Excerpt: 'Brady, Brady, Brady'


That completed our six kids in The Brady Bunch: Maureen McCormick (Marcia), Eve Plumb (Jan), Susan Olsen (Cindy), Barry Williams (Greg), Christopher Knight (Peter), and Mike Lookinland (Bobby). The casting god must have smiled on me since they turned out to be wonderful choices, each and every one. They were talented, bright, and never gave us any real problems during the series. Many producers on other shows where there are children, have major problems with one or more of their kids. I was spared that difficulty.

Undoubtedly, that was because of my son, Lloyd, who started out as the kids' dialogue coach and would become the show's producer. He had been a camp counselor and he was great with kids. Throughout the series, he was on Paramount's Stage Five with them all day, every day.

With Lloyd in charge on the set, I was free to spend my time with writers and my script consultant, and in the editing rooms. That freedom allowed me to okay ideas and outlines for episodes, and to do final drafts to go to the actors and all the personnel.

Fortunately, we didn't have any difficulties with the kids' parents either. They were always on or near Stage Five in the event of some kind of emergency. The parents stayed pretty much by themselves, and all of them got along very well with each other.

With all due respect for the talents of the show's main adult actors—Florence Henderson (Mrs. Brady), Bob Reed (Mr. Brady), and Ann B. Davis (Alice)—I was sure young viewers would be drawn to the series because they would identify with kids their own age. Besides, everyone remembers his or her own childhood, so adults would watch the show as well. But in the race for ratings, I felt those kids would make it or break it.

Now that I've given gold stars to all the kids, and their parents, I must also give one to Mrs. Whitfield. Frances Whitfield was the daily on-site teacher of all six Brady kids. I don't think we could have survived without her special abilities. She had to teach some kids at the grammar school level, and the other kids at the middle school level.

Mrs. Whitfield was determined that the Brady kids in her care would learn even more than they would have in regular classes in public schools. She gave them tests, hung their drawings and poems on the studio's schoolroom walls, and encouraged each of them to learn their school work as well as their scripts. In addition, the State of California is very strict with rules governing youngsters in entertainment, with stringent regulations about how long kids can remain on the set, or in front of cameras and lights. Mrs. Whitfield never violated any of the state rules and regulations. She stayed strictly within those rules and, at the same time, she helped us finish the day's work on schedule.

Most people think of the Brady kids running up and down the Brady stairs all the time. That's what the viewers think they saw. Actually, that didn't happen very often. The six were usually only together as a group in one or two scenes in each episode. Mrs. Whitfield had her stopwatch on each of the kids checking screen time, adding up the minutes for each child separately.

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