The Brady Bunch was one of the most iconic television series of the 1970s, complete with an interesting cast of characters and storylines that perfectly reflected the ideal American family. Dealing with sibling rivalry, right versus wrong, and good ol’ family values, the show remains a testament to the golden days when things were simpler and families actually spent time together. Well, fast forward to 2016, and people still admire and watch The Brady Bunch. The theme song is known by just about everyone in the English-speaking world, and who can’t forget Jan’s signature catchphrase: “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!” We are going to take a walk down memory lane with our list of 10 Little-Known Facts About The Brady Bunch.
For instance, if you ever thought that Greg and Marcia would make the ultimate ‘one true pairing,’ then you will be delighted to learn that they actually had some real life romance on the set. Yet it didn’t have a totally happy ending. Plus, can you guess which Brady kid was sporting their natural hair color? The truth is, some of the actors had to have their hair dyed on a regular basis! And which of the Brady children was an absolutely terrible singer? You will have to read our fascinating list to find out! So put on the Brady Bunch theme song, sing along, and then sit back and relax for some awesome tidbits about one of the most revered family TV series in American history. Bring on the nostalgia!
10 It Started From a Newspaper Clipping
The creator of The Brady Bunch, Sherwood Schwartz, was inspired after reading a short newspaper clipping that described how a certain percentage of couples were bringing one or more children to their marriage. Hmm, wonder what that statistic is now? Thinking about this interesting family dynamic, Schwartz thought it would be cool to write a television series based on two people who married each other after being widowed. The catch? Both individuals already had three children each! Add the zany Alice the housekeeper to the mix, and you have the makings of an awesome TV program that would stand the test of time.
9 Hair Color was Important
Apparently, the original plan for the Brady Bunch would have included either blonde daughters and brunet sons, or vice versa. The final decision supported the former option, yet the actors who played Bobby and Cindy ended up having to periodically alter their hair colors to keep up appearances. Bobby’s hair had to be dyed darker to maintain a brunet look, while Cindy’s hair was regularly bleached to be super blonde (she later complained after losing clumps of hair and the bleaching stopped.) As for Florence Henderson, she wore a wig for Season One, as her real hair was extremely cropped for a previous acting role.
8 Cindy Really Had a Lisp
There was a memorable episode when young Cindy was teased at school for her obvious lisp. Her parents, loving as they were, tried to train her “lazy “s”” by practicing with Bobby’s book of tongue twisters. In this episode, we also learn that Carol Brady supposedly had a lisp when she was younger, too. No word on whether the real Florence Henderson did, though! As for Cindy (played by Susan Olsen,) she worked with a speech therapist until she was 19 and she later had surgery to correct her lisp. While adorable when she was the “youngest one in curls,” Susan got tired of her speech impediment.
7 Mrs. Brady Wasn’t Always Florence Henderson
Another actress, Joyce Bulifant, was all set to be Mrs. Brady in the show. In fact, the role of Jan went to Eve Plumb because she looked very similar to Bulifant, who was going to be portrayed as an I Love Lucy type of mom. When Ann B. Davis was cast as Alice the housekeeper, the cast needed a more level-headed mother, so Florence Henderson was given the role of Mrs. Brady instead. Don’t worry though, because Joyce Bulifant achieved great success of her own with her role on the Mary Tyler Moore Show. You see? Everybody wins in television!
6 Greg Brady Did Drugs
But only for a bit. The role of Greg was played by the iconic Barry Williams, and as a teenager he experimented a bit with weed. Come on, it was the 1970s and everyone was doing it! Yet one day, Barry showed up on the set stumbling and muddling his words. When the producers noticed that his speech was slurred and he was looked pretty dazed in the eyes, they knew that Barry had been doing drugs. They severely limited his appearance in the episode they were filming and gave Barry a wake-up call. It seemed to work, thank goodness.
5 Greg and Marcia Had the Hots for Each Other
As the years wore on, Greg (Barry Williams) and Marcia (Maureen McCormick) ended up spending more time together, both on and off the set. In fact, it got so obvious at one point that the director had to order the two young actors to stay further away from each other; they were supposed to be brother and sister, after all! The romance could have been a detriment to the entire show, as castmates often suffer from intimate relationships that take place on the set. If they got romantically involved and then broke up, the Brady Bunch would have been dismantled!
4 They Kept Peter Brady’s Mic Off During Songs
Christopher Knight, who played the middle son Peter, was a horrible singer. So when the kids had to perform musical numbers, his mic was always turned off. There was actually an episode in which Peter’s voice is changing, and the producers make a joke of it. Yet the poor adolescent actor wasn’t even able to fake that, and his lines had to be dubbed by producer Howard Leeds. Actor Christopher Knight still remembers how traumatic the experience was; after all, he was just a young teen. He even said that his first bout of depression was during that week (although we aren’t sure whether he was joking or not!)
3 The Kid’s Bathroom Had No Toilet
This was because it was still taboo in the 1970s to show the porcelain thrown on the air. The show’s producers didn’t even try to hide the fact that there was no toilet, either. It would have been too costly and annoying to go through the subtle camera changes and angles to pull it off. So the kids would be filmed in the bathroom (brushing their teeth or combing their hair,) and there just wouldn’t be a toilet bowl there. To be fair, the producers could have shown the tank portion of the toilet, which was for some reason okay with viewers back then. My, how things have changed.
2 Marcia Was Legit Hit in the Nose with a Football
As Peter (Christopher Knight) was trying to achieve the perfect spiral, producer Lloyd Schwartz stepped in to show him how it was done. He ended up hitting Marcia (Maureen McCormick) square in the nose on the first throw! Ouch! It must have sucked that Maureen had to relive that experience and have an entire Brady Bunch episode to commemorate it. She was always the heartbreaker of the three Brady girls, so seeing her take a football to the nose might have been sweet revenge for Jan! Fortunately, Maureen was okay in the end, but it was certainly a strange turn of events nonetheless.
1 What Happened to Tiger?
The Brady boys had a dog named Tiger as part of the family deal, but we only see Tiger for a short period of time in the series. He was a cute dog too…shaggy and long-haired, albeit a bit rough around the edges. He made a big fiasco of the wedding celebrations! It turns out that one day, Tiger was going out for a walk after filming a few scenes on set. He was hit by an oncoming car and he later passed away. The show’s producer was too heartbroken to tell the cast, so he brought in a look-a-like to replace Tiger, but the temperament was totally off.