With their white picket fence and perfectly synchronized moves, The Brady Bunch seemed like the picture-perfect family on the iconic sitcom from 1969 until 1974. However, when the show ended, this peppy TV family’s carefully hidden secrets were revealed. Here are 23 of the biggest secrets you probably didn’t know about The Brady Bunch cast.
The Search For The Perfect Children
The producer and creator of the hit show, Sherwood Schwartz, embarked on the ultimate quest to find child actors who looked so alike it would appear believable that they were related. Schwartz interviewed over 464 boys and girls until he found the perfect actors and actresses to play the roles of the Brady children.
We’re talking about divorce! It was a very taboo idea during the decade when the show aired. In fact, it was so taboo that the network didn’t approve of Schwartz making Carol’s character a divorcee. Instead, she was made a widow similar to Mike whose wife passed away. As a way to get back at the network, Carol’s ‘deceased’ husband was never mentioned throughout the series.
Kids Without Parents
Cindy and Bobby Sitting In A Dog House K-I-S-S-I-N-G
Cindy and Bobby may have played step-siblings on the show, but that didn’t get in the way of them expressing their fondness of one another. According to Susan Olsen, she and Mike Lookinland would have impromptu make-out sessions in Tiger’s doghouse when they were just nine years old!
Not In Front Of The Children!
Reed Refused To Work
Another incident in which Robert Reed refused to work was after he was approached with the idea for a scene where the characters threw pies at each other without speaking. Reed didn’t hold back and blatantly told Schwartz that the idea was “dumb,” and that they were not working in a silent film.
Dad Of The Year!
Practically A Royal
There’s a reason why Robert Reed was such a diva and difficult guy to work with after all! As it turns out, Reed was a classically-trained actor who graduated from the Royal Academy of the Dramatic Art in London. Before landing the role as Mike Brady, Reed starred in the critically-acclaimed legal drama The Defenders.
Beating The Odds
In The Closet
It’s known that Robert Reed was homosexual, but for a long time, he resented himself for it. This resentment led to mental meltdowns, fights, as well as secret and unsafe hookups with men. After contracting HIV, Reed tragically passed away in 1992 due to complications of AIDS.
Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!
Hitting The Peace Pipe
Maureen McCormick wasn’t the only Brady child to have had experimented with drugs. Barry Williams, who played Greg Brady, was also an avid drug user. Williams would even smoke marijuana while filming, sometimes arriving high to the set. There’s no denying he was hooked, and he even admitted, “It was like reefer madness.”
Baby Daddy Drama
While Florence Henderson seemed like a happy wife and mother playing Carol Brady during the show, she was really battling depression and dealing with a ‘dry’ marriage. Henderson decided to turn her life around in 1984 by divorcing her husband and has since become a well-known relationship therapist.
Cindy’s Green Thumb
Remember cute little Cindy? Well, she grew up to be a pot farmer! Susan Olsen admitted that although she and her ex-husband were pot gardeners, she didn’t like smoking it because it made her paranoid. Instead, she preferred making them into truffles and chocolate bars. Please keep in mind that this was at a time when it was illegal everywhere!
A Family Affair
There was a rumor on set that Greg Brady actor Barry Williams, who played the eldest brother, had a crush on his mother! Williams had the hots for Henderson and actually wanted to hook up with her. Florence Henderson refused William’s advances for the sake of the show and thank goodness for that!
Greg Brady Couldn’t Get To First Base
Hawaiian Holiday Hook Up
He may have missed out on an on-screen kiss, but Greg Brady and his on-set sister Maureen McCormick were secretly hooking up behind the scenes during the Hawaii episodes. Greg Brady was also the only character on the show to mention the word ‘sex.’ Williams said it during season one and in the final episode.
Straight To Bed
An Initial Flop
Surprisingly enough, The Brady Bunch wasn’t always a hit. Due to low ratings in the beginning, the show was only renewed for thirteen episodes at a time. The last season finally proved to be worth a whole season at once and has become one of the most watched American sitcoms of all time.
Pay To Park
Bring In Cousin Oliver!
As the show’s ratings continued to plummet, the network insisted that Sherwood Schwartz bring in a fresh, younger character to save the show, which was why Cousin Oliver was brought on during the last season. The term ‘Cousin Oliver’ is still used today in Hollywood to refer to a character that is brought on to save a failing show.
They Don’t Fart!
Tiger Leaves But The House Stays
It was a sad day for The Brady Bunch when Tiger, the beloved family dog, was killed in a tragic car accident. A replacement pooch was never brought on the cast, but the doghouse remained in the yard for the entire series. It covered up a burn spot on the AstroTurf caused by a studio light that had fallen.
No Episode For Carole
Mr. Ditmeyer’s Big Appearance
Anyone who has grown up in the suburbs knows how important neighbors can be. The Brady’s neighbors, the Ditmeyer family, lived next door to the Brady’s, but Mr. Ditmeyer only appeared in one episode. What’s even more, is that Mr. Ditmeyer’s appearance lasted a mere five seconds. If you blinked, then you probably missed him.
Before the famous movie studios created The Brady Bunch, Paramount Studios was exclusively a movie studio. The release of the series not only changed the studio but the industry as a whole in more ways than one. As a side note, Sherwood Schwartz is also responsible for creating Gilligan’s Island for CBS.
Glass Free Doors
Keeping It Real
When it comes to any TV set, authenticity is key. The clubhouse that is seen on the property was actually built by the boys that played the Brady kids. This was done purposefully to boost the authenticity of the show’s set. We wonder if the girls also pitched in making the signs?
Kids do grow up fast, and in the case of the Brady kids they had a long time away from the camera to develop – a year to be exact! From the pilot episode to the second episode, the kids looked like they had practically grown overnight. This is because a full year had passed between the shooting of the two episodes.
The Brady Brood
One Day When A Lady Met A Fellow…
When the show’s theme song was recorded for the first season professionals, singers were hired to sing the opener. However, things changed in the second season and the child actors got to sing the theme song themselves. The lyrics were also changed from the third person to the second person in order for it all to make sense. Sherwood Schwartz can be given all the credit for writing the catchy theme song, too.
The First Mike Brady
Zip Codes And Phone Number?
Any avid Brady Bunch fan would remember that the Brady address as 4222 Clinton Way and their phone number was 762-0799. Although everyone knew the family lived in California, the show never mentioned an exact city.
Things Change Including Houses
Game Of Concentration
And we’re not talking about the hand clapping game! Part of the interview process included a test by Schwartz to see if the children would be able to concentrate on set. During the interview, Schwartz would put toys on his desk, and if the children focused on him instead of the toys, it was a sign that they would also be able to focus while filming.
We All Love Lucy!
It was very important to the show for the Brady Bunch family to look cohesive. Many don’t know that Mike Lookinland’s hair was actually blonde before shooting. He had to dye his hair to match the cast’s hair color. Later on, in the reunion shows, Bobby was back to his natural blonde hair.
Barry Williams, who played the role of Greg Brady, actually did his own surfing in season four when the family went to Hawaii. In one of the scenes, Greg really did hurt himself after wiping out near some rocks. He injured himself causing filming to be postponed until he was healed.
Practice Makes Perfect
Carol Didn’t Want To Be A Stay At Home Mom
During the entire run of the series, Florence Henderson begged producers to allow her character, Carol Brady, to be able to get out in the workforce, as it was more in line with who she was in real life. Ultimately the producers kept Carol Brady unemployed, but she frequently participated in volunteer work and charity fundraising.
Ray Of Hope
Bring Back Fluffy
In the pilot episode, The Brady Bunch: The Honeymoon, the Brady girls had an orange cat named Fluffy. Unfortunately, Fluffy has never seen again after that episode and was instead replaced by Tiger, the dog. Heartbreaking, we know.
Brown Eyed Boy
Christopher Knight, who played Peter, is the only Brady Bunch cast member who had brown eyes. He didn’t seem to mind much, though, as he was known to get along well with all his cast mates.
The name of Cindy’s favorite doll on the show was Kitty Karry-All. Cindy loved the doll so much the two were literally attached at the hip! There was nowhere she went without her trusty companion.
Braces For All
In the show, Robert Reed’s name was Mike Brady, and Mike Lookinland’s name was Robert Brady. Their stage names were a play on words of their names in real life and flip-flopped for the series.