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14 Facts You Might Not Know about The Brady Bunch

On September 26, 1969, a fictional family called the Bradys permitted Americans a reprieve from a tumultuous age. Sherwood Schwartz's The Brady Bunch showed a family that was perfectly good--free from want, misfortune and serious conflict. Let's look at some bits of trivia that you might not know about that show.

1. The exterior shots of the Bradys’ house show a real one in North Hollywood, California. Directors selected it because it was at the end of a dead-end street with little traffic and could be easily shot from several directions. It wasn’t big enough to house 9 people, so set designers hung a fake window on an outside wall while taking pictures. Here's the house on Google Street View.

2. Mike Brady is a widower. But is Carol is a widow? It’s unclear. Producer Sherwood Schwartz wanted to make her a divorcée, but the network refused. Schwartz retaliated by never mentioning the girls’ father on the show.

3. For the sake of authenticity, the producers had the actors who played the boys build their characters’ clubhouse themselves.

4. Robert Reed was a serious, classically-trained actor who graduated from the Royal Academy of the Dramatic Art in London. In the early 1960s, he starred in the critically acclaimed legal drama series The Defenders. So he considered The Brady Bunch to be rather beneath him. Reed constantly bickered with producers Sherwood and Lloyd Schwartz over the show’s light tone. But like his character, he had warm and caring relationships with the child actors on the show.

5. In contrast with the wealthy and supportive Brady family, Florence Henderson’s real background was harsh. She grew up desperately poor, the youngest of 10 children of an alcoholic sharecropper. She attributes her professional success to her mother's determination that Henderson build a better life.

6. One of Barry Williams’s (Greg) early breakthrough roles was on Mission: Impossible. He played an eastern European king who disguised himself as a gypsy girl to hide from assassins.


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7. Maureen McCormick (Marcia) provided the voice for the famous Chatty Cathy dolls.

8. A full year passed between the shooting of the pilot episode and the second episode, which is why the children appear to age so much between the two episodes.

9. Sherwood Schwartz considered calling the show The Brady Brood instead of The Brady Bunch.

10. Do you remember that Lucy and Ricky on I Love Lucy slept in twin beds? The clean-cut Brady Bunch showed Carol and Mike lying together in the same bed--a scandalous arrangement at the time.

11. The network did, however, require that Schwartz remove the toilet from the couple’s bathroom.


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12. The opening song for the first season was sung by adult professionals. For the second season, the child actors themselves sung the song. The lyrics were changed from the third person to the second--”they” to “we.”

13. 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.

14. After cancellation, the show spawned numerous animated specials, live shot specialsreboots and even parody movies.

Sources:
Edelstein, Andrew J. and Frank Lovence. The Brady Bunch Book. New York: Warner Books, 1990. Print.
Stoddard, Sylvia. A TV Treasures Companion Guide to The Brady Bunch. New York: St. Martin's, 1996. Print.


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