CAROLE LOMBARD - My Favorite Actress

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Greatest TV Comedies -The Brady Bunch (1969-1974)

Here's the story: the classic comedy series that almost didn't happen. When this story was pitched to the studio, it was rejected as being too unbelievable. One year later in 1968, thanks to the success of the Lucille Ball/Henry Fonda movie Yours, Mine, and Ours about a blended family with a total of 18 children, The Brady Bunch was green lit, and the rest is history. The early seasons are the best in my opinion, before things got too weird, like the addition of a cousin named Oliver. But before that happened, hi jinks and hilarity were the order of the day. The cast was first rate and all did very well in their roles, remarkable considering most of the child actors had no experience before appearing in this series. The head of the family Mike Brady was played by Robert Reed, who was perfectly cast. I don't think you can picture any other actor at the time pulling off his Mike Brady character. I will give props to actor Gary Cole for nailing his take on Mike Brady in the big screen Brady movies. He had that same sing song delivery that Robert Reed did so very well. It helped that he had the lovely and engaging Florence Henderson as his wife Carol. The eldest son Greg (Barry Williams), the middle son Peter (Christopher Knight) and the young son Bobby (Mike Lookinland) meshed well with the girls. Leading the way of course was Marcia (Maureen McCormick), middle sister Jan (Eve Plumb) who actually gave the series it's biggest spark as her dislike of Marcia drove her to near insanity. And little Cindy (Susan Olsen). To help shepherd all these kids and the dog Tiger was Alice, the maid (played by TV veteran Ann B. Davis, whose resume includes The Bob Cummings Show, Dobie Gillis, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and The Bob Newhart Show). Davis brought her considerable experience to The Bradys and it showed in almost every episode.
Most people, even the die hard fans, realize that The Brady Bunch is kinda corny and square if watched today but it's still funny. I know I enjoyed it, when I caught it during reruns of WTBS back in the early 80's. And after a semi-successful 5 year run which logged 117 episodes, you may be surprised to learn that The Brady Bunch was never really a ratings powerhouse. It's highest ranking was number 34 during it's run, but the appeal of this show is timeless. It spun off several other series including The Brady Brides, The Brady Bunch Variety Hour, The Bradys, and two Hollywood movies during the 90's that captured a whole new generation of fans. I still enjoy catching a episode every now then. As a matter of fact I just watched one the other day involving Peter being harassed at school by a bully. And having his dad step in to deal with the bully's dad. I laughed quite a bit. Anyway, The Brady Bunch is easily one of the great TV comedies of all time that I would gladly take over some of the comedies that are currently on TV right now. And it was very cool seeing the kids grow up right before your eyes. From precocious youngsters to teen-agers, they still managed to stay together like one big family. And that's how they became The Brady Bunch. Plus, let's not forget that great theme song, one of TV's best ever.


Tom said...

Monty this was one of my favorite shows to watch when I was a kid. I never saw it as corny; it was a family comedy and I loved it because I never had brothers or sisters.

monty said...

I meant to say when viewed today the show might seem a little corny but I still think its funny and a classic series Tom.

Patti said...

I grew up on The Brady Bunch. Loved it then...still love it now, and so do my kids. And, yes, I agree, it IS corny by today's standards, but like you, I'll take that kind of TV family ANY day over what most sitcoms give us nowadays. Those kids respected their parents. The family really loved each other. And the parents weren't made to look like idiots as they do on most sitcoms today. And all without alot of sexual innuendo or partial nudity.

A great show the whole family can watch.

Desiree said...

Wow, cool post... I really haven't seen this show in so long. I used to watch it often on TV Land.


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