“Here’s story of a man named Bradley…” Okay, okay, I’ll stop there.
The first episode of the Brady Bunch aired September 26, 1969, just two days before my 6th birthday. The series ended when I was ten and the show went into syndication almost immediately. When you think of all the hours I spent watching reruns after school, I thinks it’s safe to say I grew up with the Brady’s.
Brady Bunch Wannabe
What made The Brady Bunch so special? Everything. To a kid, like me, from a small Michigan town, in a home where tempers may flare at any second. The Brady Bunch was a big family full of love. Sure, they fought now and then, but within 30 minutes, all was right with the world. They even had a wacky maid. Their mom didn’t work, yet she still had a maid. How cool is that?
Being an extremely unhappy kid most of the time, I used my imagination a lot. One minute I’d be Captain Kirk; the next minute I’d be a forest ranger wandering the woods behind our house. I had dozens of characters I pretended to be. I didn’t realize it then, but all those times I was simply trying to get the self-talk in my head to shut the hell up.
While my imagination took me to fun and exciting places, what I truly wanted was very simple – to be a Brady
The Brady House
I remember my brother and I talking about how great the Brady house was. How especially cool was it that the modern California home was designed by the architect dad. The layout, the huge living room with the modern steps leading to the upstairs. The exterior shots of the Brady abode were of a home in Studio City, California. The producer, Sherwood Schwartz chose the house because it had a uniquely California look to it. Here’s what the place looked like during the Brady Bunch era:
I’m one who’s never given much thought to celebrities. I see celebs in grocery stores, restaurants, clubs, parties and more. I’d be interested enough to say, “Oh, look who’s over there,” but that’s always been about it. That changed when I saw the Brady House. That was the brush with greatness that left me stunned.
When I moved to L.A., the first area I lived in was Studio City. I went for a walk one day and meandered through the neighborhood when suddenly I made a dead stop. There before me was the Brady Bunch House. The fake upstairs window was gone, a fence had been built to keep out strangers, and the yard was littered with lawn ornaments, yet I spotted it immediately. It was THE house and just a short walk from where I lived. No matter how much the owners tried to disguise it, it jumped out at me immediately. For some reason I never took a photo of it, but I found a picture of it online. Here’s how it looks today:
Here’s some Brady Bunch trivia I got from IMBD:
- The boy who played Bobby, Mike Lookinland, actually had blonde hair. His hair was dyed black to match the other male cast members.
- Even though it was widely known that the show was set in the Los Angeles suburbs, the name of the specific town they lived in was never mentioned. It was never even said they were in California. The only hint they ever gave was Cindy saying she goes to Dixie Canyon Elementary School, which is an actual school in Studio City.
- The show was never a hit. In its five year run, it never reached below #34 in the Nielsen Ratings, but was kept on the air due to its young audience.
- Even though Greg dated a lot, we never actually see him kiss anyone of his dates. The only Brady kid that had a kissing scene is Bobby kissing a girl from his school named Millicent. Remember the fireworks?
This last one I can relate to:
- The show received lots of viewer fan mail, including a few letters from children asking if they could come live with the Bradys, since their own families were troubled or imperfect. Show creator Sherwood Schwartz answered those letters with a reminder that “The Brady Bunch” was only a television show, and the children would do best to make the most of their own home situations.
Did you have a desire to be a Brady, or did you have some other fantasy to take you away when you needed it?