On this day in history, The Brady Bunch aired for the first time in 1969. I think I can say with assurance that I have seen every episode, and I know that for the majority of the 1970’s, when my mom put on a turtleneck sweater, I would think that she looked just like Carol Brady. The album, “Christmas with the Brady Bunch,” was released in 1970 by Paramount Records. I’m pretty sure we did not own this album, but had I been a little older, I would have requested it for certain.
The Brady Bunch, a blended family headed by parents Carol, “a lovely lady who was living with three very lovely girls,” and Mike (with three sons), lived in the Los Angeles suburbs. They had a modern house with a very cool staircase that was memorably the focal point of their living room. The Christmas tree could be over-sized and was placed next to the staircase.
The series ended in 1974 after 177 episodes, and, according to Nielsen Ratings, was never popular enough to make the top 10, but in syndication, audiences continued to watch the show. The family’s problems were simple and able to be solved in an episode’s 30 minutes–what to eat for dinner (pork chops and applesauce), braces on teeth, dating and getting a drivers’ license.
Years later in 1988, The Brady Bunch reunited for A Very Brady Christmas. The story line begins with Carol and Mike each wanting to use their savings to take the other on a trip. Greece? Japan? They decide that since they can’t decide, they will use the money to bring their children and grandchildren home for Christmas. Each of the six children has a complicated life including problems like divorce, job loss, lying and more. It’s really a depressing aftermath to the 1970’s series. In retrospect, I think Carol and Mike would have been better off agreeing on Japan. I don’t know why anyone would want to watch this, but it was the second most popular made-for-tv movie of the season.
At the end, Mike is trapped in the rubble of a building he designed (not his fault), and Carol begins singing “O Come all Ye Faithful.” Blah! Alice’s wayward husband appears as Santa, and all ends well.
I am including a YouTube clip from the movie. It’s enough to convince you that The Brady Bunch is better left in the happy past of our memories.