The Brady Bunch
|The Brady Bunch|
Opening from the final season (1973–74)
|Created by||Sherwood Schwartz|
Ann B. Davis
|Theme music composer||Frank De Vol
|Opening theme||"The Brady Bunch" performed by:
Peppermint Trolley Company (season 1)
The Brady Bunch Kids
|Composer(s)||Frank De Vol|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||117 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Sherwood Schwartz|
|Running time||25–26 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Redwood Productions
|Distributor||CBS Television Distribution|
|Original run||September 26, 1969– March 8, 1974|
|Followed by||The Brady Brides
A Very Brady Christmas
|Related shows||The Brady Kids
The Brady Bunch Hour
The Brady Bunch is an American sitcom created by Sherwood Schwartz that originally aired from September 26, 1969, to March 8, 1974, on ABC. The series revolves around a large blended family with six children.
Considered one of the last of the old-style family sitcoms, the series aired for five seasons and, after its cancellation in 1974, went into syndication in September 1975. While the series was never a critical or ratings success during its original run, it has since become a popular staple in syndication, especially among children and teenage viewers. The Brady Bunch's success in syndication ultimately led to several reunion films and spinoff series: The Brady Bunch Hour (1976–77), The Brady Girls Get Married (1981), The Brady Brides (1981), and the 1988 television reunion movie A Very Brady Christmas. That movie's success led to another spinoff series, The Bradys, which aired on CBS in 1990.
In 1995, the series was adapted into a satirical comedy theatrical film titled The Brady Bunch Movie, followed by A Very Brady Sequel in 1996. A second sequel, The Brady Bunch in the White House, aired on Fox in November 2002 as a made-for-TV movie.
- 1 Development
- 2 Premise
- 3 Cast and characters
- 4 Production notes
- 5 Episodes
- 6 Reception
- 7 Syndication and distribution
- 8 Spin-offs, sequels, and other treatments
- 9 DVD releases
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
In 1966, following the success of his TV series Gilligan's Island, Sherwood Schwartz conceived the idea for The Brady Bunch after reading in The Los Angeles Times that "30% of marriages [in the United States] have a child or children from a previous marriage." He set to work on a pilot script called for a series tentatively titled Mine and Yours. Schwartz then developed the script to include three children for each parent. While Mike Brady is depicted as being a widower, Schwartz originally wanted the character of Carol Brady to have been a divorcée but the network objected to this. A compromise was reached whereby Carol's marital past was left open (not made clear whether she was divorced or widowed).
Schwartz shopped the series to the "big three" television networks of the era. ABC, CBS, and NBC all liked the script, but each network wanted changes before they would commit to filming and Schwartz shelved the project. Although there are similarities between the series and two 1968 theatrical release films, United Artists' Yours, Mine and Ours (starring Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball) and CBS's With Six You Get Eggroll (starring Brian Keith and Doris Day), the original script for The Brady Bunch predated the scripts for both of these films. Nonetheless, the outstanding success of the United Artists' film (the 11th highest grossing film of 1968) was a factor in ABC's decision to order episodes for the series.
After receiving a commitment for 13 weeks of television shows from ABC in 1968, Schwartz hired film and television director John Rich to direct the pilot, cast the six children from 264 interviews during that summer, and hired the actors to play the mother role (whose maiden name was Tyler and first married name was Martin), the father role, and the housekeeper role. As the sets were built on Paramount Television stages 2 and 3, the production crew prepared the backyard of a home in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles as the Tyler home's exterior location to shoot the chaotic backyard wedding scene. Filming of the pilot began on Friday, October 4, 1968 and lasted eight days.
Mike Brady (Robert Reed), a widowed architect with three sons, Greg (Barry Williams), Peter (Christopher Knight), and Bobby (Mike Lookinland), marries Carol Ann Martin (née Tyler) (Florence Henderson), who herself has three daughters: Marcia (Maureen McCormick), Jan (Eve Plumb), and Cindy (Susan Olsen). The wife and daughters take the Brady surname. Included in the blended family are Mike's live-in housekeeper, Alice Nelson (Ann B. Davis), and the boys' dog, Tiger. The setting is a large, suburban, two-story house designed by Mike, in a Los Angeles, California suburb.
In the first season, awkward adjustments, accommodations, and resentments inherent in blended families dominate the stories. In an early episode, Carol tells Bobby that the only "steps" in their household lead to the second floor (in other words, that the family contains no "stepchildren," only "children"). Thereafter, the episodes focus on typical pre-teen and teenage adjustments such as sibling rivalry, puppy love, self-image, character building, and responsibility.
Cast and characters
The regular cast appeared in an opening title sequence in which video head shots were arranged in a three-by-three grid, with each cast member appearing to look at the other cast members. In a 2010 issue of TV Guide, the show's opening title sequence ranked No. 8 on a list of TV's top 10 credits sequences, as selected by readers.
Sam Franklin (Allan Melvin) is Alice's boyfriend. He is the owner of a local butcher shop. Sam appears in only eight episodes, but they span all five seasons. He is also frequently mentioned in dialogue, and Alice occasionally goes on dates with him off-screen. By the time of the 1981 made-for-TV movie The Brady Girls Get Married, Alice and Sam are married.
Tiger the dog – The original dog that played Tiger was hit by a florist truck and killed early in the first season. A replacement dog proved problematic, so the producers decided the dog would only appear when essential to the plot. Tiger appeared in about half the episodes in the first season and about half a dozen episodes in the second season. Tiger seemingly vanished without an explanation and was not shown again after "The Impractical Joker" (last episode shown with Tiger) and "What Goes Up" (last episode made with Tiger).
Cousin Oliver (Robbie Rist) – In the middle of season five, producers added a new character named Oliver, Carol Brady's young nephew, who was sent to live with the Bradys while his parents were living in South America. The character was added in an attempt to fill the age gap left by the maturing Brady children – the youngest (Susan Olsen) was 12 years old during the show's final season. Lloyd Schwartz, son of creator and executive producer Sherwood Schwartz, later admitted that the character threw the balance of the show off and said that fans regarded the character as an "interloper". Oliver appeared in the final six episodes of season five, which proved to be the final season as ABC canceled the series in 1974. The addition of the character has been cited as a "jumped the shark" moment for the series. The term "Cousin Oliver" has been used to describe the addition of a young character to a series in an attempt to save a series from cancellation.
Notable guest stars
- Herbert Anderson (known for playing Dennis' father in the 1960s sitcom Dennis the Menace) appears as a doctor who comes to treat the boys' measles in "Is There a Doctor in the House?" (season one)
- Melissa Sue Anderson, who later rose to fame playing Mary Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie, played Millicent, a girl who gives Bobby his first kiss ("Never Too Young", season 5)
- Desi Arnaz, Jr. (teen heartthrob son of Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball) meets Marcia, who had written about him in her diary in "The Possible Dream" (season one)
- Jim Backus (Thurston Howell, III in Gilligan's Island) appears three times in the series, twice in two of the three Grand Canyon episodes, "Ghost Town U.S.A." and "Grand Canyon or Bust", playing Zaccariah T. Brown who mistakenly thinks the Bradys are jumping his gold claim and locks them in a ghost-town jail, and in "The Hustler" (season 5) playing Mike's second boss, Mr. Harry Matthews
- Imogene Coca (known for Your Show of Shows) plays the Brady girls' Great-Aunt Jenny, whom Jan fears she will grow up to resemble after seeing a childhood photo of her in "Jan's Aunt Jenny" (season three)
- Don Drysdale (Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher) tries to inject reality into Greg's dreams of being a professional baseball player in "The Dropout" (season two)
- Don Ho (Hawaiian singer) meets Cindy and Bobby and serenaded Cindy in Honolulu in "Hawaii Bound" (part one of a three-part season four episode, filmed on location in Hawaii)
- Davy Jones (of The Monkees) performs at a music studio and then takes Marcia to her school dance in "Getting Davy Jones" (season three) (he also satirized his cameo decades later in The Brady Bunch Movie)
- Deacon Jones (Los Angeles Rams defensive end) encourages Peter's singing in "The Drummer Boy" (season two)
- E. G. Marshall as Mr. J.P. Randolph, Marcia's school principal in "The Slumber Caper" (season two) (Marshall and Robert Reed co-starred in The Defenders in 1961–65 – making this a reunion of the two)
- Brigadier General James McDivitt (NASA astronaut) signs autographs for Peter and Bobby after appearing on a talk show in "Out of This World" (season five).
- Joe Namath (New York Jets quarterback) visits Bobby because he thought that Bobby had a terminal illness in "Mail Order Hero" (season five)
- Wes Parker (Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman) meets Mike and Greg in Greg's math classroom, thus curing Greg of the crush he had on his teacher Miss Linda O'Hara (played by Gigi Perreau), Parker's fiancée in "The Undergraduate" (season one)
- Vincent Price (horror film actor) appears twice in the series in two of the three Hawaii episodes, "Pass the Tabu", and "The Tiki Caves" from season four, playing the villainous Professor Hubert Whitehead, who holds the Brady boys hostage
- Marion Ross (later known as Mrs. Cunningham in Happy Days) appears as a doctor who comes to treat the girls' measles in "Is There a Doctor in the House?" (season one)
- Natalie Schafer (Lovey Howell in Gilligan's Island) is Mike's fussy client, Penelope Fletcher, who is charmed by Cindy's impromptu 'Shirley Temple' routine in "The Snooperstar" (season five)
- Marcia Wallace played a salesclerk in "Would the Real Jan Brady Please Stand Up" (season two) and "Mrs. Robbins" in "Getting Davy Jones" (season three)
- Paul Winchell (ventriloquist and actor; Winchell-Mahoney Time, voice of "Tigger" in Winnie-the-Pooh) appears as Skip Farnum, the TV commercial director in "And Now a Word From Our Sponsor" (season three)
Theme song and credits sequence
The theme song, penned by Schwartz and Frank De Vol, and originally arranged, sung, and performed by the Peppermint Trolley Company, quickly communicated to audiences that the Bradys were a blended family. The Brady family are shown in a checkerboard with Carol on the top center, Alice in the middle block, and Mike on bottom middle. To the right are three blocks with the boys from the oldest on top to the youngest. To the left are three blocks with the girls from the oldest to the youngest. In season two, the Brady kids took over singing the theme song. In season three, the boys sing the first verse, girls sing the second verse, and all sing together for the third and last verse.
The end credits features an instrumental version of the theme song's third verse. In season one, it was recorded by the Peppermint Trolley Company. From season two on, the theme was recorded in house by Paramount musicians.
The Brady house
The house used in exterior shots, which bears little relation to the interior layout of the Bradys' home, is located in Studio City, within the city limits of Los Angeles, California. According to a 1994 article in the Los Angeles Times, the San Fernando Valley house was built in 1959 and selected as the Brady residence because series creator Schwartz felt it looked like a home where an architect would live. A false window was attached to the front's A-frame section to give the illusion it had two full stories. Contemporary establishing shots of the house were filmed with the owner's permission for the 1990 TV series The Bradys. The owner refused to allow Paramount to restore the property to its 1969 look for The Brady Bunch Movie in 1995, so a facade resembling the original home was built around an existing house.
In the series, the address of the house was given as 4222 Clinton Way (as read aloud by Carol from an arriving package in the first season episode entitled "Lost Locket, Found Locket"). Although no city was ever specified, it was presumed from references to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Los Angeles Rams, the fictional West Palmdale High School, and a Hollywood movie studio, among many others, that the Bradys lived in Southern California, most likely Los Angeles or one of its suburbs.
The interior of the Brady house was used at least three times for other Paramount shows, twice for Mannix and once for Mission: Impossible, while The Brady Bunch was in first-run production. In the case of Mission: Impossible, the Brady furniture was also used. A re-creation of the Brady house was constructed for the X-Files episode "Sunshine Days," which also revolved around The Brady Bunch.
|Season||Ep #||First broadcast||Last broadcast|
|1||25||September 26, 1969||March 20, 1970|
|2||24||September 25, 1970||March 20, 1971|
|3||23||September 17, 1971||March 10, 1972|
|4||23||September 22, 1972||March 23, 1973|
|5||22||September 14, 1973||March 8, 1974|
U.S. television ratings
The Brady Bunch never achieved high ratings during its primetime run (never placing in the top 30 during the five years it aired) and was canceled in 1974 after five seasons and 117 episodes; it was canceled shortly after the series crossed the minimum threshold for syndication. At that point in the story Greg graduated from high school and was about to enroll in college.
When the episodes were repeated in syndication, they usually appeared every weekday in late-afternoon or early-evening slots on local stations. This enabled children to watch the episodes when they came home from school, making the program widely popular and giving it iconic status among those who were too young to have seen the series during its prime time run.
According to Schwartz, the reason the show has become a part of Americana, despite the fact that there have been other shows that ran longer, rated higher, and were critically acclaimed, is that the episodes were written from the standpoint of the children and addressed situations that children could understand (such as girl trouble, sibling rivalry, and meeting famous people such as a rock star or baseball players). The Bradys are also portrayed as a harmonious family, though they do have times when one of the children does not cooperate with his or her parents or the other children.
Awards and honors
|Young Artist Award||1989||Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement Award||Honored||Barry Williams|
|TV Land Awards||2003||Hippest Fashion Plate – Male||Nominated|
|Favorite Dual-Role Character||Nominated||Christopher Knight
as Peter Brady and Arthur.
|Funniest Food Fight
The Brady Pie Fight on the Paramount Lot.
|Favorite Guest Performance by a Musician on a TV Show||Won||Davy Jones|
|Most Memorable Male Guest Star in a Comedy as Himself||Won||Joe Namath|
|2004||Favorite Fashion Plate – Male||Nominated||Barry Williams|
|Most Memorable Mane||Nominated||Susan Olsen|
|Favorite Made-for-TV Maid||Won||Ann B. Davis|
|2005||Theme Song You Just Cannot Get out of Your Head||Nominated|
|Best Dream Sequence
For episode "Love and the Older Man," in which Marcia has a crush on her dentist.
For the Greg Brady surfboard accident.
|Favorite Singing Siblings||Nominated||Williams, McCormick, Knight, Plumb, Lookinland, Olsen|
|2006||Best Dream Sequence
For episode "Love and the Older Man"
|Favorite Made-for-TV Maid||Won||Ann B. Davis|
|Favorite TV Food
Pork chops and applesauce.
|2007||Most Beautiful Braces||Nominated||Maureen McCormick|
|Pop Culture Award||Won||Williams, McCormick, Knight, Plumb, Lookinland, Olsen, Davis, Henderson, Lloyd J. Schwartz (producer)|
Syndication and distribution
Since its first airing in syndication in September 1975, an episode of the show has been broadcast somewhere in the United States and abroad every day of the year. Episodes were also shown on ABC daytime from July 9, 1973 to April 18, 1975 and from June 30-August 29, 1975, at 11:30 a.m. EST/10:30 CST.
The show was aired on TBS starting in the 1980s until 1997, Nick at Nite from 1998 to 2003 (and briefly during the spring of 2012), TeenNick (under the channel's former name The N) from March to April 2004, TV Land from 2002 to 2010, and Hallmark Channel from January to June 2013. In November 2013, the show returned to TV Land, airing on the weekends.
Episodes in the syndicated version have been edited for time to allow for commercial breaks, down from the original version of 25–26 minutes.
As of 2014, the series is being shown on some local stations around the country, while airing nationally Sunday mornings on TV Land, and on Me-TV Sundays noon–2 p.m. ET (in a block promoted as "The Brady Brunch").
Spin-offs, sequels, and other treatments
Several spin-offs and sequels to the original series have been made, featuring all or most of the original cast. These include another sitcom, an animated series, a variety show, television movies, a dramatic series, a stage play, and theatrical movies:
A final-season Brady Bunch episode, "Kelly's Kids", was intended as a pilot for a prospective spinoff series of the same name. Ken Berry starred as Ken Kelly, a friend and neighbor of the Bradys', who with his wife Kathy (Brooke Bundy) adopted three orphaned boys of different racial backgrounds. One of the adopted sons was played by Todd Lookinland, the younger brother of Mike Lookinland. While Kelly's Kids was not subsequently picked up as a full series, producer Sherwood Schwartz would rework the basic premise for the short-lived 1980s sitcom Together We Stand starring Elliott Gould and Dee Wallace.
The Brady Kids
A 22-episode animated Saturday morning cartoon series, produced by Filmation and airing on ABC from September 1972 to August 1974, about the Brady kids having various adventures. The family's adults were never seen or mentioned, and the "home" scenes were in a very large well-appointed tree house. Several animals were regular characters, including two non-English speaking pandas (Ping and Pong), a talking bird (Marlon) who could do magic, and an ordinary pet dog (Mop Top, not Tiger). The first 17 episodes featured the voices of all six of the original child actors from the show, but Barry Williams, Maureen McCormick, and Christopher Knight were replaced for the last five episodes due to a contract dispute.
The Brady Bunch Variety Hour
On November 28, 1976, a two-hour television special entitled The Brady Bunch Variety Hour aired on ABC. Eve Plumb was the only regular cast member from the original show who declined to be in the series and the role of Jan was recast with Geri Reischl. Produced by Sid and Marty Krofft, the sibling team behind H.R. Pufnstuf, Donny and Marie, and other variety shows and children's series of the era, the show was intended to air every fifth week in the same slot as The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, but ended up being scheduled sporadically throughout the season, leading to inconsistent ratings and its inevitable cancellation.
The Brady Girls Get Married / The Brady Brides
|The Brady Brides|
|Directed by||Peter Baldwin|
Ann B. Davis
|Theme music composer||Frank De Vol|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||10|
|Executive producer(s)||Lloyd J. Schwartz
|Producer(s)||John Thomas Lenox|
|Location(s)||Paramount Studios, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California|
|Running time||25 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Paramount Television|
|Distributor||CBS Television Distribution|
|Original run||February 6, 1981– April 17, 1981|
|Preceded by||The Brady Bunch Hour|
|Followed by||The Bradys|
|Related shows||The Brady Bunch|
A TV reunion movie called The Brady Girls Get Married was produced in 1981. TV Guide indicated the movie would be shown in one evening, but at the last minute NBC divided it into half-hour segments and showed one part a week for three weeks, and the fourth week debuted a spin-off sitcom, titled The Brady Brides. The reunion movie featured the entire original cast; this would prove to be the only time the entire cast worked together on a single project following the cancellation of the original series. The movie's opening credits featured the season-one "Grid" and theme song, with the addition of the "Brady Girls Get Married" title. The movie shows what the characters had been doing since the original series ended: Mike is still an architect, Carol is a real-estate agent, Marcia is a fashion designer, Jan is also an architect, Greg is a doctor, Peter is in the Air Force, Bobby and Cindy are in college, and Alice has married Sam. Eventually they all reunite for Marcia and Jan's double wedding.
The Brady Brides series features Maureen McCormick (Marcia) and Eve Plumb (Jan) in regular roles. The series begins with Marcia, Jan, and their new husbands buying a house and living together. The clashes between Jan's uptight husband, Phillip Covington III (a college professor in science who is several years older than Jan, played by Ron Kuhlman), and Marcia's slovenly husband, Wally Logan (a fun-loving salesman for a large toy company, played by Jerry Houser), were the pivot on which many of the stories were based, not unlike The Odd Couple. Ten episodes were aired before the sitcom was cancelled. This was the only Brady show in sitcom form to be filmed in front of a live studio audience. Bob Eubanks guest-starred as himself in an episode where the two couples appear on The Newlywed Game.
Throughout the late 1980s and '90s, The Brady Girls Get Married, was rerun on various networks in its original full-length movie format.
|1||"The Brady Girls Get Married (Part 1)"||February 6, 1981|
|2||"The Brady Girls Get Married (Part 2)"||February 13, 1981|
|3||"The Brady Girls Get Married (Part 3)"||February 20, 1981|
|4||"Living Together"||March 6, 1981|
|5||"Gorilla of My Dreams"||March 13, 1981|
|6||"The Newlywed Game"||March 20, 1981|
|7||"The Mom Who Came to Dinner"||March 27, 1981|
|8||"The Siege"||April 3, 1981|
|9||"Cool Hand Phil"||April 10, 1981|
|10||"A Pretty Boy Is Like a Melody"||April 17, 1981|
A Very Brady Christmas
A second TV reunion movie, A Very Brady Christmas, aired in December 1988 on CBS and featured all the regular cast (except Susan Olsen, who was on her honeymoon at the time of filming; the role of Cindy was played by Jennifer Runyon), as well as three grandchildren, Peter's girlfriend, Valerie, and the spouses of Greg, Marcia, and Jan (Nora, Wally, and Phillip, respectively). The Nielsen ratings for A Very Brady Christmas were the highest of any television movie that season for CBS.
Due to the success of A Very Brady Christmas, CBS asked Brady Bunch creator Sherwood Schwartz and his son Lloyd to create a new series for the network. According to Lloyd Schwartz, he and his father initially balked at the idea because they felt a new series would harm the Brady franchise. They finally relented because CBS was "desperate for programming". A new series featuring the Brady clan was created entitled The Bradys. All the original Brady Bunch cast members returned for the series, except for Maureen McCormick (Marcia), who was replaced with Leah Ayres.
As with A Very Brady Christmas, The Bradys also featured elements of comedy and drama and featured storylines that were of a more serious nature than that of the original series and its subsequent spin-offs. Lloyd Schwartz later said he compared The Bradys to another dramedy of the time, thirtysomething. The two-hour series premiere episode aired on February 9, 1990 at 9 p.m. on CBS and initially drew respectable ratings. Subsequent episodes were moved to 8 p.m. where ratings quickly declined. Due to the decline, CBS canceled the series after six episodes.
On July 31, 2012, it was announced that CBS was developing a possible new The Brady Bunch series, produced by and starring Vince Vaughn. The series would act as a pseudo-sequel, in which Vaughn portrays an adult Bobby Brady, who has been divorced, but remarries to start a new family.
Paramount Home Entertainment released all five seasons on DVD in Region 1 from 2005 to 2006, before CBS DVD took over DVD rights to the Paramount Television library (though CBS DVD releases are still distributed by Paramount). Paramount/CBS has released the series on DVD in other countries as well.
A Complete Series box set was released in 2007 by CBS and Paramount, which includes the TV movies A Very Brady Christmas and The Brady 500, as well as two episodes of The Brady Kids animated series. The box art for the set features green shag carpeting and 1970s-style wood paneling.
The first two seasons are also available on Region 2 DVD for the Nordic countries, with audio in English and subtitle choices in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, or Finnish. The series has also been released on VHS, but the VHS tapes have gone out of print.
Seasons one and two have also been released in the UK.
|DVD name||Episodes||Release dates|
|Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|The Complete First Season||25||March 1, 2005||August 27, 2007||September 19, 2007|
|The Complete Second Season||24||July 26, 2005||March 24, 2008||March 6, 2008|
|The Complete Third Season||23||September 13, 2005||N/A||September 4, 2008|
|The Complete Fourth Season||23||November 1, 2005||N/A||April 2, 2009|
|The Complete Fifth Season||22||March 7, 2006||N/A||June 18, 2009|
|The Complete Series||117 (with extras)||April 3, 2007||N/A||N/A|
- It's a Sunshine Day: The Best of The Brady Bunch
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- Mannix – Season 3, Episode 19 – "Who is Sylvia?"
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to The Brady Bunch.|
- The Brady Bunch at the Internet Movie Database
- The Brady Bunch Shrine (fan site)
- Bradyworld.com (fan site)
- "The Brady Bunch Cast: Where are they now?" - ABC News, 2010 (includes some editorial errors)