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The Brady Bunch
BradyBunchtitle.png
Season five opening (1973–74)
Genre Sitcom
Created by Sherwood Schwartz
Starring
Theme music composer
  • Frank De Vol
  • Sherwood Schwartz
Opening theme
  • "The Brady Bunch" performed by:
  • Peppermint Trolley Company (1969–70)
  • The Brady Bunch Kids
  • (1970–74)
Composer(s) Frank De Vol
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 117 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Sherwood Schwartz
Producer(s)
  • Howard Leeds
  • Sherwood Schwartz
  • Lloyd Schwartz
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 25–26 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor Paramount Domestic Television
(1975–1976)
CBS Television Distribution
Release
Original network ABC
Audio format Monaural
Original release September 26, 1969 (1969-09-26) – March 8, 1974 (1974-03-08)
Chronology
Followed by
Related shows

The Brady Bunch is an American sitcom created by Sherwood Schwartz that 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 success or hit series during its original run, it has since become a popular staple in syndication, especially among children and teenaged viewers.

Premise

Mike Brady (Robert Reed), a widowed architect with three sons, Greg (Barry Williams), Peter (Christopher Knight), and Bobby (Mike Lookinland), marries Carol Martin (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. (In the pilot episode, the girls also have a pet: a cat named Fluffy. Fluffy never appeared in any episodes following the pilot.) The setting is a large, suburban, two-story house designed by Mike, in a Los Angeles suburb.

In the first season, awkward adjustments, accommodations, gender rivalries, 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 preteen and teenaged adjustments such as sibling rivalry, puppy love, self-image, character building, and responsibility. Noticeably absent was any political commentary, especially regarding the Vietnam War, which was being waged at its largest extent during the height of the series.

Cast and characters

Main

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 used the then-new "multi-dynamic image technique" created by Canadian filmmaker Christopher Chapman; as a result of the popular attention it garnered in this sequence, it has been referred to in the press as "the Brady Bunch effect". In a 2010 issue of TV Guide, the show's opening title sequence ranked number eight on a list of TV's top-10 credits sequences, as selected by readers.

Brady Bunch
Cast of The Brady Bunch in the signature three-by-three grid featured in the show open.

Recurring characters

  • 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 died early in the first season. A replacement dog proved problematic, so the producers decided the dog would appear only 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).
Robbie Rist Cousin Oliver Brady Bunch 1974
Robbie Rist as Cousin Oliver
  • Mr. Phillips (Jack Collins) is Mike's boss at the architectural firm. He appears in only three episodes, all during season two, but is often mentioned in other episodes when issues occur around Mike's work.
  • 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 off the balance of the show 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 cancelled the series in 1974. The addition of the character has been cited as the moment the series "jumped the shark". 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.

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 to 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 in 1995 (for a special event), and again 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, on TV Land on and off from 2002 to 2015, Nick Jr. (as part of the NickMom block from 2012 to 2013), and Hallmark Channel from January to June 2013 and again starting September 5, 2016, until September 30, 2016.

Episodes in the syndicated version have been edited for time to allow for commercial breaks, down from the original version of 25–26 minutes.

Current airings

Since its launch as a national network in 2010, the Weigel Broadcasting owned classic TV network MeTV airs a weekly two-hour block of the show every Sunday morning/early afternoon promoted as the "Brady Bunch Brunch". In the years following, MeTV has also periodically aired the series weekday mornings. Decades - a sister network of MeTV - also occasionally airs the show.

The show is also available through the video-on-demand services Hulu and CBS All Access, though not every episode is available on either service.

Discography

During the series' original run, the Brady kids recorded several albums on Paramount's record label. While session musicians provided backing, the actors from the series provided their own singing voices (which was not always the case for early 1970s television crossover acts). None of the albums or singles from The Brady Kids ever became hits on any national music charts.

Studio albums

List of albums, with chart positions, showing other relevant details
Title Album details Peak chart
positions
US
Merry Christmas from the Brady Bunch
  • Release date: November 2, 1970
  • Label: Paramount (PAS 5026)
  • Format: Vinyl
Meet the Brady Bunch
  • Release date: April 17, 1972
  • Label: Paramount (PAS 6032)
  • Format: Vinyl
108
The Kids from the Brady Bunch
  • Release date: December 4, 1972
  • Label: Paramount (PAS 6037)
  • Format: Vinyl
The Brady Bunch Phonographic Album
  • Release date: June 18, 1973
  • Label: Paramount (PAS 6058)
  • Format: Vinyl
Chris Knight & Maureen McCormick
(Chris Knight and Maureen McCormick duet album)
  • Release date: October 1, 1973
  • Label: Paramount (PAS 6062)
  • Format: Vinyl
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Compilation albums

List of albums, showing relevant details
Title Album details
It's a Sunshine Day: The Best of The Brady Bunch
  • Release date: March 2, 1993
  • Label: MCA (MCA 10764)
  • Format: CD

Singles

Also includes solo singles as indicated.

Year Single Album
1970 "Frosty the Snowman" Merry Christmas from the Brady Bunch
"How Will It Be?" (Eve Plumb) Non-album single
1971 "Sweet Sweetheart" (Barry Williams)
1972 "Time to Change" Meet the Brady Bunch
"We'll Always Be Friends"
"Over and Over" (Chris Knight) Non-album single
"Candy (Sugar Shoppe)" The Kids from the Brady Bunch
1973 "Zuckerman's Famous Pig" The Brady Bunch Phonographic Album
"Truckin' Back To You" (Maureen McCormick) Non-album single
"Everything I Do" The Brady Bunch Phonographic Album
"Little Bird (Sing Your Song)" (Maureen McCormick) Chris Knight & Maureen McCormick
1974 "Love's in the Roses" (Maureen McCormick) Non-album single
"Love Doesn't Care Who's in It" (Mike Lookinland)

Spin-offs, sequels, and reunions

Several spin-offs and sequels and reality series, 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, theatrical movies, and a reality series:

Kelly's Kids

A final-season Brady Bunch episode, "Kelly's Kids", was intended as a pilot for a prospective spin-off 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 reworked 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, is 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) which 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.

In 2009, Brady Bunch cast member Susan Olsen, with Lisa Sutton, published a book, Love to Love You Bradys, which dissects and celebrates the Variety Hour as a cult classic.

The Brady Girls Get Married / The Brady Brides

The Brady Brides
The Brady Brides.jpg
Genre Sitcom
Created by Sherwood Schwartz
Lloyd J. Schwartz
Directed by Peter Baldwin
Starring Maureen McCormick
Eve Plumb
Jerry Houser
Ron Kuhlman
Florence Henderson
Ann B. Davis
Keland Love
Theme music composer Frank De Vol
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 10
Production
Executive producer(s) Sherwood Schwartz
Lloyd J. Schwartz
Producer(s) John Thomas Lenox
Production location(s) Paramount Studios, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California
Cinematography Lester Shorr
Running time 25 minutes
Production company(s) Redwood Productions
Paramount Television
Distributor CBS Television Distribution
Release
Original network NBC
Original release February 6 (1981-02-06) – April 17, 1981 (1981-04-17)
Chronology
Preceded by The Brady Bunch Hour
Followed by A Very Brady Christmas
Related shows The Brady Bunch

A TV reunion movie called The Brady Girls Get Married was produced in 1981. Although scheduled to be shown in its original full-length movie format, NBC at the last minute 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 proved 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, Greg is a doctor, Marcia is a fashion designer, Peter is in the Air Force, Jan is also an architect, 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 features Maureen McCormick (Marcia) and Eve Plumb (Jan) in regular roles. The series begins with Marcia and Jan and their new husbands buying a house and living together. The clashes between Jan's uptight and conservative husband, Philip Covington III (a college professor in science who is several years older than Jan, played by Ron Kuhlman) and Marcia's slovenly and more bohemian 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. Florence Henderson and Ann B. Davis also appeared regularly. 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 1990s, The Brady Girls Get Married was rerun on various networks in its original full-length movie format.

In 2019, the series was released on DVD for the first time as a part of The Brady-est Brady Bunch TV & Movie Collection.

Episodes

No. Title Original air date
1 "The Brady Girls Get Married (Part 1)" February 6, 1981 (1981-02-06)
Marcia and Jan announce that they are both getting married and plans soon begin for a double wedding.
2 "The Brady Girls Get Married (Part 2)" February 13, 1981 (1981-02-13)
Jan and Philip want a traditional wedding, and Marcia and Wally want a modern wedding.
3 "The Brady Girls Get Married (Part 3)" February 20, 1981 ( February 20, 1981)
The weather spells disaster for an outdoor wedding, so they end up having the ceremony inside the Brady house.
4 "Living Together" March 6, 1981 (1981-03-06)
After all the houses they see are too expensive, Marcia, Jan and their husbands decide to share a house.
5 "Gorilla of My Dreams" March 13, 1981 (1981-03-13)
Marcia and Jan get some self-defense lessons from their mother, while a thief attempts to burglarize their home.
6 "The Newlywed Game" March 20, 1981 (1981-03-20)
Game-show host Bob Eubanks asks Marcia and Jan to appear on The Newlywed Game with their new husbands.
7 "The Mom Who Came to Dinner" March 27, 1981 (1981-03-27)
Carol temporarily moves in with her newly wedded daughters and their husbands.
8 "The Siege" April 3, 1981 (1981-04-03)
Wally's guilt over parking tickets causes him to panic when a policeman visits the house, so he decides to impersonate Philip.
9 "Cool Hand Phil" April 10, 1981 (1981-04-10)
Philip tries to change his image by dressing and acting "hip."
10 "A Pretty Boy is Like a Melody" April 17, 1981 (1981-04-17)
Marcia is forced to use Wally and Philip in her fashion show after her models go on strike.

A Very Brady Christmas

A second TV reunion movie, A Very Brady Christmas, aired in December 1988 on CBS and featured most of 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.

The Bradys

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, his father and he 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 pm on CBS and initially drew respectable ratings. Subsequent episodes were moved to 8 pm, where ratings quickly declined. Due to the decline, CBS cancelled the series after six episodes.

Day by Day: "A Very Brady Episode"

The Day by Day episode titled "A Very Brady Episode" (February 5, 1989), on NBC, reunited six of the original The Brady Bunch cast members: Robert Reed, Florence Henderson, Ann B. Davis, Christopher Knight, Mike Lookinland and Maureen McCormick.

A Very Brady Renovation

In 2019 Christopher Knight, Mike Lookinland, Maureen McCormick, Susan Olsen, Eve Plumb, and Barry Williams reunited for the 2019 HGTV series A Very Brady Renovation, which follows a full renovation (interior mostly) of the real house, used for the sitcom's exterior shots, into the fictional Brady house.

Film adaptations

Twenty years following the conclusion of the original series, a film adaptation, The Brady Bunch Movie, went into production and was released in 1995 from Paramount Pictures. The film is set in the present day (1990s) and the Bradys, still living their lives as if it were the 1970s, are unfamiliar with their surroundings. It stars Gary Cole and Shelley Long as Mike and Carol Brady, with Christopher Daniel Barnes (Greg), Christine Taylor (Marcia), Paul Sutera (Peter), Jennifer Elise Cox (Jan), Jesse Lee (Bobby), Olivia Hack (Cindy), Henriette Mantel (Alice), and cameo appearances from Ann B. Davis as a long-haul truck driver, Barry Williams as a record label executive, Christopher Knight as a gym teacher at Westdale High, and Florence Henderson as Carol's mother. Mike Lookinland, Susan Olsen and Maureen McCormick appeared in deleted scenes.

A sequel, A Very Brady Sequel, was released in 1996. The cast of the first film returned for the sequel. Another sequel, The Brady Bunch in the White House, was made-for-television and aired on Fox in 2002. Gary Cole and Shelley Long returned for the third film, while the Brady kids and Alice were recast.

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