Saturday, November 14, 2009

Blog Book Review: The Brady Bunch: Super Groovy After All These Years!

We interrupt our regular weekly Saturday Blog DVD Review to bring you a special Book Review. Today we take a look at The Brady Bunch: Super Groovy After All These Years! by author Mike Pingel. The book includes new interviews with actors, Ann B. Davis, Susan Olsen, Robbie Rist, Geri Reischl and producers, Sherwood Schwartz, Lloyd Schwartz, plus so much more. See my Blog Book Review of The Brady Bunch: Super Groovy After All These Years!:

The Brady Bunch: Super Groovy After All These Years!

The Brady Bunch: Super Groovy After All These Years! (BearManor Media, $19.95)

It was 40 years ago when The Brady Bunch family hit the airwaves and is still being shown all around the world today. The Brady Bunch was the story of a widow with three girls who married a widower with three boys, who lived under one roof and solved life's problems within 24 minutes! Author Mike Pingel's new book shares the history, fun facts, full episode guide and interviews with actors, Ann B. Davis, Susan Olsen, Robbie Rist, Geri Reischl and producers, Sherwood Schwartz, Lloyd Schwartz, plus so much more. Brady Bunch fan Charlene Tilton (Dallas) has penned the foreword.

The book opens with A Very Brady History Lesson. This chapter provides information on how Sherwood Schwartz came up with the idea of the show, how the show was cast, highlights from various seasons and the release of the Brady Kids albums, filming at the Paramount Studios lot, the friendships between the cast members, and the end of the show and later spin-off series and reunion specials. There's a good general history of the show, but I've seen more detailed information in previous Brady Bunch books. Various "groovy tips" are sprinkled throughout the book where we learn which Brady kid was the only one to have brown eyes, that First Lady Michele Obama is an avid fan of the show and the Brady kids and Liberace did the limbo on The Mike Douglas Show on June 13, 1973. Groovy indeed!

Next up is a Brady Chat with creator Sherwood Schwartz. He talks about casting Florence Henderson and Robert Reed, about the fights he had with Reed and how Reed had no sense of humor and how the Brady kids were cast. We also learn how Tiger the dog was killed and why Robert Reed refused to act in the final episode of the show. He then shares his favorite episode and memory of the show.

Chapter Two deals with The Brady Actors and includes interviews with some of the cast and crew. This section provides brief bios of the cast members and some of their recent projects. Again, the information isn't incredibly detailed and you won't find a listing of all their credits. Links are provided to the cast member's official websites where you can find more information on them.

Susan Olsen is interviewed talks about many different subjects, including her hairstyles on the show, her relationship with Mike Lookinland, her favorite outfit and favorite/most hated episode, her favorite guest star, working with Robert and Florence and the Schwartz family, why she didn't return for A Very Brady Christmas and her current/future projects.

Ann B. Davis is the next cast member to be be interviewed. She discusses how she was cast in the show, her favorite episode and crazy kid moments, meeting Henry Kissinger, working with Allan Melvin (Sam), working on The Bradys and The Bob Cummings Show and what she most remembers about the show.

The next member of the Schwartz family to be interviewed is Lloyd Schwartz. This is the most comprehensive interview in the book with some detailed responses. He talks about the origins of the show, the typical film week, working with his family, what was behind the Robert Reed fights, his favorite guest star/episode, the Brady Musical, the kids dating and his future projects. I'm surprised how critical the Schwartz family is of Robert Reed, but I guess they are entitled to their opinion.

A short section provides some information on books that were written by the cast, including Growing Up Brady (Barry Williams), Here's the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice (Maureen McCormick), Love to Love You Bradys: The Bizarre Story of The Brady Bunch Variety Hour (Susan Olsen) and Alice's Brady Bunch Cookbook (Ann B. Davis).

Chapter four is titled Brady's Reincarnated. "Fake Jan", Geri Reischl, is interviewed. She talks about how she was cast in The Brady Bunch Hour, her favorite episode, working with the cast, the "Fake Jan" phenomenon, the typical filming day, her favorite guest star and memory, and funny stories from the set. It's cool how she is proud of being called "Fake Jan."

The spin-offs, tv reunion movies/specials and feature films are covered with some short summaries and original airdates. Zach Bostrom, who played Kevin Brady in A Very Brady Christmas, is the next person interviewed. He discusses his favorite memory, working with Barry, funny incidents on the set and why he didn't return on The Bradys.

Hope Juber, daughter of Sherwood Schwartz, is next to chat. She appeared in several episodes as various characters. She talks about working on the show, filming The Slumber Caper episode, working on A Very Brady Musical and her favorite incarnation of the Bradys.

The Brady Effects details some of the references in pop culture and on other shows. This includes the Day by Day episode, Brady Bunch vs. Partridge Family Saturday Night Live skit and references on Family Guy and The Simpsons. It seemed a little unnecessary to mention some adult movies, but I guess this book could be rated PG or PG-13 for some of the content.

Chapter Five is Why We Love The Bradys. This section talks about the opening theme, the hair & clothing, the family cars, the Brady Home and links to some groovy websites. Wendy Winans, creator of the excellent Brady World, is interviewed. She is asked about the the number one question fans write in about the show, how she became a fan of the show and created her website, and her favorite episode.

The Very Brady Characters are profiled in Chapter Six. This section provides details on the characters pulled from the episodes. Honorary Bradys Alan Melvin (Sam the Butcher) and Robbie Rist (Cousin Oliver Martin) are listed as well. The replacement Brady Girls and extended Brady tree are noted. Robbie Rist is interviewed and chats about how he landed the gig on the show, the "Cousin Oliver Syndrome", working with the cast and fun stories from the set, and what he is doing today.

Chapter Seven is titled The Brady Stories. This is an episode guide and is the largest section of the book. Episode titles, writing/directing credits, original airdates and short summaries are provided. While the summaries aren't as detailed as some of the previous Brady Bunch books, there are some cool tips, tidbits of trivia about the episodes, and notes on the cast and guest stars included. This would be a pretty good reference for answering trivia questions. There is also a section on various Brady Bunch toys and records and a very short interview with Steve Sandberg who produced new Brady dolls for ClassicTVToys.com .

Final Comments: Overall, I liked the book and it would be a worthy addition to your Brady Bunch library. It's organized nicely and researched well. There are about 15 or so black and white photos scattered throughout the book. It wasn't as detailed as some of the previous books published over the years on the series. Other books have provided more detailed information on the history of the show and behind-the-scenes details on the cast, but this book has a nice mix of all things Brady. The most interesting sections were the interviews with the cast and crew. Some unique questions were asked and it was interesting reading their responses. The book probably could have benefited from even more interviews with the cast. The author is pictured with other cast members who weren't interviewed, so it's a bit surprising they weren't asked any questions. As a fan of The Brady Bunch for over 30 years, I can never have enough information on the show and cast and I recommend you pick up this groovy book for the 40th anniversary of the show.

Reviewed by Todd Fuller
(3.5/5 stars)

To purchase this book, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

Related links:
The Official Mike Pingel Website
Brady World
Love to Love You Bradys: the bizarre story of The Brady Bunch Variety Hour


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, February 25

Young Sheldon - "Crappy Frozen Ice Cream and an Organ Grinder's Monkey" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Sheldon and George Sr. dine with President Hagemeyer (Wendie Malick) and a university benefactor. Also, Georgie gives Missy some brotherly advice when Mary won’t let her go to the school dance, and Dale and June (Reba McEntire) convince Meemaw to attend their son’s wedding.

B Positive - "B Negative" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Drew and Gina start thinking about their futures after Jerry (David Anthony Higgins) gets a surprise call that he’s receiving a new kidney.

Mom - "Whip-Its and Emotionally Attuned Babies" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Bonnie has success creating a line of mocktails for Adam’s bar. Also, Jill finds herself attracted to Bonnie’s therapist, Trevor (Rainn Wilson).

The Unicorn - "In Memory Of..." (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Natalie realizes that her memories of her mom are starting to fade when Michelle and Delia have a memorial to honor Wade’s wife. Also, Forrest and Ben get competitive when their kids enter a fundraising contest at school.

Call Me Kat - "First Date" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Kat deals with nerves over her first date with Oscar; Randi tries to figure out the perfect anniversary gift for Daniel.

Last Man Standing - "Grill in the Mist" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
In the wake of the pandemic, Mike and Kristin are forced to make some tough business decisions involving Outdoor Man; Jen helps Mandy get organized.

Mr. Mayor - "#Palmtreereform" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Neil's plan to save the city money on palm tree maintenance meets unexpected resistance; Tommy and Mikaela don't believe Jayden when he announces he's going to be a father.

Young Rock - "Depositions" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
With Carol's lawyer at Cloud 9 to depose the employees, Jonah tries to ease Glenn's nerves; Mateo enlists Sandra's help hiding the details of his work arrangement while Dina grows concerned about Garrett's behavior at customer service.

grown-ish - "Know Yourself" (Freeform, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Vivek has a new experience with Heidi; Aaron and Doug struggle to adjust their views on sexuality and masculinity; Nomi and her new baby, Luna, return to Cal U; Junior shows up to fight for Sky.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 22)

Thursday, February 25

  • Steve Harvey (The Steve Harvey Show) - Catch Steve on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Regina King (227/Leap of Faith) - Regina appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • David Spade (Rules of Engagement/8 Simple Rules/Just Shoot Me!) - David is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Jodie Foster (Paper Moon/Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice) - Jodie will be on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS. She also talks about The Mauritanian on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat) - Randall appears on A Little Late with Lilly Singh at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Kevin James (The Crew/Kevin Can Wait/The King of Queens) - Kevin is a guest on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Soleil Moon Frye (Punky Brewster/Sabrina, the Teenage Witch) - Soleil will be on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Michael Chiklis (Daddio) - Michael talks about the crime drama series Coyote on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Jane Fonda (Grace and Frankie) - Jane is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Nick Jonas (Jonas) - Nick talks about the new season of The Voice on E!'s Daily Pop at 11am.
  • Tia Mowry (Family Reunion/Instant Mom/The Game/Sister, Sister) - Tia talks about how she is taking charge of her health in 2021 on E!'s Daily Pop at 11am.
  • Maureen McCormick (The Brady Bunch/The Brady Brides) - Maureen talks about life as a Brady and how she is coping during the pandemic on The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (October-February)

The Flintstones - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Head of the Class - The Complete Second Season The Office - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Schitt's Creek - The Complete Collection Betty White's Pet Set - The Complete Series

10/13 - The Jetsons - The Complete Series (Diamond Collection)
10/13 - Our Cartoon President - Season Two
10/23 - Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em - The Complete Collection
10/27 - The Flintstones - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
10/27 - Head of the Class - The Complete Second Season (WBShop.com)
11/10 - Letterkenny - Seasons 5 & 6
11/10 - The Office - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
11/10 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Collection
11/17 - Carol's Second Act - The Complete Series
11/17 - Robbie - Season 1
11/24 - Corporate - Season 1
11/26 - Man with a Plan - Season Four
12/01 - The Neighborhood - Season Two
12/15 - Avenue 5 - The Complete First Season
01/22 - Corporate - Season 2
01/22 - Corporate - Season 3
02/02 - Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In - The Complete Series (2021 Retail Release)
02/23 - Betty White's Pet Set - The Complete Series

More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

02/25 - Frasier Revival Coming to Paramount+, While Final Season of Younger to Premiere on Paramount+; The CW Spring 2021 Schedule
02/24 - TBS Comedy Chad Launches April 6; Netflix Drama Raising Dion Adds to Cast
02/23 - Norman Lear Sets Two Series for IMDb TV; Nick Jonas to Pull Double Duty on SNL This Saturday
02/22 - Jamie Foxx Returns with Multi-Camera Sitcom; Mythic Quest Season 2 Launches in May
02/21 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 22, 2021)
02/20 - SitcomsOnline Digest: South Park Plans Second Pandemic Special; Mom Coming to an End After Eight Seasons
02/19 - Fri-Yay: Young Rock Delivers Promise for Sitcom Ratings; The Moodys Returns April 1 on Fox Replacing Call Me Kat
02/18 - CBS Renews 2 Comedies, Cancels Mom and Drama NCIS: New Orleans; Peacock Bulks Up on Original Series
02/17 - Punky Brewster Gets WWE Stars; DuckTales to End with 90-Minute Series Finale
02/16 - NBC Midseason Pilot Review: Young Rock - Premieres Tonight (Feb. 16); TBS Version of Wipeout Premieres April 1
02/15 - Netflix Sitcom The Crew Starring Kevin James Launches; Sex and the City Now Remastered on HBO Max
02/14 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 15, 2021)
02/13 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Brooklyn Nine-Nine Coming to an End; Chappelle's Show Returns to Netflix
02/12 - Fri-Yay: Brooklyn Nine-Nine Ending After 8 Seasons; HBO Max Orders Comedy from Issa Rae
02/11 - HBO Max Orders Animated Comedies; Peacock Reunites The Best Man Franchise Into Limited Series
02/10 - NBC Sets March 25 for Superstore Finale; Search Party Renewed for 5th Season
02/09 - COZI TV's The Office Valentine's Day Marathon; HBO Max's Jean Smart Comedy Announces Casting
02/08 - The Jetsons Coming to the MeTV Network; Lana Condor to Star in Netflix Comedy Series
02/07 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 8, 2021)
02/06 - SitcomsOnline Digest: More Guest Hosts Lined Up for Jeopardy; Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman Reboot?
02/05 - Fri-Yay: Has the Sitcom Revival Bubble Finally Burst?; NBC Announces Rest of Spring 2021 Schedule
02/04 - 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Nominees; The CW Renews 12 Dramas for 2021-22
02/03 - New Sitcom Joining AMC Network's Streaming Service; Antenna TV Valentine's Day Marathon and Birthday Celebration Continues
02/02 - New Sonic Series Coming to Netflix; Remembering Dustin Diamond, Hal Holbrook and Sitcom Producer Allan Burns
02/01 - Report: Antenna TV Launching New Secondary Companion Network; Season Premiere of New Amsterdam Premieres March 2 on NBC
01/31 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 1, 2021)
01/30 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Reboots in the Works for The Wonder Years and Kate & Allie; Saturday Night Live Finally Sees Ratings Success After 46 Years
01/29 - Fri-Yay: We Need to Be More Patient with New Sitcoms; Norman Lear to Receive The Carol Burnett Award at The Golden Globe Awards
01/28 - No Foolin' New CBS Comedy Premieres April 1; Remembering the Legendary Cloris Leachman
01/27 - Modern Family Heading to Hulu and Peacock for Streaming; NBC Schedules New Drama on Mondays
01/26 - ABC Midseason - Spring 2021 Schedule; NBC Renews Weakest Link for 2nd Season
01/25 - New Walker, Texas Ranger Scores Big for The CW; Remembering Gregory Sierra of Sanford and Son and Barney Miller, Broadcasting Legend Larry King