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The Brady Bunch is an iconic family sitcom that is still gaining fans decades after its first air date in 1969. It ran just five seasons up until 1974, but it seems to show somewhere around the world in syndication every minute of the day. It’s a phenomenon that just won’t quit, even though it’s set at a simpler time. The kind of mischief the kids got into might seem wholesome today, but the life lessons dispensed by the end of each episode still ring true. Here are some facts about the cult classic show that might surprise even the biggest fans.

1. The Show Concept Came From a Statistic

Producer Sherwood Schwartz read a statistic one day that really hit home and seemed like an important change in society. “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.” The story of a man named Brady and his lovely lady, both with three kids of their own, blossomed from there.

Brady Bunch grid

2. The Show Wasn’t Really Popular When It Was On

These days everyone knows The Brady Bunch, but when it first aired it didn’t ever crack into the Top 30 Shows of the Nielsen ratings. But since it did well enough to run for five seasons, there were sufficient episodes to go into wide syndication, and it continued to grow in popularity from that point on.

Brady Bunch first season

3. When it Came to Casting, Hair Color Mattered

When they were casting the show, they started with the kids before looking for actors to play the parents. They knew they wanted contrasting hair colors for the families, but weren’t sure which gender would be light and which would be dark. So they actually chose a set of each and waited to see which would match up with the Mike and Carol actors. So that means there are six people out there who were almost cast as the Brady children, they just ended up having the wrong hair color! They did, however, make accommodations to cast Mike Lookinland as youngest bro, Bobby. They actually dyed his natural sandy hair dark brown to match up with Greg and Peter’s hue, and straightened out his natural curls. Only during the last two seasons did they allow his true hair color to shine through.

Bobby Brady with dark hair
Bobby Brady with light hair

4. Cindy’s Lisp Was Real

The actress who played Cindy, Susan Olsen, really has a lisp so they wrote it into the show. She took speech therapy until the age of 19 and eventually had minor surgery to correct it.

Cindy Brady

5. They Initially Cast a Different Mrs. Brady

The first Mrs. Brady was to be played by the comedic actress Joyce Bulifant, but when Ann B. Davis signed on to play Alice there was too much wacky comedy going on. They then hired Florence Henderson to play a more straight maternal character instead. Joyce went on to play Murray’s wife on the Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Joyce Bulifant

6. But She Wasn’t In the First Six Episodes

When Florence got the call and the news that she had been cast in the show, she was filming a movie in Denmark. So they started shooting scenes without her and then she jumped in once she returned.

young Carol Brady

7. Carol Brady Was Maybe a Divorcee

Divorce was still taboo when The Brady Bunch aired, so while it was clear that Mike was a widower it was a little more hazy what had happened to Carol’s ex. However Sherwood Schwartz has shared multiple times that she was in fact supposed to be a divorcee.

Carol Brady

8. Love Was in the Air

Barry Williams and Maureen McCormick, who played Greg and Marcia, had their first kiss in Hawaii where the show was filming at the time. During one episode where they were sitting on a bed arguing they kept getting too close together and the director had to instruct them to keep their fists between them to force some distance. This step-sibling sexual tension was made fun of in The Brady Bunch Movie that came out in 1995.

Greg and Marcia Brady

9. There Was No Toilet in the Bathroom

There was only one bathroom in the Brady house, and it didn’t have a real toilet in it. There were some rules about showing toilets (or not) on air back then, so they figured they’d not put one in at all. Bet you never noticed!

Brady bathroom

10. Nor Was there a Sliding Glass Door

The home’s sliding glass door was shown a lot, but since real glass caused too many problems with glares while shooting, they just took it out and left the frame in.

Brady Bunch house

11. Marcia Really Got Hit With that Football

In the famous episode when Marcia gets hit in the nose, actress Maureen really felt the pain. Christopher Knight couldn’t seem to hit his target so Sherwood did it for him and got her right in the honker. Oh my nose!

Marcia Brady Oh my nose

12. Tiger Died Before Filming Was Over

Tiger the dog was actually hit by a car and killed on the lot where the show was shooting, and he had to be replaced with a similar shelter dog to finish shoots. Of course, Tiger 2.0 couldn’t follow directions so they had to do things like nail his collar to the floor. Eventually they just wrote the dog out of the show.

Tiger Brady

13. Mike Brady Almost Got Killed Off

Robert Reed, who played Mike Brady, was a respected actor and often felt the Brady Bunch material was trite and beneath him. He was supposedly so difficult that Sherman considered killing him off at once point but decided against it. We’re glad he lived, as we all needed his Brady wisdom.

Mike Brady

14. They Left Many Mistakes in the Final Cuts

When they were shooting the show, they really didn’t anticipate its popularity, so they didn’t correct a lot of shooting mistakes and continuity errors in the early years. Things like driving the wrong car or someone switching hairstyles in the middle of a scene were left in. These days it’s fun for fans to try and spot the flubs.

Brady Bunch on the stairs

15. The Show Attempted a Backdoor Pilot

During the last season of the show, they introduced another neighborhood family with the hopes that a new pilot would get picked up with them as the main characters. The family had three adopted children…all of different races. One of the kids was played by Mike Lookinland’s lookalike brother. Did they think nobody would see the resemblance? Kelly’s Kids did not, however, get the green light – although the plot of interracial adoptions has since been done several times over.

Kelly's Kids Brady Bunch spin-off

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