1/11/11 - the brady bunch

In today's excerpt - in 1966, veteran producer Sherwood Schwartz conceived of a new situation comedy. In an era of perfect families like the one found in Ozzie and Harriet, he would make a show that featured a family with children from a previous marriage. It took years and rejections from all three networks before The Brady Bunch made the airwaves:

"One morning in 1966, I was reading the Los Angeles Times and I came across something that changed my life forever. It wasn't a headline, it was just an item you sometimes see at the end of a column that's not quite long enough to fill a space.

"The item stated that, 'In the year 1965, more than 29 percent of all marriages included a child or children from a previous marriage.'

"I knew instinctively that statistic was the key to a new and unusual TV series. It was a revelation! The first blended family! His kids and her kids! Together!

"I knew I had to get my idea to the Writers Guild in a hurry to register this concept as soon as possible. I was spurred on by the sound of hoof beats in my head—other writers galloping along the same trail, trying to get to the Guild and stake a claim before I did.

"At the time, in the mid-60s, most TV families were fairly predictable with a father, a mother, their children, and sometimes a housekeeper. Shows like My Three Sons, Ozzie and Harriet, The Donna Reed Show, and Father Knows Best had all portrayed the daily life of the traditional American family with conventional plots and resolutions. There was always a major story about the children and a subplot about the parents. But times were changing, and that one little newspaper item was all it took to provide that 'Eureka!' moment that inspired me to create a new kind of TV family—a family that America was not only ready for, but maybe even needed. And I hoped that I would be the first to get the idea out there.

"So I went to the Guild and filled out the paperwork with Blanche Baker, the charming woman there who always greeted each submission with a smiling, 'Good luck.'

"I registered the idea before I even figured out any of the key details of the series, like how many children were in each of the families, or what the father did for a living, or where the families lived, or anything else about the characters or their situation. I don't think I wrote more than seven or eight pages, including several sample storylines, for my submission to the Guild. ...

"Because it wasn't about his kids and her kids, I called it 'Yours & Mine.' Eventually, it became The Brady Bunch."


Sherwood Schwartz and Lloyd J. Schwartz


Brady Brady Brady: The Complete Story of The Brady Bunch


Running Press


Copyright 2010 by Sherwood Schwartz and Lloyd J. Schwartz


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