The Brady Bunch
- 1 Overview
- 2 Cast
- 3 The Brady house
- 4 Music recordings
- 5 Spin-offs and sequels
- 6 Specials, documentaries, and other revivals
- 7 Parodies
- 8 Home video
- 9 External links
A total of 117 episodes were broadcast between September 1969 and August 1974 on the ABC network. The idea to make the series was based on creator Sherwood Schwartz's reading an article that a growing share of the marriages in the United States involved children from a previous marriage. Despite the similarities between the series and the 1968 theatrical release Yours, Mine and Ours, starring Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball, the original script for The Brady Bunch (which was titled Yours and Mine at that early stage) predated the script for the film. However, the success of the film was likely a factor in the network ordering the series.
Mike Brady, a widowed architect with sons Greg, Peter, and Bobby and a housekeeper named Alice, married Carol Martin (née Tyler), whose daughters were Marcia, Jan, and Cindy; the daughters take the Brady surname. Schwartz wanted Carol to have been a divorcée. The network objected to this, but a compromise was reached whereby no mention was made of the circumstances in which Carol's first marriage ended.
The new family, including Alice Nelson (Mike and the boys' housekeeper even prior to the death of his first wife; on one episode Alice said she had been with Mike before Bobby was born), all moved into a new home which had been designed by Mike. Episodes in the first season detailed the family learning to adjust to their new circumstances and become a unit, as well as typical problems of childhood and teenagers (such as dating, rivalries and family squabbles). Subtle references to larger societal problems occasionally found their way into the dialogue. There was only one true social-issue episode, "The Liberation of Marcia Brady," in which Marcia explores the oppression of the Brady women and sets out to prove a girl can do anything a boy can. Mike did much of his architectural work in an office/design studio within the house, an apparent way of lending some realism to the way in which sitcom dads seem to be almost always at home while nonetheless earning a good living, a circumstance that has been ridiculed almost as long as the genre has existed.
From the second season on, scripts tended to de-emphasise the fact that the Bradys were a blended family, and scripts generally gave the impression that the family had always been together. However, in the episodes "Not So Rose Colored Glasses" and "Jan's Aunt Jenny", mention was made that Mike and Carol had been married for three years. Further, in "Kelly's Kids", mention was made of the Brady adoptions when their neighbours, the Kellys, adopted three boys themselves. The opening theme song was the main manifestation of the Bradys being a blended family.
The Brady Bunch was not a highly rated program during its prime time run (it never placed in the top 25 for a season) and was cancelled in 1974. Despite its relatively brief run and having won no awards, the show has become a true cultural phenomenon, having lasted in the minds of Americans for over 30 years. The series has spawned several sequel series on all three major networks, two theatrical and three made-for-TV movies, a touring stage show, and countless specials and documentaries on both network and cable TV.
Since its first airing in syndication in September 1975, an episode of the show has been broadcast somewhere every single day. It was also shown on ABC in the daytime during the summer months from 1973 to 1975. (The only time the show was off television was from August 1974 when the prime time and daytime runs ended until June 1975 when the daytime run resumed.) When the episodes were repeated in syndication, usually appearing every weekday in early-afternoon slots so children could watch the episodes when they returned from school, the program became widely popular and achieved 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. The Bradys also comprised a harmonious family (compare that to the Bunkers or the Simpsons or any number of dysfunctional television families). In fact, the producers had a form letter they sent to children wanting to run away from their own families and live with the Bradys. It has also been noted that the Bradys, while not wealthy, lived well by middle class standards, having a live-in housekeeper and taking frequent trips.
The children on the show began singing careers as they toured the USA in the 1970s, calling themselves The Kids from the Brady Bunch, although only Barry Williams and Maureen McCormick have stayed in the music business.
A list of episodes of "The Brady Bunch" can be found in the article List of The Brady Bunch episodes.
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. The sequence has been widely imitated and lampooned since:
| Marcia |
Ann B. Davis
A recurring character was Alice's boyfriend, Sam Franklin (Allan Melvin), the owner of a local butcher shop. (By the time of The Brady Girls Get Married, a made-for-TV movie in 1981, Alice and Sam were married.)
In 1974, the show's final year, the producers decided to add a younger character, Cousin Oliver (Robbie Rist), to balance that the children were now all 12 and over. (Barry Williams was 19 during the show's final season). In the episode Oliver was introduced ("Welcome Aboard"), Carol explained that Oliver's parents were moving to South America to engage in an archaeological dig, and that they were unable to bring their young son along. However, the change made no difference and the show was cancelled.
The Bradys' dog, Tiger
The dog that played Tiger was hit by a car and killed early in the first season. When a replacement dog proved problematic, the producers decided the dog would only appear when essential to the plot, and eventually the dog was phased out altogether. According to Barry Williams, the doghouse remained because it was needed to cover holes in the artificial backyard.
The Brady house
The house used in exterior shots of the series (which bore no relation to the design of the Brady house in the series) is located at 11222 Dilling St. in North Hollywood in the San Fernando Valley, within the city limits of Los Angeles, California. The address of the house in the series was given as 4222 Clinton Way, and although no city was ever specified, it was clear that the Bradys lived somewhere in Southern California. The real house was only one-story, but a false window was attached to make it look like it had two. In the years since the show first aired, those who have owned the house have had problems with visitors who trespass on the property to peep into the windows (perhaps expecting to see an interior that looked like the set of The Brady Bunch), or who even come to the front door asking to see the Bradys. As a result, the house's exterior has been extensively re-landscaped, so that to someone casually driving by it most likely would not be recognizable as the house used in the exterior shots from the TV show. For one who already knows the house's history, though, it is indeed still recognizable as the Brady house.
The Brady house has a rather skimpy rear yard, crowded with assorted play equipment and the doghouse that only had a canine occupant in the first season and occasionally thereafter. There is also a brick barbecue, seen in actual use only once on the 4th season's "How To Succeed In Business", but which Mike was cleaning up in anticipation of use in one episode. The "garage", actually a carport, had storage areas and a workbench. Boys' and girls' clubhouses seem only to appear in an early episode. The side of the yard opposite the garage has a gate, where it leads to is not clear. The Ditmeyers are the neighbours living behind the fence next to the driveway.
Rear access to the house consisted mainly of patio doors (with no apparent lock in "A Camping We Will Go"), although in "Sorry, Right Number", Alice and Sam exit in a manner that implies that there is another rear exit near Alice's room and the laundry room. The patio doors seem to provide access to at least three rooms: the family room, kitchen/breakfast nook, and the dining room.
The kitchen has a fixed island with range, sink and other counter space, while two ovens are on the wall behind it. The rear counter has more counter space (including various countertop appliances), plenty of cupboards and lower cabinets, and another sink). A small utility closet sits in one corner, next to the side-by-side refrigerator/freezer; a small chalkboard often hung on the outer door in later seasons.
There is also a table with seating room for six; this is where the Bradys often ate their breakfast, lunch and snacks. In the movie "A Very Brady Christmas," the tiled back wall of the kitchen is replaced with glass bricks over at least a portion; a microwave oven can also be seen in place of one of the ovens.
Alice's room/Utility room
Behind the kitchen is Alice's room (presumably with her own bathroom) and a utility room, presumably connected with the garage (which seems to be used for bicycles and storage, not for cars). There was no other downstairs bathroom until A Very Brady Christmas.
Dining/Living Room/Mike's study
The dining room (which has seating room for all eight Bradys) is an extension of the living room; it also contained a china hutch. The living room is furnished with three wing chairs, a couch, and a coffee table, and a phone; a console television set (presumably color, presumably bought with trading stamps in "54-40 or Fight") is also seen on occasion. In back of one of the chairs is a fireplace. A drink bar (where Mike mixed alcoholic beverages) was seen in one first-season episode. Next to the staircase is a raised area, where sat a decorative horse sculpture (the one that figured heavily into the plot of A Very Brady Sequel).
There are two first-floor raised areas: an entry vestibule to a pair of double front doors (this area also contained a walk-in coat closet); and another raised area for the staircase and the entrance to Mike's study.
Mike's study is separated from the living room by a half-height stone wall, atop of which are two square red-brick columns plus closable wooden shutters for privacy. The study has one entrance to it. Fixtures in this room include Mike's drafting table (with ample storage for his supplies), a hutch containing a bookcase for his reference materials, an end table, a phone, and a couch and a wing chair. The study also has its own fireplace, situated sort of back-to-back with the one in the living room. Although Mike had a rule that the children were not allowed in the study, it was mainly understood to apply when he himself was not present in that room.
On the other side of the kitchen is the family room, where the family frequently entered the house (through the sliding patio doors). Many of the family meetings took place in this room. The room was furnished with a snack bar (which protruded into the kitchen) and contained a wall phone), a recreation table (with four chairs), a pair of chaise lounges and a portable television set; midway through the second season, a stereo system was added (which Alice had won in a contest). A large bay window allowed a view into the back yard.
At the top of the stairs, there is a dog leg to the right and then left again. A door at the top of the stairs was never opened. Mike and Carol's bedroom is off to the left of this hall; they had a large bed with a phone on a nightstand on one side and a dedicated master bathroom. At the right side of the hallway are the boys' bedroom, the children's shared bathroom and the girls' room; each bedroom opened into the bathroom.
A door at the end of the hallway opens to a stairway up to the spacious attic. This room became Greg's bedroom in the fourth-season finale.
The upstairs hallway also has a walk-in linen closet, which contains a heating duct that allows anyone to listen in on conversations taking place in the attic/Greg's room.
Although no basement was ever seen, in the episode "Confessions, Confessions", Peter assigns Greg the "punishment" of hosing down the window screens and storing them in the cellar. The basement also presumably contains the fuse box, which switches the Bradys' electricity on and off.
The Bradys' cars
During the first two seasons, each of the Brady family's motor vehicles were supplied by Chrysler Corporation: a blue 1968 Plymouth Fury convertible (which Mike drove) and a light brown 1969 Dodge Monaco station wagon.
For the 1971–1972 season, the Bradys obtained new vehicles, once again supplied by Chrysler Corporation: a blue 1971 Dodge Challenger convertible and a brown 1971 Dodge Monaco station wagon. Greg, who by this time had his license, sometimes drove Mike's convertible, although he briefly owned a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible, a car which proved to be a lemon.
The Bradys kept the Dodge station wagon throughout the rest of the series, although Mike kept switching cars, which by the 1972–1973 season, were supplied by General Motors. These were as follows:
- 1972–1973 - A blue 1972 Chevrolet Impala convertible (entire season).
- 1973–1974 - A maroon 1973 Chevrolet Caprice Classic convertible with white interior during the first half of the season. Starting with 1974 episode, "The Driver's Seat" and continuing through the remainder of the series, the convertible is a red 1974 Chevrolet Caprice Classic convertible with black interior.
During the run of the television show, the cast recorded several record albums:
- Merry Christmas from the Brady Bunch
- Meet the Brady Bunch
- Kids from the Brady Bunch
- The Brady Bunch Phonographic Album
- Maureen McCormick and Chris Knight from the Brady Bunch
Two very popular songs were "Sunshine Day" and "Keep On".
Spin-offs and sequels
Several sequels to the original series were made, featuring all or most of the original cast.
The Brady Bunch Variety Hour
A variety show called The Brady Bunch Variety Hour was spun-off (Eve Plumb was the only actor who declined to be in the series; the role of Jan was recast with Geri Reischl) in 1977 and was canceled after only nine episodes.
The Brady Girls Get Married
A TV reunion movie called The Brady Girls Get Married and a spin-off sitcom were produced in 1981 and aired on NBC. 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 ensuing series (titled The Brady Brides) featured Maureen McCormick (Marcia) and Eve Plumb (Jan) in regular roles. The series had Marcia and Jan both married and both couples living together. The clashes between Jan's uptight husband, Phillip Covington III (a college professor who was several years older than Jan), and Marcia's more slobbish partner, Wally Logan (a salesman who could never seem to keep a job), were the pivot on which many of the stories were based.
A Very Brady Christmas
A second TV reunion movie A Very Brady Christmas featured all the regular cast (except Susan Olsen), as well as three grandchildren, Peter's girlfriend, and the spouses of Greg, Marcia and Jan. After a series of pratfalls to get the family together, everyone comes home harboring various secrets (e.g., Jan and Phil are considering separation; Wally is out of work again; Greg's wife wants to spend Christmas with her family; Cindy feels pressured to come home in lieu of a skiing trip; Peter feels inferior to his girlfriend, who is also his boss; and Bobby puts off college in favor of a stock car racing career. Alice, meanwhile, temporarily moves back in with Mike and Carol after her husband, Sam (the butcher), runs off with another woman.
Even Mike has problems: Contractor Ted Roberts, wanting to save money on a downtown office complex project where Mike is the architect, demands that he redesign the building to omit important safety specifications. Mike advises against it and causes his firm to lose Roberts' services. Later, the building crumbles, and Roberts (unable to contact anyone at the new firm he hired), must rely on Mike to find what caused the building's structure to become unstable. While inside, the building continues to crumble, trapping Mike and two security guards inside. Of course, everyone turns out OK, and Alice and Sam reunite.
The movie, which aired on CBS in December 1988 to high ratings, renewed interest in the Brady clan and set out the current careers and family situations which were continued in The Bradys.
The fact that this movie aired on CBS gave the Bradys a rare feat: the original show and reunions aired on all of the "big 3" networks—ABC, CBS, and NBC.
The dramedy series The Bradys was produced in late 1989, and premiered on February 6, 1990; Maureen McCormick decided not to participate in this series, and her role of Marcia was filled by Leah Ayres. It was also the last time Robert Reed would portray Mike Brady. Mike ran for city council to battle a freeway offramp that would necessitate destruction of the Brady house, which, however, was lifted and moved when Mike got the idea from his grandson.
- Bobby's budding car-racing career ends abruptly in the first episode with an accident that left him a paraplegic.
- Peter breaks up with his fiancée, to whom he became engaged in A Very Brady Christmas.
- Jan and Phillip, unable to conceive children of their own, adopt a Korean girl.
- Stay-at-home mother Marcia battles alcoholism while Wally loses yet another in a series of jobs, the latest being Mike's campaign manager. Wally and Marcia, who along with their two children have been forced to move in with Mike and Carol, eventually decide to open their own catering business to support their family.
- Radio host Cindy begins a romantic interest with her boss, a widower more than 10 years her senior who has two children.
The role of Kevin Brady, Greg's son, was filled by Jonathan Taylor Thomas, who went on to greater success on sitcom Home Improvement just 18 months after The Bradys was cancelled (after just six episodes, due to low ratings).
Specials, documentaries, and other revivals
The Brady Bunch has met with a remarkable amount of television coverage, although most of this did not happen until the series had been off the network for more than 20 years.
- The Brady Kids, animated 22-episode series, aired 1972–74, about the Brady kids living in a treehouse without any adults but with various pets. The first 17 episodes feature the voices of all six Brady kids, but Barry Williams and Mike Lookinland are replaced for the last five episodes due to a contract dispute.
- The World of Sid & Marty Krofft at the Hollywood Bowl, 1973. Aired on Saturday morning on ABC. The kids sing in the famous Los Angeles venue, while Robert Reed and Ann B. Davis watch from box seats.
- Donny and Marie Show, ABC, October 1, 1976. Florence Henderson, Maureen McCormick, Mike Lookinland, and Susan Olsen appear as their Brady characters on an episode of Donny and Marie Osmond's variety show, without permission of the copyright owners of The Brady Bunch. They appear in several comedy sketches and the kids sing Cole Porter's We Open in Venice.
- The Brady Bunch Variety Hour, ABC, November 28, 1976. From the producers of Donny and Marie comes this special. It leads to The Brady Bunch Hour as a series on ABC.
- The Brady Bunch Hour, ABC, January–May 1977 (8 episodes). Details above.
- The Brady Girls Get Married, NBC, January–February 1981 (made for TV movie shown in three parts). Details above.
- The Brady Brides, NBC, February–April 1981 (7 episodes). Details above.
- A Very Brady Christmas, CBS, December 18, 1988. The highest-rated TV movie of the 1988–89 television season.
- Day by Day: A Very Brady Episode, NBC, February 5, 1989. Robert Reed and Florence Henderson reprise their roles as Mike and Carol in this episode of a short-lived sitcom starring Linda Kelsey and Courtney Thorne-Smith. In the episode, a teenage boy in the family (Christopher Daniel Barnes) dreams he's Chuck Brady, and escapes to the Bradys' world after he is yelled at for his poor scholastic habits (he was watching a Brady marathon); however, Chuck's dream comes apart when various Bradys begin repeating comments made only a few minutes earlier. Art came to imitate life when Barnes was cast as the new Greg Brady in the theatrical Brady Bunch movies in 1995 and 1996.
- Free Spirit: The New Secretary, ABC, December 10, 1989. Although the name Brady is never mentioned, Robert Reed and Florence Henderson play a couple seeking a divorce in an episode of this short-lived sitcom about a witch (Corinne Bohrer) working as a nanny to a widowed lawyer.
- The Bradys, CBS, January–March 1990 (six episodes). Details above.
- Bradymania: A Very Brady Special, 1993. Based loosely on Elizabeth Moran's book Bradymania, this special was hosted by Florence Henderson and include clips comparing Brady behavior with that on other sitcoms.
- The Brady Bunch Movie, 1995. Theatrical release. A parody of the original series.
- A Very Brady Sequel, 1996. Theatrical release. Same cast as previous.
- Brady Bunch Home Movies, May 23, 1995. During the original series run, Robert Reed gave each of the juvenile cast members an 8mm movie camera. This special includes footage the Brady kids shot in those days and is their tribute to Reed. Susan Olsen was executive producer.
- Groovin' with the Bradys, 1998. A 1998 special produced by VH-1.
- Attack of the Bradys, 1998. Another VH-1 Special.
- E! True Hollywood Story: The Brady Bunch, June 6, 1999. Members of the cast retell their anecdotes for the benefit of this E! Network series, including an extensive discussion of Robert Reed's homosexuality.
- Unauthorized Brady Bunch: The Final Days, May 16, 2000. A made for TV movie looking at the making of The Brady Bunch focusing on the final season which was marred by dissension among the cast pertaining to their business arrangements and the creative direction of the show.
- Growing Up Brady, May 21, 2000. A made-for-TV movie of Barry Williams's hit 1992 book.
- Pop-Up Brady, VH-1, July 18, 2001. Several episodes of The Brady Bunch with textual commentary added in the form of on-screen balloons.
- The Weakest Link, NBC, September 24, 2001. Members of the Brady cast compete on this game show.
- The Brady Bunch in the White House, November 29, 2002. Made for TV movie parody in the mould of The Brady Bunch Movie but with a mostly new cast.
- The Brady Bunch 35th Anniversary Reunion Special: Still Brady after All These Years, September 29, 2004. Reunion special hosted by Jenny McCarthy.
- My Fair Brady, 2005. A reality TV series inspired by The Brady Bunch.
- Coming Together under One Roof, 2005. Sherwood Schwartz narrates this documentary about the creation of The Brady Bunch for the DVD release of the first season.
- Biography: The Brady Bunch, A&E, June 24, 2005. A&E's popular documentary program, having earlier profiled both Florence Henderson and Robert Reed, devotes an episode to the series.
- The Brady Bunch Cast Back in Hawaii, 2005. Florence Henderson, Barry Williams, Christopher Knight, Mike Lookinland, and Susan Olsen go back to Hawaii and meet up with Don Ho.
A 1995 feature film, The Brady Bunch Movie was a parody of the original show with new actors playing all the main characters, including Shelley Long as Carol and Gary Cole as Mike. The Brady Bunch Movie placed the original 1970s sitcom characters, with their 1970s fashion sense and 1970s sitcom family morality, in a contemporary 1990s setting, and the resulting culture clash. The children are at the age they were in the third or fourth season of the original series. It featured cameos from four original cast members as well as Davy Jones. The film was successful and prompted a reasonably well-received sequel in 1996 with the same cast. Imaginatively titled A Very Brady Sequel the story of this sequel included a family trip to Hawaii and made sly comment on the well-documented real-life sexual tension between some of the teenage cast members of the original TV series.
In 2002, a telefilm called The Brady Bunch in the White House continued in the vein of the earlier parody movies. It again featured Long and Cole as Carol and Mike, however new actors portrayed the children, allowing them to remain at the age of the kids during the early seasons of the original series. This last movie received poor reviews. The movies all featured plot references and songs from the TV show.
The Brady Bunch Variety Hour was parodied in The Simpsons episode "The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase", where a different girl plays Lisa, but the rest of the Simpsons appear in The Simpson Family Smile-Time Variety Hour.
Columbia House released 10 volumes of VHS tapes to subscribers from 1993–1996 with various themes totaling 40 episodes all from the first three seasons and none from the last two. They never released any more. Also, eight episodes were commercially released on VHS tapes in 1995. In 2005, Paramount/Viacom quickly released the first three seasons on DVD with the fourth season due for release in November and the final season in early spring of 2006.
VHS retail releases
- The Brady Bunch Volume 1 - The Honeymoon / A Camping We Will Go (1969) 1995
- Brady Bunch 2 - Tattletale/Law & Disorder (1970/1972) - 1995
- The Brady Bunch 3 - Will the Real Jan Brady Please Stand Up / Her Sister's Shadow (1971/1972) - 1996
- The Brady Bunch - Getting Davy Jones / The Subject Was Noses (1971/1973) - 1996
- The Brady Bunch Variety Hour - Vol. 1 (1977) - 1999
- The Brady Bunch Variety Hour - Vol. 2 (1977) - 2000
- Brady Bunch Home Movies (1995)
- Brady Bunch Movie (1994) - 1998
- A Very Brady Sequel (1996) - 1999
VHS mail order releases
- Bradys One & All - The Honeymoon - Dear Libby - Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore - Father of The Year (1992)
- The Littlest Brady - Kitty Carry All Is Missing - The Possible Dream - The Tattletale - The Teeter Totter Caper (1993)
- Marcia Brady - Brace Yourself - Going Going Steady - Marcia's Liberation - Getting Davy Jones (1993)
- Bradys Run Amok - Sorry Right Number - To Move Or Not To Move - The Babysitters - Tell It Like It Is (1993)
- Brady In The Middle - Lost Locket Found Locket - The Not So Ugly Duckling - Will The Real Jan Brady Please Stand Up - Her Sister's Shadow (1993)
- Greg Brady - The Dropout - Call Me Irresponsible - Where There's Smoke - Our Son The Man (1993)
- Bradys Under Par - The Voice Of Christmas - The Big Sprain - A Fistful Of Reasons - Coming Out Party (1993)
- Bradys Lost & Found - Tiger Tiger - The Treasure Of Sierra Avenue - The Impractical Joker - Not So Rose Colored Glasses (1994)
- The Battle Of The Bradys - Confessions Confessions - The Winner - The Private Ear - The Big Bet (1994)
- Brady Vs Brady - A Clubhouse Is Not A Home - Vote For Brady - The Slumber Caper - My Sister Benedict Arnold (1994)
- Brady Bunch Variety Hour (1976–77) - Best of - 2001
- Brady Bunch Movie (1994) - 1998
- A Very Brady Sequel (1996) - 1999
- Brady Home Movies (1997) - 2000
- Growing up Brady (2004) - 2004
- The Complete First Season - all 25 1969–70 season episodes - released March 1, 2005
- The Complete Second Season - all 24 1970–71 season episodes - released July 11, 2005
- The Complete Third Season - all 23 1971–72 season episodes - released September 13, 2005
- The Complete Fourth Season - all 24 1972—73 season episodes - released November 1, 2005