Interesting Facts About 'The Brady Bunch' That Could Have Changed Everything
TV classic, "The Brady Bunch," captured the hearts of fans everywhere. Even obsessed fans might not have noticed a few things and maybe surprised at some behind the scenes secrets. One of the original cast members disappeared, somebody's hair fell out, and there was a feud that's still going on today... Here are 40 facts fans might not know about "The Brady Bunch" and a new, upcoming Brady holiday show ...
1. Six Kids Shared One Bathroom with No Toilet
If you watched and rewatched the show like we did, at some point, you noticed that the bathroom the Brady kids used was missing the toilet. At the time the show was filmed, television networks were forced to follow strict rules which prohibited showing toilet bowls onscreen. To reduce costs and avoid needing tricky camera angles, the producers simply left the toilet out of the bathroom.
2. Carol Brady Was Supposed to be a Divorcee
Fans were often perplexed about Carol's marriage status before she married Mike Brady. However, Sherwood Schwartz revealed in several interviews that he intended for Carol to be a divorcee, but since divorce was a taboo for primetime television at the time, he left it unsaid. Sadly, Florence Henderson passed away in 2016.
3. Schwartz Developed The Concept with a Newspaper Statistic
“It's very rare that a writer knows exactly where his ideas come from,” producer Sherwood Schwartz revealed. “However, in the case of The Brady Bunch, I know exactly what inspired that show. It was just a four-line filler piece in the Los Angeles Times. Just a statistic. "
The statistic reportedly claimed that in "1965, 31 percent of all marriages involved people who had a child or children from a previous marriage." His initial scripts were turned down, but after the film "Yours, Mine and Ours," did well at the box office, ABC took an interest in Schwartz's script.
4. Hair Color Played a Factor in Casting the Brady Kids
Since they cast the six Brady children first and did not know what the parents would look like, Schwartz came up with a plan. He gathered a group of 12 child actors, separated into groups of three.
He cast three blonde girls, three blonde boys, three brunette girls, and three dark-haired boys and decided the parents would have contrasting hair colors.
"As a consequence, to this day, there are three dark-haired girls and three blonde boys about 45 to 50 years old somewhere in the world who might have been the Brady kids," Schwartz said in Brady, Brady, Brady: The Complete Story of the Brady Bunch As Told by the Father/Son Team Who Really Know. "And they are just finding that out if they're reading this book."
Maureen McCormick may have been the exception, though. She had small roles in popular shows like 'Bewitched' and 'I Dream of Jeannie' before becoming a Brady.
5. "The Brady Bunch" never experienced rainy days
Looking back, fans might be shocked to realize that in the entire time the show ran, there was never a single rainy day. The weather in the show was always sunny to mirror the perfect atmosphere of the Brady home.
6. The Attic expanded magically
During the season four finale called "A Room at the Top," Greg (Barry Williams) and Marcia (Maureen McCormick) decided that they want to move into the full-sized attic in the Brady home. However, fans will recall that in season two, "Our son, the Man" episode, Mike claimed the attic was a mere two and a half feet tall.
7. The actress playing Carol Brady wanted her to have a job
Florence Henderson wanted Carol Brady to get out of the house. In the show, her character spent her time handing out the brown-bag lunches, supporting her husband, and doing needlepoint. However, Florence revealed in various interviews that she wanted the matriarch to have a job. Unfortunately, the producers did not agree with her vision.
8. Cindy's lisp was real
Actress Susan Olsen played Cindy, and fans often wondered if Cindy's lisp was authentic or just for the show. In truth, Susan has an endearing real-life lisp. The show incorporated it into the episode“A Fistful of Reasons," as the reason why Buddy Hinton teased her. Olsen attended speech therapy until the age of 19 and ultimately had surgery to correct her lisp.
9. Cindy's hair was a problem
Since the hair color of the children was of utmost importance during casting, when Susan Olsen was cast as Cindy, she was chosen for her naturally blonde tresses. However, producers decided that under the studio lights, it was not blonde enough, and she was forced to bleach her hair regularly.
Unfortunately, it was a damaging process that weakened her hair, and it began falling out. She pleaded with Schwartz, who immediately told producers to leave the hair alone
10. Gene Hackman was considered to play Mike Brady
Schwartz revealed that when casting Mike Brady, he considered many options. They eventually settled on Reed because he had a contract with Paramount.
“There were a number of men I wanted to interview, including Gene Hackman,” recalled Schwartz in Brady, Brady, Brady. “Paramount wouldn’t even okay Gene Hackman for an interview because he had a very low TVQ.”
11. Florence Henderson wasn't their first choice
Actress Joyce Bulifant was seriously preparing to take the role and appeared in most of the screen tests with the various child actors for their auditions. Schwartz especially envisioned Mrs. Brady as a wacky mom-type, but when Emmy Award-winning Ann B. Davis signed on to play housekeeper Alice, the dynamic of the family changed. To keep the balance, they cast Florence Henderson.
12. Henderson missed the first six episodes of the show
Florence Henderson had just finished filming "Song of Norway" in Denmark when she landed the role on 'The Brady Bunch.' Since she was still in Denmark, they were forced to film without her at first.
“And so they started the show without me,” Henderson told NPR in 2014. “They did six episodes without me and then I filled in when I got back to the States.”
13. Barry Williams Experimented With Various Substances
Barry Williams played the eldest Brady brother. During an episode in the first season, Greg gave in to peer pressure and tried to smoke a cigarette. The on-camera choking and coughing of a novice smoker were those of a genuine actor. Williams had been inhaling a pack of cigarettes a day since he was 12-years-old.
Williams' experience was not limited to tobacco. Like many teens in the 70s, Williams occasionally "experimented" with friends. He'd been experimenting one afternoon when he received a call from the studio that a scene needed to be re-shot.
Barry reported to the set, but it was obvious to everyone that something was not quite right. He stumbled over nothing, his eyes were glazed, and the delivery of his few lines was stilted. It caused furious re-writes to reduce Greg's part in the episode.
"I went through a stage of experimentation as a kid," Williams wrote on his blog. "I certainly never went to the set high again, but I don't like weed. It makes me feel dumb, paranoid, and hungry."
14. There was love in the air on set
In his book, "Growing Up Brady" Williams revealed that he and Maureen McCormick had their first kiss together during the show's fourth season, and were madly in love by the time they filmed the final episode of that season. Lloyd Schwartzeven mentions trying to dissuade the growing relationship between the two because on-the-job romances rarely worked.
15. Marcia really was hit in the face
According to Schwartz, Christopher Knight could not hit the right target while they were filming the crucial football-tossing scene in "The Subject Was Noses." Eventually, Schwartz was required to step in off-screen. He threw a perfect spiral and smacked Maureen in the nose.
16. Was Alice on a hunger strike?
Alice spent all her time in the kitchen feeding the Bradys, but she never ate anything herself. No wonder she never needed a private bathroom.
17. Robert Reed was acting on another show
While performing on 'The Brady Bunch,' Robert Reed was also acting on a recurring role as Lt. Adam Tobias on CBS detective drama 'Mannix.'
18. There was Brady car mix-up
In Season two, fans realized that in the episode "The Winner" that when Mike and Carol compete in an ice cream eating competition, they arrived at the shop in a brown station wagon and left in a blue convertible.
19. Once a Brady, always a Brady
In 1977, Eve Plumb had been too busy to participate in the spinoff of the show called "The Brady Bunch Hour." However, when "The Brady Bunch" debuted in the off-network syndication, she reprised her role as Jan.
20. Tiger tragically passed
After filming wrapped on the episode entitled "Katchoo," Tiger's trainer let the famous puppy out on the Paramount lot for his daily exercise. Unfortunately, while out, a careless driver hit Tiger, and he passed away.
The replacement pooch resembled Tiger so well even the cast and production staff were fooled, but when he would not follow directions, they realized the difference. The directors were forced to link his collar to the floor to keep him still enough to film the emotional scene where the boys bid their pup farewell.
21. A Brady Couldn't Sing?
Who would have ever thought or believed that one of the Brady Bunch couldn't sing? Unbelievable, right? Christopher Knight can't sing and pulled off all his singing parts by lip-syncing. Knight was so embarrassed by this that when he was asked to mention what he deemed most embarrassing thing he did on the show, Knight said: "Singing, by far. It was traumatic."
22. Real-life Buddies
Apart from having a working relationship, Barry Williams (Greg) and Christopher Knight (Peter) are close friends in reality. They even made appearances at one another's wedding ceremonies. They also appeared in an episode of 'That '70s Show,' filmed in 2006, in which they portrayed a gay couple.
23. Fashion Mishap
Even though they were little, the 'Brady Bunch' kids knew they didn't want to be wearing the clothes from the wardrobe department. If you remember well, the fashion sense of the 'Brady Bunch' needed a complete makeover. Despite the children asking for a change of wardrobe multiple times, it was turned down.
The only thing that brought Maureen McCormick (Marcia) and Eve Plumb (Jan) together was work. They didn't like each other one bit back then, and McCormick always felt inferior to Plumb.
Plumb had longer, blonder, more luxurious hair, developed curves before McCormick, and took pleasure in flaunting her physique, going braless under her tight-fitting tops in later seasons. Supposedly, they still don't care for each other. Susan Olsen attests to this, clarifying that those two members of the cast of "The Brady Bunch" do not talk at all or keep in touch.
25. Faux for Florence
Florence couldn't act with her natural hairdo in the first season as it had been cut to suit the role she had in a revival of 'South Pacific.' She had to wear a wig all through season one. We were surprised to find out it wasn't her real hair!
26. Teeny Weeny Crush
Even though she played his mother on the sitcom, Williams didn't think Henderson was out of his league. They did go on one date, but both insist it was nothing more than friendship.
"It wasn't that I sought to bed her. I just wanted to spend time with her. It was flattering that she gave me any attention at all."
27. A Little Bit Too Much
Reed was kind of stubborn and would sometimes get into arguments with the producers about how to direct the show. There was a time he crossed too many lines and was prevented from shooting that day. He made himself quite challenging to work with, and that didn't go down well with the producers; nevertheless, he was a good actor.
Despite his antagonism towards Sherwood Schwartz, Reed adored and was devoted to his TV family. He once treated the entire cast (at his expense) to a trip aboard the QEII to England to see Shakespeare's birthplace.
28. The Hidden Truth
All the while that Reed was acting on 'Brady Bunch,' no one knew that he was gay. In the early days of rehearsals, Florence Henderson questioned the producers about the actor's hesitance in kissing scenes. With several years of theater under her belt, Henderson had an intuition when it came to fellow actors and didn't hesitate to ask Sherwood Schwartz.
At one point, she said, "Is there something wrong with me, or is Bob Reed gay?" According to close friends, Reed was a "self-hating homosexual," who led a tortured life and thought of his sexual preference as an "illness" or "disorder" and tried to suppress it. The actor was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1992 and tested positive for HIV.
He'd remained close friends with Florence Henderson over the years and, from his hospital bed, asked her to break the news of his illness to the "kids." After hearing the news, each of the actors phoned Reed to chat with him one last time. Each one of them traveled to Skokie, Illinois, to attend his funeral.
29. The Father Figure
Despite Reed not being the easiest person to work with, he was a great father figure to Susan Olson and Mike Lookinland. They both recounted how Reed was very much a father to them - even more than their dads.
30. The Casting Method
The way Sherwood Schwartz picked the children he wanted to work with was indeed smart and funny. He was said to have positioned great toys on the table where he would interview the kids. If the children were able to ignore the toys, they would be seen as serious contenders for a part on TV.
31. A Different Mom
We can't imagine another woman apart from Florence Henderson being the mother of the Brady bunch. She acted the part so well that she has a place on lots of TV Greats lists.
What we didn't know was that the role wasn't to be hers initially! It was written for American singer and actress, Shirley Jones who declined the role. Jones later got a role as TV mom Shirley Partridge from "The Partridge Family."
32. Where Was The Brady House?
Carol Brady once said that the family's home address was 4222 Clinton Way. Well, she didn't mention the town or state it was, but people guessed that it must have been in Southern California around Los Angeles because of the sunny weather. The show was filmed at the Paramount lot in California. The house was at 11222 Dilling Street, Studio City, CA.
33. A Different Name
We love the name Brady Bunch as it suits the show entirely. What you don't know is that this show had previously had different names. Sherwood Schwartz used to call it Mine and Yours, then later called it The Bradley Brood for a while. The show was finally named 'The Brady Bunch' when it was broadcast in 1969.
34. Real-life Inspiration
The creator, Sherwood Schwartz, used to portray some of his daughter's real-life challenges on the sitcom. Aside from the significant initial inspiration from a newspaper article, his daughter, Hope Juber, was one of the things that made the show so realistic and enjoyable. He had two sons and a girl. She later became a producer also.
35. One House, Different Shows
We can't forget the interior of the house that housed the Bradys. But what we realized is the same interior was used in Mannix shot scenes. 'The Mission: Impossible' TV show also used this house as their location, although 'Mission: Impossible' tried to customize the house. You can see it in the "Double Dead" episode from 1972.
36. Brady Bunch Effect
'The Brady Bunch' theme song is something we all know very well. The grid/Tic-Tac-Toe sequence of the Brady family. What you do not know is that Canadian filmmaker, Christopher Chapman, introduced that style. This style was called the "multi-dynamic image technique," but people thought it was the "Brady Bunch effect." Chapman used the multi-dynamic image technique in his 1967 film 'A Place to Stand.'
37. Where Is The Cat?
Mike Brady and the boys had a dog, Tiger; likewise, Carol Brady and her girls brought a pet too, a cat they called Fluffy. The cat appeared in the pilot episode of the sitcom. After that episode, we never set our eyes on Fluffy again. They also didn't make any reference or regard to it.
38. One Too Many Spin-offs
Although spinoffs are now old hat, 'The Brady Bunch' was one of the first sitcoms that started it. The show began in 1974 but had many spinoffs. They had 'The Brady Bunch Hour' (1976–77), 'The Brady Girls Get Married' (1981), 'The Brady Brides' (1981), 'A Very Brady Christmas' (1988), and 'The Bradys' (1990). Additionally, there were two movies: 'The Brady Bunch Movie' (1995) and 'A Very Brady Sequel' (1996), also, 'The Brady Bunch in the White House' (2002).
39. The Last Episode
Robert Reed didn't show up to film the last episode. Allegedly, he was unsatisfied with his character on the sitcom, and rumors swirled that it was because of his pay. Reed felt he was more suited for serious movies, and the Mike Brady role wasn't right for him. He made loads of suggestions the producers didn't want. His unhappiness prevented him from showing up for the last episode before the show was canceled.
40. Different Theme Songs
'The Brady Bunch' changed its opening sequence over time, with The Peppermint Trolley Company singing the first and second season's theme song. The Brady "family" sang the third season's theme, and in season five, there were three opening sequences.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
It’s been 50 years since "The Brady Bunch" was on the air. Some of the actors are reaching an age where they would rather spend quality time with their families, away from the public eye. Some of the cast have us. Florence Henderson, Robert Reed, and Ann B. Davis, sadly passed.
The stars of "The Brady Bunch" went their own directions when the series ended. Maureen McCormick struggled with bulimia as well as drug addiction to cocaine and quaaludes. While working on one of the reboots, "The Brady Brides," McCormick missed three days in a row of production.
Her agent finally found her. She was hiding in a closet, high on cocaine. Eventually, she overcame her addiction with the help of rehab and therapy and spent time as a country singer.
“My biggest accomplishment is, I just celebrated 34 years of marriage to my dear husband Michael [Cummings], and we have a beautiful daughter together, Natalie,” McCormick told Today.
Eve Plumb appeared in "The Love Boat" and "Fantasy Island." She has spent much of the past few decades with guest roles on sitcoms, including the HBO show, Crashing, acting on stage, and painting. Plumb has been a painter for over two decades and has seen success at select galleries across the United States.
The youngest of the bunch, Susan Olsen, became a soap star in "The Young and the Restless." As did Christopher Knight, who appeared in "The Bold and the Beautiful." Knight also recently appeared in a made for TV movie on the SyFy channel, called "The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time."
Barry Williams has mostly appeared as himself, in "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star," "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew," and a satellite radio trivia show, "The Real Greg Brady's Totally '70s Pop Quiz starring Barry Williams." He also found another life in the music industry, as part of a musical trio called The Traveliers. In 2000, he sang a parody of Eminem's "The Real Slim Shady" named "The Real Greg Brady."
THE REBOOT. SORT OF.
The public has always demanded more Brady. Multiple reboots with the original actors include "The Brady Bunch Variety Hour," "The Brady Brides," "A Very Brady Christmas," and "The Bradys." Now, the surviving members can include reality renovation on their resumes.
HGTV purchased the iconic house that was featured on The Brady Bunch show for over $3 million. On September 9th, their new show, "A Very Brady Renovation," premiered. The plan, or premise, was to renovate the house to appear exactly as it did when the show was originally on the air. The actual home was featured only during the opening and closing scenes.
The only outdoors scenes took place in the "backyard." Most of the indoor scenes took place in a studio. Therefore, the house interior doesn’t match what we saw during the show. The original cast members, working with design professionals, were the ones renovating.
“What resonated with me the most was that it was a different take on Brady,” Plumb said. “They weren’t asking us to come back and play Brady Bunch characters again. It was, ‘Let’s explore what the house will look like if we can make it in real life.”
The producers scoured the nation for props from the late ’60s and early ’70s to replicate the home, its features, and furnishings. They used such touches as fussing over the angle of the stairs in the living room to re-create the once-imaginary home.
It quickly became HGTV's most popular show, with over 28 million viewers, for people 25 to 54 years old, people over two years old, women ages 25 to 54, men ages 25 to 54, and households!
“We knew "A Very Brady Renovation" would exceed every expectation,” said a statement by Jane Latman, president of HGTV. “This initial ratings and digital performance report has been nothing short of impressive, and our entire team is celebrating.
"The Brady Bunch" is a pop culture phenomenon with incredible appeal, so we expect viewers to return week after week to watch how HGTV renovated and replicated the real "Brady Bunch" house.” "A Very Brady Renovation" was completed in May 2019.
BUT THAT'S NOT ALL!
Discovery Network confirmed there will be another Brady holiday special!!! A Very Brady Renovation: Holiday Edition. The former pretend-siblings will join Ree Drummond, star of the Food Network’s "The Pioneer Woman," and Jasmine Roth, of HGTV’s "Hidden Potential," to create ‘70s-inspired treats and festive decorations.
“We have remarkable star experts across every area of lifestyle content, so of course we’re inviting Food Network star Ree Drummond to HGTV’s Brady holiday episode,” said Latman. “Along with Jasmine Roth and the Brady siblings, we’ve assembled a dream team to create the ultimate holiday programming event.”
Details are still being worked out, but HGTV is said to be planning for the special to air this December! Obviously, the holiday special will bring back memories of the TV family’s holiday gatherings there.
Every once in awhile, a show comes along that so defines and captures American culture and our hearts. We know the show's premise was far from realistic, but it brought divorce and blended families to the forefront in a time during which many divorced women were shunned. For generations, that show was "The Brady Bunch."
What are some of your favorite Brady-induced memories? What did you think of the renovation show, and how excited are you for the holiday renovation show? Tell us in the comments section!