The Brady Bunch: Little Known Facts About the Iconic Family Sitcom
One of the first television shows to portray a blended family, The Brady Bunch, is a beloved classic television show today. This series showed us a picture-perfect family of sparkling personalities and wholesome values, from 1969 - 1974. Many, many families grew up watching this iconic family sitcom, especially thanks to the advent of re-runs.
At the time the show aired, little was well-known regarding behind-the-scenes antics and the actors behind the smiling faces. The show’s creator, Sherwood Schwartz interviewed 464 boys and girls to play the parts of the 3 sisters - Marcia, Jan, and Cindy, and the 3 brothers - Greg, Peter, and Bobby.
He also wanted each of the children to match the hair of their parent. This meant each of the girls would be blonde, and each of the boys, brunette. Susan Olsen, who played Cindy Brady, apparently did not have hair blonde enough for Schwartz. Her hair was regularly bleached until it started falling out during the second season.
The Brady children each had their own behind-the-scenes secrets as well. The actors who portrayed the kids were not happy with their wardrobe choices and often requested more fashionable clothes for the characters they played. In the end, Schwartz refused to provide anything different, as he wanted the show to be seen as “timeless”.
Most of the children wore braces while filming the show, specifically Susan Olsen (Cindy Brady), Eve Plumb (Jan Brady), Maureen McCormick (Marcia Brady), and Mike Lookinland (Bobby Brady). Barry Williams (Greg Brady) actually did his own surfing for a few episodes that were filmed in Hawaii. Cindy Brady, played by Susan Olsen, had a lisp in real life. She saw a speech therapist until she was 19 and eventually had corrective surgery for her lazy “s”.
Robert Reed & Florence Henderson played the ideal husband and wife as Mike & Carol Brady. Each of them had their own expectations when it came to the show and how it should be run. Although Carol Brady never worked outside the home that was never Florence Henderson’s wish. She felt Carol should be employed, but the producers thought that may be too modern for that time.
Robert Reed attended Northwestern University in Chicago. During one of his semesters there, he traveled to London where he studied at the Royal Academy of the Dramatic Art. He was also quite the rabble-rouser when it came to his relationship with Schwartz. They often argued about scripts and story-lines; so much, in fact, that Reed was written out of the very last episode of the series. Reed remained on set for the last episode, as Schwartz did not want to kick him off for the sake of the children. Gene Hackman was tagged to play the role of Mike Brady. When the producers heard of this, they cast aside the unknown actor at that time, for Reed, who was already under contract with the studio.
The Brady Bunch debuted almost 50 years ago and still remains one of the most loved and enduring family sitcoms to this day. The success of the show can be attributed to the approachable characters, invaluable lessons and funny antics of a blended family who loved each other no matter what.
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