Much More Than a Hunch: The Brady Bunch Turns 50

“Here’s a story, of a lovely lady
who was bringing up three very lovely girls
all of them had hair of gold like their mother.
the youngest one in curls.

Here’s a story, of a man named Brady
Who was busy with three boys of his own.
They were four men living all together
yet they were all alone

Til one day when the lady met this fellow.
And they knew it was much more than a hunch,
That this group must somehow form a family,
That’s the way they became the Brady Bunch.

The Brady bunch, the Brady Bunch.
That’s the way they became the Brady Bunch.”

Fifty years ago today, pop culture was changed forever when The Brady Bunch began airing on ABC. Created by Sherwood Schwartz, who previously had success with Gilligan’s Island, the show chronicled the adventures of a blended family and their wacky maid, Alice. A simple premise to be sure, but one that was rather edgy for a time in which topics like divorce and losing a spouse weren’t really discussed on television. In fact, the series is so sanitized that there isn’t even a toilet in the bathroom shared by the kids, because realities like bodily functions were simply not addressed in prime time television of the era…at least not until All in the Family arrived a few years later.

Make no mistake, The Brady Bunch was never a great show, but it was a fun one packed with endearing performances from Florence Henderson and Robert Reed as Carol and Mike Brady, Barry Williams, Maureen McCormick, Eve Plumb, Christopher Knight, Susan Olsen, and Mike Lookinland as the kids, and Ann B. Davis as the devoted Alice. (Robbie Rist joined the series towards the end of the final season as the unfairly maligned Cousin Oliver character).

Over the course of five seasons and 117 episodes, the Bradys made viewers laugh and love along with their comedic exploits. But the show was never a huge ratings success, and it was cancelled in 1974. (Had the series gone on to a sixth season, it was rumored that Robert Reed would have been written out of the show as he grew increasingly unhappy with its writing). Once the show entered syndication, it became a TV staple that has never left the airwaves. Sequel shows, TV and theatrical movies, and reality shows (including the current A Very Brady Renovation followed), with the world never tiring of the idealized family life that The Brady Bunch offered. As we celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Bradys, we ask that you share your Brady memories in the comments. We have much more than a hunch that the Bradys will never truly go away. The same can’t be said for Tiger. Whatever happened to that dog?