Can you recall watching “Bewitched” on TV? Back in the golden age of television, we can assume you pressed your face against the screen, watching to see what mischief Samantha would get into next. And you definitely attempted the iconic nose-wiggle yourself!
But while the sitcom looked like a lot of fun to shoot, more than meets the eye off camera. Buckle up “Bewitched” fans because we’ve got behind-the-scenes secrets that the producers probably didn’t want to go public. And, yes, that includes the reason for the show ending…
40. Elizabeth Montgomery Wasn’t the Top Pick to Play Samantha
It’s tough to picture anyone else wiggling their nose in such an adorable way! But show producers initially had a different actress in mind for the lead role. Tammy Grimes, who was offered the role first, ended up passing on the part.
Her reasoning? Allegedly it came down to Samantha’s interests. Herbie J. Pilato, a writer and lover of classic TV shows, was interviewed by Fox News about Grimes’ issues with the character. He said that she felt that if Samantha had magical powers, why wasn’t she using them to cure global diseases?
39. Before Landing a Role on “Bewitched,” Montgomery Had Plans to Retire
You should know, though, that Montgomery almost did not take the “Bewitched” role. As Pilato shared with the British newspaper “The Daily Mail,” the actress had her eyes set on retirement from acting before the filming of the sitcom even began.
But she was eventually persuaded to reconsider by Bill Asher, the producer of “Bewitched,” who also happened to be her husband. If we are being honest, we are so relieved that he managed to change her mind and convince her to take the role.
38. The Rumors Surrounding Sargent’s Death
You may have heard various rumors about Dick Sargent – the second actor to play Darrin – including that he passed away from AIDS. But that was not the actual cause of death, according to what Pilato shared with Fox News.
Pilato reported and confirmed that Sargent was someone who happened to be gay. Still, any theory to connect his sexuality to the reason he died has been a long-running misconception. The real reason that the actor passed away in 1994 was due to prostate cancer.
37. The Show Didn’t End Due to Its Ratings
Numerous TV shows are canceled because viewers simply tune in to watch the show less frequently. “Bewitched” was not one of those sitcoms. In fact, the show had supposedly been renewed for a couple more years before they aired the final episode in 1972.
So, what was the reason behind the cancellation? Montgomery concluded that she’d had enough of wiggling her nose. The actress’ marriage with Asher was also falling apart simultaneously, which most likely made time on set with him a tough pill to swallow.
36. York Had Feelings for Montgomery
As a beautiful woman in a prominent role on a popular TV show, Elizabeth Montgomery made quite the impression. Montgomery was adored by many men, from viewers at home to people on set with her. This includes one of the other actors on the show.
Dick York was apparently deeply in love with Montgomery. However, this wasn’t a star-crossed lovers story as his feelings were not mutual. Pilato reminded reporters at Fox News that the show’s producer was Montgomery’s husband at the time of filming. The dynamic made her uncomfortable.
35. Montgomery and Moorehead Had on-Set Arguments
And there also seemed to be uncomfortable tension between Montgomery and on-screen mom Agnes Moorehead. One notable occasion was when this tenseness came to a head and became something other cast members noticed.
Montgomery made a sassy side comment about Moorehead’s not-so-lovable behavior towards her while filming the show. Then, after Moorehead sent her a mean look as a returning answer, Montgomery snapped back, “Don’t you look at me that way.” Yikes, not precisely the mother-daughter relationship we saw on film.
34. Montgomery’s Affair With the Show’s Other Producer
The evidence suggests that Asher and Montgomery did not have the most reliable marriage. The story goes that the producer cheated on Montgomery multiple times… And maybe as revenge, the “Bewitched” actress had her own affair with Richard Michaels, one of the other producers on the show.
Talk about a messy situation! Despite stemming from her own marital infidelity issues, Montgomery and Michaels actually ended up being together for two years, all while Montgomery’s marriage with Asher fell completely apart.
33. Pearce Kept Filming up Until Her Death
You certainly cannot deny that Alice Pearce was dedicated to her craft and projects that she was a part of. Pearce was battling cancer in her last years of acting, which included her time on “Bewitched,” playing the role of Gladys. She was not going to let it slow her down.
She has our admiration for several reasons. Most notably is that she was on set to film episodes of the show during the day that she passed away from her disease. But the show had to continue, and Sandra Gould replaced Pearce following her death.
32. York Required Specific Furniture on Set
Dick York was the handsome male lead of the show, with good looks and suave. But behind the scenes, York dealt with some serious health problems. York’s back issues were so extreme that he required special furniture while on set and while cameras were rolling.
There were even instances when he had to be helped by his costars to be able to move around on the “Bewitched” set. Now it makes so much more sense why York’s character, Darrin, was always lying down or sitting during his scenes on the show!
31. The Only Surviving Cast Members Are the Murphy Twins
Samantha and Darrin’s daughter Tabitha was played by not one but by two actresses! Twins Diane and Erin Murphy split the part of Tabitha while “Bewitched” was on TV. The twins were the youngest main cast members by several years, so it’s less surprising that they’ve outlasted all their costars.
That is correct. Bernard Fox sadly passed away in 2016. After losing Fox, the Murphy twins became the only living “Bewitched” regulars who are still alive to reminisce about it.
30. Montgomery’s Alter Ego Got Mail From Fans
Montgomery was pushed to her limits by pulling double duty. Not only did she star as the female lead Samantha Stephens, but she also appeared as Samantha’s energetic cousin Serena. The actress requested from producers to be listed as “Pandora Spocks” in the credits for her Serena performance.
With Pandora Spocks listed as the actress for Serena, it confused some of the viewers. Many of them genuinely believed that Serena was being played by an actress who wasn’t Montgomery. This led those dedicated fans to send fan mail addressed to Spocks!
29. Anime Inspiration
If you are a dedicated fan of anime, then you are likely to be familiar with the subgenre known as “magical girl.” But what you are less likely to know is that this specific type of Japanese animation has connections to a 1960s American sitcom.
It is hard to believe that the anime genre needed any inspiration from American television, but here we have a prime example! Confirmed, the idea of young ladies having magical powers is supposedly based on “Bewitched.”
28. It Was Heavily Influenced by Two Films
Reports make it appear as though “Bewitched” was not as original of a concept as we thought! Supposedly, the show’s concept was heavily influenced by both 1942’s “I Married a Witch” and 1958’s “Bell, Book, and Candle.”
The sitcom figured out how to avoid plagiarism because it was made by Screen Gems Studios. Studio Gems was a studio underneath the umbrella of the Columbia Pictures production company, which was the company behind the two movies.
27. Going Down in the History of Network TV
Different times call for different plotlines in television and film. It seems tough to believe now, but in the mid-1960s, couples who were separating weren’t really shown or acknowledged on American television. That is until “Bewitched” included this subplot!
Samantha’s had a lot going on internally and with her family dynamics. Her parents were separated, and when we meet Endora and Maurice, we can understand why this argumentative pair were no longer together. These characters helped the show make TV history.
26. Becoming a Millionaire Was Bewitching
“Which of these popular ’60s TV shows premiered first? ‘Get Smart,’ ‘Bewitched,’ ‘Hogan’s Heroes’ or ‘I Dream of Jeannie?'” That was the one question on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” that stood between Aussie Rob Fulton and $1 million.
One question with so much on the line – Fulton needed to take his time with this one. So, after some time contemplating his options, he eventually chose “Bewitched” as his answer. And he was correct! You should write this down in case of any upcoming trivia nights.
25. Accusations of Advocating for Devil Worship
There are few things more wholesome than the family-friendly shenanigans that took place on “Bewitched.” But with anything new, there were a few hiccups along the way. Before the series premiere aired, though, some people thought that the show was the work of Beelzebub.
Protests were organized and carried out in a number of areas along the Bible Belt. Protestors believed that the sitcom was going to celebrate worshipping of the devil and felt that it wasn’t an appropriate subject for television.
24. A Grown-up Tabitha Returned for a Video on YouTube
In 2019 Erin Murphy returned to her most well-known character in a YouTube sketch video. For one episode of the web series “TV Therapy,” the actress appeared as a grown-up version of Tabitha, who seeks therapy treatment for her special upbringing and childhood experiences.
They cover all of the bases and squeeze in plenty of show references for diehard fans. And pretty hilariously, that included a mention of her father’s changing face – an apparent reference to the switch in casting from York to Sargent to play the Darrin role.
23. A Theme Song With Lyrics
Do you recall the catchy theme song of “Bewitched” that played with the opening credits? Well, fun fact, several versions are floating around the universe and the internet! Many of these versions aren’t just instrumental; they feature lyrics written by Howard Greenfield.
Steve Lawrence and Peggy Lee are some of the musicians who sang lines such as “Bewitched, bewitched, you’ve got me in your spell/Bewitched, bewitched, you know your craft so well.” This totally changes everything, and we won’t be able to listen to the song the same way we used to.
22. Montgomery Named Her Own On-screen Daughter
For many actors and actresses in the ’60s, they were handed a script and expected to perform. They didn’t play a part in any of the creative development of the characters. “Bewitched” transcended that when Elizabeth Montgomery was given creative control of naming her character’s baby.
Montgomery was inspired by another actor, Edward Andrews. Andrews had named his two real-life kids Tabitha and Abigail, and the leading lady of “Bewitched” found herself obsessed by that first name. Montgomery explained that she loved how old-fashioned it sounded.
21. An Attempted Spin-off
Even the most dedicated fans of “Bewitched” probably forgot all about this attempted spin-off! Yep, a spin-off briefly aired on ABC in the late ’70s. It was cleverly titled “Tabitha” after Darrin and Samantha’s daughter as the spin-off focused on her adventures as a young woman in Los Angeles.
The Murphy twins did not return to reprise their role. Lisa Hartman earned the titular role, though not for long as the show was canceled after only one season. Though maybe you saw Hartman when she was on “The Masked Singer” in 2020?
20. Deceptive Twitching
Debatably the most iconic part of the show, Samantha’s nose would twitch when something magical was about to occur. But while many viewers attempted to recreate Elizabeth Montgomery’s trademark motion, they should know that it’s actually magic – special effects magic, that is.
We don’t think there are enough words to describe how disappointed this makes us! But it is the truth. In a conversation with Parade magazine, Erin Murphy – who played Samantha’s daughter Tabitha – confirmed that the nose twitch was a trick done by the camera operators.
19. Searching for Influence
Speaking of the nose twitch, credit must go where it is due, and that is with Elizabeth Montgomery herself. Another example of her creative additions to the show. The biographer Herbie Pilato said that the nose twitch was influenced by Montgomery offscreen.
In her real life, Montgomery had an involuntary movement that she’d make when she was nervous. So, director William Asher – who also happened to be Montgomery’s husband – made sure to write her tic into the character. And from there, created an iconic reference.
18. ABC Network Scheme
What was a whole scandal at the show’s heyday, Dick York left the show. The original Darrin, York left “Bewitched” due to severe back pain and an addiction to painkillers. This left the entire show in limbo and the producers with a big issue.
Would fans love the recast Darrin, Dick Sargent? Would there be an outcry for York to return despite his problems? In an effort to ensure that fans liked Sargent before he even appeared on screen, ABC’s network played reruns of every episode that York wasn’t in. Sneaky!
17. Integrating Into Hollywood Vocabulary
There were some viewers who were completely fooled by the recasting from York to Sargent. However, the more dedicated and detail-oriented viewers picked up on the differences between the two actors from the moment Sargent appeared on an episode.
Talk about this show making history; this casting swap created a new term! When they replaced York with Sargent, the switch was so obvious for viewers that they came up with a term for it. Replacing lead actors with new actors became known as the “Darrin Syndrome” in Hollywood vocabulary.
16. On-Set Tension
But while most viewers would eventually learn to love Sargent, Agnes Moorehead – who starred in the role of Endora, Samantha’s mother – just wasn’t able to or simply wouldn’t accept this new actor in the Darrin role. And that refusal to accept casting changes led to awkward moments on set.
In a conversation with Chicago Outlines, Sargent shared that his interactions with Moorehead were always tense. He reported that she had told people that the producers should never meddle with success in front of him, insinuating that he wouldn’t help the show.
15. All Comes Down to Casting
For as long as there have been entertainers, it’s been said that it all comes down to casting. It is hard to imagine such a classic show like “Bewitched” without the character of Tabitha, Darrin and Samantha’s daughter. And it’s even tougher to imagine anyone else but Erin Murphy playing the part.
There were other well-known actresses in the running for the part. In fact, the role almost went to future “Silence of the Lambs” actress Jodie Foster. Helen Hunt was also in the running to play Tabitha, as well.
14. The Man That Can Do It All
Paul Lynde first appeared on the show as silly Uncle Arthur with the intention of being a smaller background character. Arthur quickly became an adored part of the show. Though, dedicated fans will know that Lynde played more than just Arthur on the show.
The actor first appeared on “Bewitched” as an anxious driving instructor in the episode “Driving is the Only Way to Fly.” He must’ve impressed some people high up in the business because he ended up coming back in for the role of Uncle Arthur, which was a much larger part.
13. Initial Thoughts
Even if you never saw an episode of “Bewitched” – before your time, perhaps? – there is no way that you did not see the iconic opening animated sequence. That was all done by none other than the talented Hanna-Barbera. But one cast member was not a big fan.
Who was the one person who did not like it? None other than Samantha herself, Elizabeth Montgomery! Apparently, Montgomery was fully convinced that the show’s production team could have come up with something more creative.
12. Sponsored Show
And if you have not seen that animated opening, then at the very least, you’ll be able to hum the “Bewitched” theme tune. We bet you’re inclined to do it right now! And while the famous tune has now become forever connected with the sitcom, it wasn’t a completely original song.
It turns out that the upbeat track was actually a remix of a jingle used by Chevrolet for their advertisements. It makes sense when you learn that Chevy sponsored “Bewitched,” but we can’t help but speculate if subliminal messaging was at play…
11. Magical Competitors
“Bewitched” was a combination of fantasy and comedy that inspired several imitators – the most well-known was NBC’s “I Dream of Jeannie.” There were obvious similarities in storyline and characters; Jeannie shared more with “Bewitched” that only truly dedicated fans would notice.
Specifically, the two shows were filmed on sound stages so close to each other that they had the ability to actually switch sets and utilize each other’s props. The production companies must have been thrilled at the prospect of reusing already existing materials.
10. Familiar Neighborhood
“Bewitched” had something in common with an additional well-known show, as well. Eagle-eyed fans of ’60s sitcoms will be able to identify it without any issue. Can you recall the house owned by the Kravitzes – Samantha and Darrin’s nosy neighbors?
Well, it turns out you might just recognize it from “The Partridge Family.” Pick your jaw off the floor because this is true! David Cassidy and the rest of the Partridge family used to saunter through those halls day in and day out. Wish we could’ve been their neighbors!
9. Multiple Pregnancies
Elizabeth Montgomery got pregnant three times while she was starring on the show, but only two out of the three pregnancies were incorporated into the storyline of the series. Yes, while the star was actually with child in the first season, you weren’t able to tell.
The whole pregnancy was covered up on screen because the network thought it was inappropriate for Samantha and Darrin to be expecting a baby so shortly after getting married. Strange, but that was the thought process back then.
8. Wardrobe of the Stars
Working on any TV series has its perks, and starring on “Bewitched” was no different. Kasey Rogers spoke to the fan website, Bewitched.net, to explain what the wardrobe situation was like. She reported that she wore all of her own clothing on camera.
Rogers reported that the cast members would bring in their own clothes a week before shooting started, and the wardrobe team would have it all washed, pressed, and fully altered for you. Getting into acting simply to have someone else do your laundry for you? We have to be honest; we’re tempted.
7. Whimsically Wasted
Anyone who’s watched an episode of “Mad Men” will understand that attitudes to drinking in the workplace were slightly different in the ’60s than they are today. That would explain why the “Bewitched” actors drank real liquor when their characters had drinks in a scene.
In TV and movies, most scenes take multiple takes, which means that they would be sipping on a good amount of alcohol. So yes, that means there were numerous scenes that were shot while the actors were at least a bit tipsy.
6. The Magic of Doorknobs
Similar to Paul Lynde, Marion Lorne started off as a background character only to become a most beloved part of “Bewitched.” She was so loved by her fans that her performance as Aunt Clara ended up earning her an Emmy award after she had passed away.
But were you aware that Clara’s infamous weakness for collecting antique doorknobs was actually inspired by a real-life hobby of Lorne’s? She was so into it, in fact, that the star would often use doorknobs from her own personal stash as show props.
5. Not So Special Effects
Samantha’s magic may have required the show’s usage of special effects, but “Bewitched” was incredibly limited by the technology of the decade. For her spell to clean the house, as an example, producers literally stopped the recording to allow the crew to come and clean up the set.
Once the crew had finished physically cleaning everything, the cameramen would resume the recording. And what that meant for Montgomery was that she was subjected to standing in the same exact awkward pose until everything was all done and ready.
4. Important Announcement
We can all agree that “Bewitched” wasn’t exactly “Meet the Press,” politics did strangely affect its eight-year run. The first political connection was when production for the show started on the same date that John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
On top of the assassination connection, the series also aired at the same time as the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. The broadcast of the 1968 episode “I Confess” had to be interrupted by the news channels to announce the news of the civil rights leader’s death.
3. Such a Different Time
One of the series’ most unusual episodes first made it on TV screens in 1970. We’re referencing the “Sisters at Heart” episode, which was actually developed and written by minority students at Jefferson High School in Los Angeles, California.
This episode might’ve had some good intentions – dealing, as it did, with issues of race – there is little to no doubt that it would be considered extremely problematic if shown nowadays. Why? Because the characters in the episode appeared in blackface.
2. An Offer of a Lifetime
Elizabeth Montgomery rose to celebrity status because of her role on “Bewitched.” She obtained notoriety and fame from the show, though she stopped loving the role fairly quickly. Why, you might be asking yourself? As an actress, she felt that Samantha was pretty one-dimensional.
She wanted to explore other roles, ones that would challenge her more and push her craft beyond what she had done up until that point. After the fifth season of “Bewitched,” Montgomery attempted to leave and look for other projects. The only thing that brought her back to Samantha was a big pay raise.
1. The Gift That Kept on Giving
Though one of the only things keeping Montgomery involved with “Bewitched” at the end was money, she still reaped the benefits long after the show was canceled. It turned out that the actress owned a 20 percent stake in the production, so she ended up earning millions from syndication.
And all of that money after the fact really added up. By the time that Elizabeth Montgomery passed away in 1995, she was said to be worth at least a whopping $40 million.
The Brady Bunch
At the same time “Bewitched” was on television, “The Brady Bunch” was also fighting for top ratings. And behind its wholesome plots and innocent, clean-cut characters, the sitcom hid a whole host of dark and unspoken secrets – and even some scandals that had the potential to end the show.
The Bradys were known on TV as a classic American family, but now we know that everything wasn’t as sweet as it looked. We’ve compiled 60 of the juiciest show secrets – including everything from romantic flings and hair issues to casting discrepancies and therapy sessions.
60. When Art Imitates the News
Creative team members can get their inspiration from any source. When the creator of “The Brady Bunch,” Sherwood Schwartz, was reading through the Los Angeles Times newspaper one afternoon, a small feature caught his attention.
This small excerpt shared that the rate of marriages between couples who already had their own children from previous relationships had risen substantially. And at that moment, Schwartz had a light bulb moment – and from there, it was television history.
59. An Important Cast Member Missed Filming the Initial Episodes
Florence Henderson became known as “America’s Mother” when she took on the role of Carol Brady. Although Henderson appears in the first batch of episodes of “The Brady Bunch,” her scenes as Mrs. Brady were separately filmed.
This had to happen since the star was already working on a film project in Europe when she learned that the show had been given official approval and was going into production right away. As a result of this fantastic news, Henderson had to play catch-up once she had returned stateside.
58. Reed Was More Than Just a TV Dad to Cast Members
This tidbit about “The Brady Bunch” will definitely melt your hearts into puddles. Susan Olsen and Mike Lookinland, who played Cindy and Bobby, respectively, have both shared that Robert Reed was a better parent to them than their own genetically related relatives had been.
Despite spending long hours filming together, Reed made sure that those who needed him knew that he was happily involved and invested in their lives. Reed even once took all of the Brady children on a trip to the city of London, England.
57. An Alternate Universe With a Different Cindy
Many of the famous actors and actresses that we know today as household names began their successful careers as child actors. While being interviewed with several of her former costars on “Watch What Happens Live” in 2019, Olsen shared a surprise about the show’s casting process.
Olsen was the one who nabbed the role of Cindy Brady, but she certainly wasn’t the only one in the running. Supposedly, a future Oscar winner had been in the running to play Cindy Brady. It turns out that Olsen had impressively found a way to earn the role over a then-unknown Jodie Foster.
56. The Glassless Glass Doors
The Brady household is one of TV’s most well-known houses. Bradys’ home may have appeared like your average family house, but not everything about its interior was exactly as you would expect of a family home in the suburbs.
One example is the glass or lack thereof. The house had those sliding doors that opened up into the backyard. The doors, however, did not actually hold any glass. This was a strategy to make sure that the cameras were able to film without picking up any glare while shooting.
55. The Edited Episode
Back in the day, TV shows were much more regulated about what could be shown or discussed on camera. During the episode “Goodbye, Alice, Hello,” there’s a scene where Bobby and Cindy beg Alice for permission to attend a party where there will be skinny-dipping.
However, the housekeeper tells the two that she isn’t ready for any Brady child to go to an “X-rated party in their birthday suit.” And while this sentence seems pretty innocent today, the conversation is still edited out whenever the episode is re-aired.
54. The Brady Kids Wanted Better Costumes
Show creator Sherwood Schwartz seemingly wasn’t invested in “The Brady Bunch,” being the prime example of fashion. In fact, Schwartz regularly denied requests from the younger cast members to have more up-to-date styles for the wardrobe department.
What was his reasoning? Well, Schwartz was convinced that if he agreed to such demands, then the show would quickly seem old-fashioned upon syndication. We guess he didn’t think about how fashion trends always find a way to make a comeback and become popular again.
53. Show Creator Faced Legal Trouble
Despite the show’s success, “The Brady Bunch” was very close to ending up in court over allegations that the show idea had been stolen from a movie. In particular, the producers of the 1968 comedy “Yours, Mine and Ours” alleged that he had plagiarized their plotline about a blended family.
This could’ve really spelled trouble for the Brady family. Luckily for Schwartz, he managed to clear his name by using material he had written down prior to the movie in question even began filming.
52. HGTV Sponsored Renovations
In 2018 the 1,200-square foot home that had been used for the exterior of “The Brady Bunch” was placed on the housing market for almost $2 million. The house was quickly snapped up by the HGTV network, which decided to renovate the home.
It was a considerable feat to take on, redoing such an iconic and well-known TV home. But HGTV was up for the challenge! A year after having bought the house, all the Brady kids – now considered Brady adults, of course – appeared in the reality show “A Very Brady Renovation.”
51. Jeffrey Hunter Wanted the Role of Mike Brady
Best known for his acting jobs in films like “King of Kings” and “The Searchers,” Jeffrey Hunter was so set on getting to play the role of Mike Brady as casting began. He was hoping to make the transition from movies to television, and “The Brady Bunch” seemed like the perfect project to do it.
In spite of his passion for the project, ABC executives turned him down for a very complimentary reason: they thought that Hunter was just too handsome to portray the patriarch of the Brady family.
50. Only Three Cast Members Appeared in Every Episode
Ann B. Davis, Barry Williams, and Florence Henderson – in the roles of Alice, Greg, and Carol, respectively – are the only actors to be seen in every episode of “The Brady Bunch,” all 117 of them. It was close, and many of their costars were close to achieving the same feat, too.
For example, Reed was not in one episode, granted that single episode happened to be the series finale because of a behind-the-scenes conflict. The other Brady kids were also absent for part of season two because of budget limitations.
49. The Brady Bunch Children’s Band
Hoping for similar success and jump on the bandwagon of family music groups like “The Partridge Family,” the six children of “The Brady Bunch” also started a “family” band. They began their music careers while their TV show was airing.
The Brady Kids released numerous albums in the early ’70s and brought their brand of sunshine pop to cities all over the United States on tour. They even sang with the Jackson 5 for a cover of Seals and Crofts’ “Summer Breeze.”
48. On-screen Sibling Chemistry Turned Offscreen Romantic Chemistry
Viewers love to hear when on-screen love interests also have a romantic relationship offscreen but does that sentiment still relevant if they were on-screen siblings? Barry Williams and Maureen McCormick played on-screen stepsiblings Greg and Marcia Brady.
Portraying stepsiblings on-screen didn’t prevent them from getting cozy off camera. Supposedly the two first hooked up on a moonlit walk along the beach when “The Brady Bunch” was shooting in Hawaii. McCormick divulged in her memoir that their first kiss was deep, long, and full of passion.
47. Vince Vaughn Was Supposed to Be Part of a Reboot
“The Brady Bunch” ended its run in 1974, though it continued to affect pop culture well after its cancellation. In 2012 reports came out that Hollywood comedian Vince Vaughn was the executive producer of “The Brady Bunch” reboot on CBS.
The sitcom had planned to focus on the youngest son, Bobby Brady, as an adult. The concept was that Bobby was a divorcee who starts the next part of his life with a blended family of his own. Unfortunately, the reboot never got started.
46. The Interior of the Bradys’ House Was Used for Other Projects
If you ever watched the best of the action series that was on TV in the ’60s, the odds are pretty high that you may have seen the interior of the Brady family’s home on a number of other shows.
In fact, “Mannix,” “Mission: Impossible,” and “Hawaii Five-O” all were fiscally responsible and cut production costs by utilizing the same set as the iconic sitcom. And it didn’t just stop with television programs! In 1975, the horror sci-fi flick “Bug” also included scenes filmed in the house familiar to millions.
45. Reed to the Rescue
The cast of “The Brady Bunch” is in debt to Reed for rescuing them all from an untimely death. In what seemed to be a Final Destination-esque hunch, the actor wasn’t persuaded about the safety of the roller coaster in which the family was supposed to ride for the episode, “The Cincinnati Kids.”
And as it frighteningly turned out, Reed’s feeling was correct. During a test run that he had demanded, the camera rigging on the cart became detached and fell off in the direction of where a Brady would have been sitting.
44. An Actual Injury Influenced an Episode
The sitcom had numerous memorable moments, but this episode might take the cake. Have you ever been curious about what influenced the story of “The Subject Was Noses” episode? Well, it turns out that it was inspired by a real-life incident involving Maureen McCormick (Marcia Brady).
In 1973, McCormick got into a car accident, and she sustained a nose injury. After learning about the collision, the writers for “The Brady Bunch” concluded that it made for a good storyline and wrote McCormick’s accident into the episode.
43. The Brady Bunch Wasn’t the Only Option for the Series’ Name
With any media project, the importance of the title is huge and takes a lot of thought before finalizing a name. It’s tough to picture “The Brady Bunch” having any other name. Though originally, the classic sitcom had numerous other names in the running.
The other names included “Yours and Mine,” which sounds a little too similar to the 1968 comedy film. They also played around with “The Bradley Brood.” After additional time brainstorming, the producers finally agreed on its final name.
42. Guest Starring on “That ’70s Show”
Themed shows are the ultimate example of how influential shows like “The Brady Bunch” are in the entertainment industry. Take “That ’70s Show,” for instance. A prime example of meta-casting, the retro series “That ’70s Show” hired three actors from an actual ’70s show.
The creative team members were geniuses for including some “Brady Bunch” alumni! Eve Plumb (Jan Brady) starred in the first season of the series as Jackie’s mom. Christopher Knight and Barry Williams (Peter and Greg Brady, respectively) guest-starred as the Forman family’s gay neighbors.
41. Christopher Beaumont Took on Four Different Roles
Christopher Beaumont appeared in four episodes of “The Brady Bunch” over the span of two years. Impressively he was able to portray totally different characters each time he was on.
Yes, as loyal viewers may know, Beaumont appeared as The Boy in “Our Son, the Man,” Eddie in “The Wheeler-Dealer,” Hank in “A Room at the Top,” and Jerry in “Quarterback Sneak.” And the parts were not the biggest challenge for Beaumont, as they all had him playing a rude idiot.
40. The Brady’s Original Dog Was Injured
Why did Tiger rarely appear after halfway through the first season of “The Brady Bunch?” Unfortunately, the real dog was run over by a car early on in the show’s filming. The dog’s trainer attempted to replace him with a lookalike he found at a nearby pound.
But the replacement wasn’t able to follow commands as the original canine actor could. Producers eventually concluded that it wasn’t worth the effort to train another animal and only had Tiger appear on the screen when it was absolutely needed.
39. Caught by the Cops
Having actors spending so much time with each other, there are bound to be romantic advances between costars. “The Brady Bunch” featured so many adolescent actors on set that it was almost inevitable that several of the actors would get together away from the cameras.
Christopher Knight and Eve Plumb (Peter and Jan Brady, respectively) were an example of a pair who turned the heat up after cameras stopped rolling. Scandalously, the on-screen siblings were once busted by the police while hooking up in Knight’s car.
38. Mike Lookinland Struggled With Alcohol Abuse
Getting into the entertainment industry as a child has ramifications on a person’s life. Unfortunately, the youngest member of “The Brady Bunch” had a tough time coping with the pressures of childhood fame and eventually sought comfort from alcohol.
Lookinland did manage to get clean before it ended his life. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, he talked about how it started out as a decision between getting sober or continue drinking. Only when he understood that it was between life and death was he able to choose sobriety.
37. Barry Williams Took His Mom on a Date
Barry Williams admitted in his 1992 autobiography that when he was a teenager, he had developed a large crush on his on-screen mom. He even figured out a way to convince Florence Henderson – who was 20 years older than him – to go to dinner with him.
Williams explained in his book, “When those little things called hormones start kicking in, you get excited by even inanimate objects.” He claimed that it wasn’t that he wanted to sleep with Henderson; more so, he just wanted to have additional one-on-one time together.
36. Susan Olsen Wasn’t Actually a Blonde
While playing Cindy Brady, Susan Olsen was forced to bleach her hair frequently. It was all simply an effort to maintain the specific visual aesthetic of the Brady children, as all of the boys had dark hair and all the girls had blonde hair.
Olsen started these treatments at eight years old when she landed the role of Cindy. After having been doing these bleaching treatments so regularly over many years, however, Olsen ultimately started to lose her hair as it fell out in big clumps.
35. Maureen McCormick, Chronic Shoplifter
It is theorized that those who play the sweetest people on television are often vastly different from their characters. “The Brady Bunch” was no exception to this theory! One of her on-screen sisters alleges that Maureen McCormick (Marcia Brady) was a teenage troublemaker.
Olsen made claims that her former costar would get bored between scenes and would shoplift to pass the time. Covertly, McCormick would also allegedly blame the unsuspecting friend she had brought along if she ever got caught stealing something.
34. Christopher Knight Felt That His Mom Used Him
Oprah Winfrey did a series where she interviewed all of the Brady children as adults to talk through some struggles they’d encountered in adulthood. When she spoke with Knight, he shared that he felt forsaken by how his mother had thrown him into the spotlight so young.
The actor, who played Peter Brady on the show, shared, “I [was] feeling totally prostituted at that point by my mom. I think, in a way, I totally was. And by her own admission, it was [prostitution of a sort], [but] she was sorry about it.”
33. The Tragic Death of Ann B. Davis
Ann B. Davis played the family’s maid Alice and quickly became a fan favorite for her quick comebacks and comedic relief. In 2014, Davis passed away as a result of a tragic accident. She endured a subdural hematoma after a fall in which her head hit a bathtub.
Over the course of her successful career, Davis was nominated for a number of Emmy Awards. She was 88 years old at the time of the freak accident and, tragically, was unable to regain consciousness after health professionals started administering care.
32. The Creator’s Daughter Was a Guest Star
Talk about some family-friendly fun, “The Brady Bunch” was just that for Sherwood Schwartz and his child. Schwartz’s daughter Hope Juber got a lot out of her familial connection to the sitcom. Due to her father’s influence on the show, she was given the opportunity to guest star four separate times.
She originally guest-starred as a classmate of Marcia’s named Jenny in “The Slumber Caper” before returning as Greg’s romantic interest Rachel in two episodes. Juber then assumed a different role, Gretchen, in “The Hair-Brained Scheme.”
31. Susan Olsen Genuinely Spoke With a Lisp as a Child
For many characteristics of a character, the creative team gives the actors directions. For the role of Cindy Brady, that was not the case. It made Cindy appear more innocent and childlike. The actress who played the youngest, Brady, lived her younger years with a very real speech impediment.
It turns out that Olsen regularly saw a speech therapist for the issue all the way into her later teen years. After not seeing the results she desired in a shorter time frame, she made the decision to take care of it through a surgical procedure.
30. Producers Had a Different Actress in Mind to play Carol Brady
It’s tough to picture someone else other than Henderson playing Carol, the matriarch in “The Brady Bunch.” Truth be told, you might be surprised to learn that Joyce Bulifant was the first pick for the classic role due to her artful comedic timing. Obviously, this didn’t come to fruition.
When the hilarious Ann B. Davis was hired for the sitcom, the producing team realized that Carol didn’t need to be as silly. After this realization, the bigshots rewrote the character to make her more of a homely mother instead.
29. Shirley Jones Was Offered the Part of Carol
Henderson launched her career with this part, and it was not without its battles against other talented actresses. At first, the role of Carol Brady was even extended to – and then respectfully rejected by – her close friend Shirley Jones.
Luckily, this show did not affect their friendship or make anything awkward. As fans of ’60s and ’70s TV shows will know, Jones went on to have her big moment on “The Partridge Family,” a different iconic sitcom suitable for all ages.
28. Gene Hackman Almost Landed the Role of Mike
Producer Sherwood Schwartz once divulged that Gene Hackman had been one of the actors set to play Mike Brady, the patriarch of “The Brady Bunch.” Allegedly, the only reason that the future Hollywood legend didn’t get the part was due to his lack of familiarity with TV audiences at the time.
What he thought was a career loss turned out to be his gain! Hackman had quite the turnaround; only a year after “The Brady Bunch” premiered, he landed a movie role and gave an ultimately Oscar-winning performance in the classic thriller “The French Connection.”
27. Christopher Knight Couldn’t Carry a Tune
It was well-known that the Brady family would sometimes burst into random song during episodes of the sitcom. But while McCormick, Williams, and Lookinland would all sing the tunes using their own voices, Knight was made to lip-sync because he was tone-deaf.
The middle Brady boy later divulged to “The Improper Bostonian” that the singing on the show was not as fun and carefree as it appeared in the final episode cuts. He shared that, to this day, he still feels as though he had been traumatized by the show’s musical moments.
26. Mistakes Made It to the Final Version
To make sure that episodes of “The Brady Bunch” were finished on time, editors would tend to leave small mistakes in the final cut that they hoped no one would be able to notice. But since the show’s syndication, viewers have been given plenty of opportunities to catch these mistakes.
The mistakes in question include the Bradys returning home from an errand in a different car from the one that they had left in. During one noteworthy scene, Jan’s haircut appears to change completely.
25. The Show Did Fine When It Originally Aired
For those of us reading this article at this moment, there’s no doubt that we’d consider “The Brady Bunch” a classic American sitcom. The series has had a sizeable impact on pop culture, so it would make sense to assume that the show consistently brought in high TV ratings when it originally aired.
Surprisingly, that’s not what happened at all. In reality, the sitcom never managed to enter Nielsen’s Top 30 one time during its five seasons. It looks like syndication was the reason “The Brady Bunch” became regarded as iconic.
24. McCormick Actually Got Nailed by a Football
While filming one of the most iconic episodes of the entire series, McCormick took one for the team and learned that you must periodically suffer for your craft. In “The Subject Was Noses,” it was written that Marcia was going to get accidentally nailed in the face by a football thrown by Peter.
Rather than relying on camera tricks or stunt doubles, though, producer Schwartz concluded that the best way to shoot the scene was to throw the football at McCormick’s nose for real.
23. Carol Was Written as a Divorcee
Before marrying Carol and adopting her girls, Mike Brady had been married and then tragically widowed. But what about Carol’s background? Schwartz had originally written Carol as a divorcee; this would have gone against one of primetime TV’s main frowned upon topics in the late ’60s.
The sitcom, instead, chose to go in another direction and completely avoid the subject. After some seasons under her belt, Henderson jokingly built a backstory for her character and claimed that Carol had actually killed her first husband.
22. The Bathroom Didn’t Have a Toilet
The ’60s and ’70s had different rules of what could be seen or said on camera. Seeing a porcelain toilet bowl on television was a huge no-no at the time of “The Brady Bunch” premiere. This makes much more sense when you think about why there’s never a visible toilet in a bathroom meant for six children.
And while the cameras could have given viewers a look at the tank section – as this wasn’t against the rules – producers chose just to make it easier on everyone and forgo it altogether.
21. An Almost Spin-Off
Fans of the show may recall an episode from the fifth season of “The Brady Bunch,” where we were introduced to friends of the Bradys. The episode centered around their neighbors, Ken and Kathy Kelly, and their three adopted children.
Originally, this new family in the neighborhood – who included Mike Lookinland’s real-life sibling – was all set up to have their very own show after “The Brady Bunch” came to an official end. Unfortunately, though, “Kelly’s Kids” did not end up ever making it to TV sets.
20. Reed Was Purposefully Not Included in the Series Finale
Robert Reed (Mike Brady) was always fighting on set with Schwartz over the content for the show’s scripts. They argued until the very end when the star was so troubled by the sitcom’s last ever episode that he gave an ultimatum: edit it, or he would not show up to film the episode.
Schwartz tried to call his bluff to get him to stop arguing. But Reed was true to his word and didn’t show up to film that last episode, which explains the exact reason why the patriarch of the series wasn’t seen in the series finale.
19. Henderson Loved Naughty Humor
Henderson may have been in the role of the mother of all mothers on the show, but behind the scenes, she was notorious for having quite a naughty sense of humor. She was a talented actress, without a doubt, especially considering that she’d keep up the act whenever she ran into a fan in public.
Schwartz’s son Lloyd once shared with Variety magazine that whenever someone recognized and approached Henderson because of her role on “The Brady Bunch,” she was always so kind. He said that it was something he saw her do quite often.
18. Reed Was Extremely Private About His Sexuality for Most Of His Life
The crew and cast of “The Brady Bunch” knew that Reed was gay, but the star chose to keep his sexuality more private from the public for the majority of his life. And Henderson believes that her on-screen husband would have been a lot happier had he been more open about it earlier.
She shared with ABC News, “I think had Bob not been forced to live this double life… it would have dissipated a lot of that anger and frustration.”
17. Henderson Pictured Carol as a Working Woman
Carol may be one of TV’s most iconic housewives, but the character could have looked very different if Henderson had been given more creative control. Unfortunately, it sounds like the actress did not get a hand in creating the nuances of her character.
With her own experience as a working mother serving as her influence, the star pleaded with the show’s scriptwriters to make Carol more of a three-dimensional character and give her another purpose in life. In the end, though, the team refused to give in to her requests.
16. Reed Believed He Was Better Than TV
The producer of “The Brady Bunch” said that Reed considered television to be too tacky for someone with his talents. The show’s producer and creator, Schwartz, once divulged to ABC, “[Reed] wound up on a show that he didn’t want to do in the first place, and it became more and more difficult for him.”
The man who played Mike Brady definitely had the talents to do projects beyond television, as he had practiced as a Shakespearean actor for two years before landing his, debatably, most famous role.
15. The Brady Family Cat
To say that the Bradys were not the best pet owners would be an understatement. We wouldn’t criticize you for not trusting the Bradys to babysit your pet. Keep in mind, Tiger, the dog, wasn’t the sole animal to go missing early on in the series.
In the first episode of the sitcom, there is a scene where the family is seen petting a cat that they refer to as Fluffy; but after that scene though, the adorable feline was never heard of or seen on the show ever again.
14. Drawing Influence From Their Own Children
The creator of “The Brady Bunch” didn’t search too far for influences for the hit series. More often than not, Schwartz would use his own children’s experiences for plotlines – a habit he built that his daughter Hope wasn’t especially fond of.
She reported to MeTV, “I was in a unique position regarding the show, and I was going through my own teenage girl angst at the time… When things I considered private showed up on the screen, I wasn’t always happy about it.”
13. A Sisterly Joke Gone Awry
In 2007, Maureen McCormick (Marcia Brady) wrote a memoir, “Here’s the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice.” In the book, she talks about her life as a result of being on the show. One chapter includes McCormick joking about having had a fling with Eve Plumb (Jan Brady).
Her on-screen sister didn’t find it funny, so McCormick was forced to offer an apology during an interview with Digital Spy. McCormick said that she had made the remark for comedic purposes and to shock people. She felt remorse for having offended Plumb as a result.
12. McCormick Grappling With Mental Health
After “The Brady Bunch” finished, McCormick struggled with her share of personal issues. But life wasn’t always easy while she was making the hit show, either. The star wrote in her autobiography, “As a teenager, I had no idea that few people are everything they present to the outside world.
Yet there I was, hiding the reality of my life behind the unreal perfection of Marcia Brady. No one suspected the fear that gnawed at me.” McCormick serves as the perfect example of how mental health doesn’t discriminate; it affects even the most successful people.
11. Olsen Didn’t Enjoy Playing Shirley Temple
In the fifth season episode titled “The Snooperstar,” Cindy is fooled by Marcia into masquerading as Shirley Temple for a penalty because she read through her diary. And since the show has long been over, Olsen shared that she didn’t enjoy that specific storyline.
She reported to Inquisitr, “That was really embarrassing. It would have been really cute when I was seven, but when I was 12, [I was] going, ‘I feel so stupid.'” The show’s writers had trouble adjusting as the kids grew older, often using material better suited for younger actors.
10. McCormick Went on a Date With Michael Jackson
While competing on the British reality series, “I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!” in 2015, McCormick admitted that she had once gone out with a megastar. Another campmate later asked her if she liked Michael Jackson.
McCormick replied, “We used to date. We used to go roller skating in Woodland Hills [in California]. I used to go over to [the Jackson family’s] house all the time.” The actress added that she and Jackson were both teenagers when they went out.
9. Henderson’s Hairpiece
Carol Brady was regarded as an iconic character equally because of her mom-next-door attitude and her various hairstyles. Surprisingly, Henderson was made to wear a hairpiece while they filmed the first season of “The Brady Bunch.”
The reason was not because of something medical, like the actress suffering from hair loss. Instead, the hairdo she naturally had was very short. During that time, short hair like that wasn’t thought of as appropriate for the character of Carol. A hairpiece was used as a compromising solution.
8. Surfing Stunt Gone Wrong
In season four, “The Brady Bunch” famously begins with the Bradys traveling to Hawaii for a family vacation. When they are all settled in, Greg shows off his abilities on the surfboard. Sadly, though, this led to a real-life accident for Barry Williams, the guy who played the eldest Brady son.
On his personal blog, Williams shared that he had gotten pretty injured while they were filming the surfing sequence in Hawaii. His injuries consisted of deep cuts on his feet from some coral. Eagle-eyed fans can spot it when he fell headfirst from his surfboard.
7. Henderson Appeared on Knight’s VH1 show
Back in the mid-2000s, Christopher Knight (Peter Brady) hosted his own reality show, “My Fair Brady,” on VH1. During filming, the actor even happily invited his former on-screen mother to appear on the show to assist in providing some relationship advice.
Henderson was more than happy to oblige and help however she could. Henderson advised Knight to take things slow with his girlfriend at the time and “The Surreal Life” costar Adrianne Curry – words of wisdom that were not followed, as the pair were married months later.
6. Schwartz’s Unique Casting Technique
Showrunner Schwartz was initially responsible for watching auditions from 264 different child actors. He had to narrow that down to the six Brady kids. To help get that number down, he simply put a plethora of toys on his desk. What did this do?
Well, any children who were caught being preoccupied with the toys were automatically let go from the running. Schwartz believed that those children who remained focused on the audition itself had the better temperament to work in television.
5. Oliver’s Casting Put a Strain on the Cast
It’s a fair assessment that Robbie Rist’s character, Carol’s nephew Oliver, was far from being a fan favorite. And it appears that Rist – who was only a part of the show during the sitcom’s final season – was equally as unpopular with the other cast members, too.
Barry Williams wrote on his personal blog, “The writers were floundering, and [Rist] introduced a very different type of humor into our show. Also, we had been together a long time, and we didn’t really have time to adjust to a new ‘family member.'”
4. Marcia’s Cocaine Use
Many celebrities seek solace in substances; Maureen McCormack (Marcia Brady) was no different. In an effort to manage her mental health issues, McCormick started using illegal drugs, particularly cocaine.
She wrote in her memoir, “I sought refuge in seemingly glamorous cocaine dens above Hollywood. I thought I would find answers there, while in reality, I was simply running farther from myself. From there, I spiraled downward on a path of self-destruction that cost me my career and very nearly my life.”
3. The Brady Pothead
Greg Brady may have been a rule follower, but the actor who portrayed him was anything but. In his teenage years, Williams began smoking pot; for one specific episode of “The Brady Bunch,” he even showed up on set stoned.
Though he didn’t make it a habit to show up stoned, it’s safe to assume what he was doing when they weren’t filming the show. You can kind of spot it during the episode “Law and Disorder” if you pay attention to squeaky-clean Greg and his suspiciously glassy-eyed look.
2. Reed Passed Away From HIV
Mike Brady was America’s favorite sitcom dad, and his younger costars would say that he was truly part of their families. Unfortunately, Reed passed away in 1992. He was survived by his daughter, Karen, who initially issued a statement saying that the cause of his death was solely colon cancer.
The actor’s death certificate was eventually made public. When this happened, the world discovered that he had an underlying condition that had also added complications to his illness. At some point during his life, Reed had contracted and was HIV positive.
1. Another Season Had Been Planned
Although “The Brady Bunch” ultimately ended at the end of its fifth season, the producers and creative teams were ready for more seasons. They had worked on multiple viable storylines and prepared for future episodes that never came to fruition.
Had they continued for another season, Carol would have likely gotten pregnant with twins, for instance. And now, knowing that there were many years of continuous fighting between Reed and Schwartz, the character of Mike Brady would have most likely been recast, as well.