The Brady Bunch premiered back in 1969, and today it’s still considered a television classic. Although there have been countless memoirs, movies, and even a spinoff, most fans still don’t know the real drama that took place on set — like what really happened to Tiger the dog, or the reason why Robert Reed (Mike Brady) fought with producers.
In May 2017, the entire cast reunited on the TODAY show to talk about the series and how it still resonates with people. “What you have on The Brady Bunch is something you’re not going to see these days, which is a family where the parents and the kids respect each other,” said Susan Olsen, who played Cindy Brady. “Today, the formula is get the parents out of the show for the kids’ shows.”
The cast also spoke about Florence Henderson, who played Carol Brady and passed away in 2016. “Everyone she met felt better about themselves and about the world around them after having spent a moment with Florence,” Christopher Knight (Peter Brady) said. “She was a mentor, a friend. We learned from her,” added Barry Williams (Greg Brady). “We learned how to interact with the public. She was so gracious with her fans, and we all learned how to do that graciously. Mostly she loved to make people laugh. You probably know that if you’ve been in her space.”
Although it’s been almost 50 years since the show’s debut, the cast says the popularity of the series keeps them locked within their classic TV ages. “It’s as though the show keeps us young in everyone’s mind, but we’re really this old,” Knight said. Mike Lookinland (Bobby Brady) admits that they’re definitely not little kids anymore. “Our fans have grandchildren!”
Click through the gallery to see more facts you didn’t know about The Brady Bunch.
Brady Bunch Cast
Click through the gallery to see behind-the-scenes secrets about the show.
Brady Bunch Secrets
The idea for the show was inspired by a newspaper article.
“It's very rare that a writer knows exactly where his ideas come from,” series creator Sherwood Schwartz said. “However, in the case of The Brady Bunch, I know exactly what inspired that show. It was just a four-line filler piece in the Los Angeles Times. Just a statistic. It said that year, 1965, 31 percent of all marriages involved people who had a child or children from a previous marriage. It was just a statistic, but to me it indicated a remarkable sociological change in our country."
Gene Hackman Robert Reed
Gene Hackman was almost cast as the lead.
At the time, Hackman was still an unknown actor, and so producers settled for Robert Reed (Mike) because he was considered the most successful of the two.
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More than 264 kids auditioned for the roles of the Brady kids. Sherwood selected his favorites based on a unique audition trick.
"I sat on a chair across from the boy or girl I was interviewing. While I was asking the kids these general questions, my coffee table served as a sort of concentration test. I placed objects on the table directly between us that might be interesting to children. I wanted to see if they would be distracted from our discussion... I wanted children who could stay focused," Sherwood said.
Susan Olsen Mike Lookinland
Susan Olsen (Cindy) and Mike Lookinland (Bobby) had an innocent romance while on set.
"We used to make out in the doghouse when we were nine," Susan said.
Maureen Mccormick Barry Williams
Maureen McCormick (Marcia) and Barry Williams (Greg) also were in a relationship on set.
"It was our first kiss," Maureen wrote in her memoir. "It was wonderful, too, though [...] a part of me — a tiny part, admittedly — said to myself, 'Oh my God! I'm kissing my brother. What am I doing?'"
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Florence wore a wig throughout the entire first season.
She had to keep her real hair hidden since it had been cropped short for her role in an off-Broadway revival of South Pacific.
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Maureen really did take a football to the face during the iconic "Oh, my nose!" episode.
Because Christopher Knight (Peter) couldn't throw the football correctly, writer Lloyd Schwartz stepped in to throw the ball at Maureen's nose. He nailed it in one take.
Marsha Jane Brady Bunch
Maureen and Eve Plumb (Jane) didn't get along off set either.
"I think it’s kind of petty," Susan said about the feud. "From day one with [Maureen and Eve], I have always been in the middle, and now it’s at the point where there isn’t even a desire to communicate through me. It’s all really petty."
Tiger Brady Bunch
Tiger the dog was hit and killed by a car on set.
He was later replaced with a lookalike dog.
Barry Florence Brady
Barry asked out his TV mom on a date when he was 15 years old. She declined.
"It wasn't that I sought [a relationship]. I just wanted to spend time with her," he said back in 1992.
Susan Olsen Cindy Brady
Susan and Mike's hair was dyed during the first two seasons.
Sherwood revealed that he casted children that had hair that matched the parents' hair. The one exception was Susan, whose hair they dyed blonder, and Bobby, whose hair they dyed darker.
Robert Reed Brady Bunch 2
Robert was a Shakespearean actor and often clashed with producers over the direction of the show.
“He wound up on a show that he didn’t want to do in the first place, and it became more and more difficult for him," Sherwood said. “His idea of a show was based on the Encyclopedia Britanica.”