Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Brady Bunch Hour

It was a weird idea- take the Brady Bunch and put them into a variety show. Bright, tacky and loud, variety shows were all the rage in a decade in which much of fashion was bright, tacky and loud. The idea was so weird that ABC and Paramount didn't even bother to ask show creator Sherwood Schwartz. Mr. Schwartz could have put the kibosh on the enterprise, but he knew the Brady kids really needed the money. The Brady Bunch Hour went into production.


For Sid and Marty Krofft, this would be the project that put them on the map. Well, the one that would cement their place on the map at least. Sid and Marty Krofft were known as the kings of kids TV, but they wanted to make something for families. They had spent time working on other variety shows, but this would be one created by them from the ground up. Featuring a water follies troupe called the Kroftettes, the show was supposed to be the biggest variety production ever. ABC had signed the entire family except for Eve Plumb. Contrary to popular belief, Eve did want to participate, but she didn't want to commit to five seasons of thirteen episodes apiece. Instead they recast her with Geri Reischel, who became miserable after fans of the show rejected her. The biggest surprise of all was Robert Reed's participation. He had been a thorn in Sherwood Schwartz' side for years, rewriting scripts and hassling producers about the show's hokiness. For this Variety Show, he was a model employee. He loved the music, the dancing and the theatricality.


To round out the cast, ABC brought in Rip Taylor who bizarrely served as the Bradys famous neighbor. They hosted guests like Donny and Marie, the kids from What's Happening and even Redd Foxx.


The show would go onto infamy. In a world of tacky, garish variety shows, the Bradys hosted the tackiest most garish one of them all. Before the Bradys could settle into their variety home, the show was roundly rejected by viewers. Perhaps the show was too much for even the tackiest decade to handle. It would only last half a season, but would live on in infamy.