sherwood Schwartz’s 1969-1974 family comedy The Brady Bunch became one of the most well-known TV familes  in television history. Because it is so popular, there are many Brady fans who believe that they are true experts on the subject of the show. Yes—Most people can tell you what Marcia said when she got hit in the face with a football—“Oh my nose!” They can give the name of the name of the family dog—Tiger, right? And Alice’s boyfriend?…yes, it’s Sam. Very good.

We hate to break it to you, but these questions are just common Brady Bunch knowledge. However, below is a list of 20 things about the far-out show that you probably didn’t know. And if you did…you really are a Brady expert.

 

  1. 464 girls and boys were interviewed by producer Sherwood Schwartz to find out who would act best, as the 6 Brady kids.
  1. Schwartz’s technique for auditioning child actors was to place toys on his desk and watch the children during the interview to see if they were paying attention to him or looking at the toys. If they kept their focus on him, Schwartz knew they would be able to concentrate while working on a TV show.
  2. Many viewers never noticed that the only bathroom in the house (which was shared by three boys and three girls) was missing something important…a toilet. It was a running joke that the family was so wholesome and clean that they didn’t use a toilet, but in reality, the network censors did not want a toilet shown on TV.
  1. Robert Reed, who played patriarch of the blended family, Mike Brady, was not in the show’s final episode. Writers were sure to mention the reason for Mike’s absence in a scene where Carol (Florence Henderson) is talking to Greg (Barry Williams) about how much his father wishes he could attend his high school graduation but unfortunately, cannot get out of an important business trip. The real reason Mike was absent? After an argument with Schwartz about a storyline that Reed called “ridiculous”, Schwartz wrote him out of the final episode. However, Reed did remain on the set during filming because Schwartz did not want to have him removed in front of the children.
  1. Although Oldest Brady kid Greg was always considered to be a “ladies man” and daughter eldest daughter Marcia (Maureen McCormick) was the most popular girl in school and was constantly swooned over by boys, the only one who was ever shown sharing a kiss was the youngest Brady boy, Bobby (Mike Lookinland).
  1. The lovable family dog, Tiger was only part of the show for the one season because the dog who played Tiger was…sadly killed in a car accident in between seasons. The replacement dog the show had set up “didn’t work out” but Tiger’s doghouse remained on set to cover up a burn spot on the astroturf in the Brady backyard that was caused by a studio light falling.
  1. The show’s ratings fell during the final season. The network insisted that Schwartz introduce a younger character to the show. This was Cousin Oliver, played by Robbie Rist. The term “Cousin Oliver” has come mean a character introduced in a desperate attempt to save a flailing show.
  1. Apparently Robert Reed was often “difficult” off-screen and Schwartz was tired of dealing with him so at one point, Schwartz considered killing off Mike. Ultimately, Schwartz decided against it.
  1. Bobby was a blond in real life, but he was forced to dye it darker to match the hair color of the other male cast-members so that they would all look “more related” to one another.
  1. The names of Carol and Mike’s previous spouses were never mentioned in the show. The only reference to either of them was in the pilot episode, when in one scene, Bobby holds up a picture of his deceased mother.
  1. Carol Brady was the only main character to never have her name mentioned in the title of an episode.
  1. Ann B. Davis (Alice), Florence Henderson (Carol) and Barry Williams (Greg) were the only three cast-members to appear in all 117 episodes (five  seasons).
  1. Robert Reed was gay (and in the closet) in real life. Florence Henderson noticed early on that Reed appeared to be uncomfortable acting in romantic scenes with her. Reed admitted to Henderson that he was gay. Henderson and Reed would rehearse kissing and hugging scenes off-camera in hope that they would appear more natural when it came time to shoot the scenes. The entire cast kept Reed’s homosexuality a secret until after his death in 1992.
  1. The home used for exterior shots is located at 11222 Dilling St., Studio City, CA.
  1. The first season’s opening theme song was sung by adult professionals, but from the show’s second season to its final season, the child Brady Bunch actors sung the song themselves. The song lyrics were changed from the third person to the second person—“they” was changed to “we”.
  1. The Brady’s sliding glass doors that lead from the den to the backyard never actually had glass. Apparently, the glass caused too many glare problems with the crew’s light and camera equipment.
  1. The Brady child actors hated their wardrobe and repeatedly asked to wear trendier clothes. Schwartz always said no, as he (correctly) predicted the show would be syndicated after it ended on networks and didn’t want them to look dated.
  1. The show may be popular now, but it wasn’t always. Due to low ratings, the show was only ever renewed for thirteen episodes at a time, never a whole season – until the very last season.
  1. The Dittmeyer family lived next door to the Brady family, and were mentioned frequently throughout the series. But only Mr. Dittmeyer was ever shown on camera, just once for five seconds.
  1. Paramount Studios created the series and it was the first television series ever made by the company, as it had previously been a movie studio exclusively.

 

Hopefully you found these facts and unknown truths about The Brady Bunch interesting and have expanded your Brady knowledge. But…use this knowledge wisely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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