Episode 2: Grand Canyon Or Bust

 

Hello again!  Today’s review gives us the conclusion of the Brady peril introduced in “Ghost Town, U.S.A.” and their arrival at The Grand Canyon.  “Grand Canyon Or Bust” is an episode with little substance as far as plot or story.  The ghost town dilemma is resolved quickly and the remainder of the episode is mostly the Bradys taking in the sights of The Grand Canyon while oohing and aahing over them.  I suppose that back in 1971, many viewers had never seen the Grand Canyon outside of still photos, many of which would not have been in color.  This episode gave them a chance to take in the beauty and splendor of this natural wonder and perhaps vacation there vicariously through the Bradys.  An episode like this would never make it to prime-time today.  Let’s get started reviewing “Grand Canyon Or Bust”!

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The episode begins with Carol, via a voice-over, recapping the events of “Ghost Town, U.S.A.” that saw the Bradys and Alice stranded in Cactus Creek.  Then she decides that she and Alice aren’t doing any good just sitting around and has Alice go “round up the kids”.  Were the kids still out exploring the ghost town?  Maybe they went back to the old stagecoach to finish filming “The Great Stage Coach Robbery” minus Peter.

phone

While searching for signal fire wood, Greg and Bobby enter an old structure and find a phone mounted on the wall!  Greg deduces the phone once operated on battery power and comes up with the idea to use the flashlight batteries in hopes of getting the phone to work and serve as a link to the outside world.  One can see where such deduction would be made in a dire circumstance.  Reason and logic are out the door as a logical deduction would see that no phone lines extended out of Cactus Creek and functioning flashlights might be one of the few valuable resources available; not one that should be wasted on the off chance that a phone in a ghost town might work.

pump

Carol and Cindy come across an old water pump and are hopeful that it might just produce once again.  The scene has a very poor sound quality.  Whatever the issue was, it was rectified by the time the next scene at the pump begins.

Meanwhile, Alice, Marcia and Jan try to help their cause by writing the world help in the ground.  They are hopeful that an aircraft flying over head might see it and know of their distress.  Their efforts to scratch the word on the ground are fruitless as Alice claims that over the years the sun has baked the ground harder than one of her biscuits.  Good old Alice is still cracking jokes in the face of adversity.  Marcia then struggles to recall the name of a jackhammer, but demonstrates how that tool works, and says it would be useful here.  Jan then recalls she saw an old plow down the street.  It can be used to break the ground and spell the word help.  The aforementioned segment of this scene was one I’d never seen before watching this episode on DVD.  The syndicated cuts I had seen previously began with the mule refusing to pull the plow, followed by Alice giving it a try.  One must wonder why they didn’t just find some old boards or rocks and write out help that way.

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We then return to Carol and Cindy at the pump.  What occurs is not only impractical, it is also predictable.  Despite this, it is still very funny.  It is a testament to Florence Henderson’s acting talent that this scene is still humorous.  As she and Cindy slave away at the pump handle, Carol can tell the pump is primed and about to produce.  She yells in triumph, “Good old H2O!”  Instead of “good old H2O” a huge clump of dust pours from the pump into their bucket.   Carol then sends her daughter off (by herself!) to search for wood for the signal fire.

Meanwhile, Greg has collected the flashlight batteries and taped them together.  The source of the tape is not revealed.  I know that ANYTIME I go camping, I keep a few rolls of electrical tape handy, but I don’t think that is the norm.  The taped together battery is successful is making the phone function.  Greg spins the handle and is excited that there is ringing on the other end of the line.  Meanwhile, Cindy is searching for wood and hears the phone on the other end ringing and answers.  Somehow, Greg doesn’t recognize his sister’s voice and pleads for help and says “Help us!  Please help us!  We are trapped out here in the desert in a ghost town!”  Cindy, not recognizing Greg’s voice replies, “That’s funny, so are we.”  If I had been in the director’s chair, the reveal that Cindy had answered would not have come until after Greg’s line.  I would have even tacked on Greg exclaiming, “Bobby, somebody answered!”.  Instead, we see Cindy hearing the phone ring from the street and going inside to answer it.

forgive

As the stranded Bradys prepare their signal fire, Mike, Peter and Zaccariah return!  The old prospector apologizes for giving Carol “a turn”, but states he was afraid they were looking to jump his gold claim.  He had to steal their car and go to town and stake his claim.  Mike is convinced the man meant no harm as he and Peter encountered him on his way back to Cactus Creek.  Carol says she supposes that all is forgiven.  Phew, the Brady family truly were some good hearted folks.  Old Zaccariah would have an imprint of my foot on his back side if he’d locked me and those I love most up in a cell 20 miles from civilization with no food or water.  For use of the automobile, he does give the Brady family ten percent of his claim.  With his exit, the Bradys prepare to leave Cactus Creek. Their actions as the scene closes suggest they are all getting in the car to leave.  Alice even says, “Good bye ghost town, hello Grand Canyon.”   They won’t be breaking down their camp or even lowering the pop up camper?  Also, it looks as though no camping ever occurred in Cactus Creek.  It appears they arrived, were locked up, struggled to survive and left in the course of a single day.

Like the previous episode, we are treated to some more shots of the Bradys traversing the roads of the American southwest.  This time the traveling song of choice is “My Darling Clementine”.  There is a brief break as the shot turns to Mike and Carol standing outside the car alongside the road.  Bobby emerges from the woods and the family are back on their way.  The laugh track is queued at Bobby’s urinary needs.  I grew up in the days before kids could be handed an Ipad in the back seat or have a DVD played via an overhead screen.  To think my family could travel miles and miles singing together like this is beyond laughable.  We might play the alphabet game once or maybe a round of I-Spy.  Most trips as a kid saw that plenty of Cracked magazines, comic books or a novel accompanied me and kept me occupied.  Readers, how did you and your family make long road trips more tolerable?

After it has been firmly established the Bradys have travelled some distance, we see them arrive at The Grand Canyon.  Some National Parks do charge taxpayers for entry today, but this may not have been the case in 1971.  Mike rolls up and is handed some papers by the gate attendant.  For now this woman’s identity is a mystery as she gets no mention in the closing credits.  The Bradys ride past the camping area before they finally get to take in the breathtaking views of the Grand Canyon.

As the family takes in the magnificent view, they crack some corny jokes.  Mike comments how thousands of years running water created The Grand Canyon.  Peter chimes in that he now knows why Mike doesn’t like for them to leave the faucets dripping.  Bobby jokes about how the canyon depth was determined and in response to Jan’s desire to sleep right on the canyon rim, Carol jokes that you wouldn’t want to get up on the wrong side of the bed.  Afterward, the family rides past an old railroad station and Alice cites the year it was built as 1881.  She adds she got that date from the guidebook and was not a passenger.  I never recall seeing the train station scene in this episode before watching the DVD.

In the next scene, the Bradys take in a Native American show and watch some Hopi Indians do a rain dance.  In a strange bit Carol is bobbing her head to the sounds of the tribal music.  Alice says their dance isn’t too mysterious as she would be doing the same if she were barefoot on a hot rock.  Never mind that the dancing Indians are wearing shoes….  In a very predictable bit, Greg confirms for Peter that rain dances don’t really work, they are just for the tourists; seconds later the sky opens up and rain douses the Bradys!

sunrise

The next morning the Bradys again enjoy the splendor of the canyon view and a new backwardcorny joke is cracked.  Greg states their lungs will wonder what happened to the smog.  California’s air quality will be referenced again next season when the Bradys visit Hawaii.  Here Alice learns that the trip to the canyon bottom will be made on the back of a mule.  Her comedic efforts to mount the beast of burden follow and she finds herself sitting backwards on it.  The scenes that follow are another overly long traveling montage, but not of the car, but the Brady mule train.  Yes, riding mules to the canyon bottom is neat, but the shots of the Bradys doing so go on for over a minute.  That doesn’t sound like a long time, but for a half hour sitcom, it does make for some extended viewing.  Not too long ago, I read that today these mule train trips must be reserved at least a year in advance.  Hardcore fans of the show know that the Bradys got preferred treatment at King’s Island in Season 5.  I wonder if they got pushed to the front of the line for the canyon mule train or if the wait wasn’t quite so long in 1971.

limp

At the canyon’s bottom, the Bradys make camp and Mike gives a stern warning that the kids are not to wander off; they are in the wilderness, not at a playground.  Then the toll to the mule train ride took on the adults is made known.  At first, Alice limps away as she goes to start dinner.  Then Carol goes to tend to some camp matters and is seen limping.  Finally, Mike is seen hobbling about.  During this scene we also learn the Bradys are in Yutahay(?) Flats.  I googled a few different spellings of this name but could find no links (other than those referencing this episode) that reference the place.  Readers, if you can provide more details on this location, or if it was just created for the show, please enlighten us!

The next scene finds Bobby pounding a rock on the canyon wall in search of a dinosaur fossil.  Cindy joins him as he partakes the amateur effort at paleontology.  Failing to heed the warning of their father, they begin to stray from the campsite.  Perhaps they had not gone far or maybe they had when they encounter a young Native American boy standing around watching them.  They attempt to speak to him and he takes off.  The pair give chase and soon find they can’t catch up with the boy and they also can’t find their way back to camp!

indianboy
Michele Campo as “Jimmy”

The Native American boy was played by Michele Campo.  The credits list his character’s name as Jimmy.  He will appear in the next episode as well.  I wish I could tell you we’d review the young actor more in depth then, but there is really nothing more to share.  IMDB lists only the two “Brady Bunch” episodes on his acting resume and a Google search produced nothing more.  Let’s hope he just enjoyed a happy life outside of acting after this episode.

As the sun sets over the canyon, the search for Bobby and Cindy is getting underway.  Greg reports they are nowhere to be found and Mike chides the kids who obeyed the rules, “Didn’t I tell you kids not to wander off from camp?”  Uhm, Mike, they didn’t.  That is why they are standing in front of you.

Meanwhile, Bobby and Cindy wander aimlessly about the bottom of the canyon searching for their camp.  I wonder what was on Susan Oleson’s lip during these scenes?  On a commentary for a previous episode, she noted she had a cold sore in a scene.  She looks to have a blood blister or something here.  For the search for the Bobby and Cindy, the rest of the Bradys have split into two search parties while Alice stays back at camp.

tears

Things are looking very grave for the two youngest Bradys and Cindy is in tears.  Bobby tries to comfort her.  In “Double Parked”, Bobby mentioned he is a Cub Scout.  One thing scouts are always taught is that if you get lost, you stay put!  Bobby must not have been paying attention or just ignored that.  The final shot of the episode shows the pair as a tiny speck in the vast wilderness that surrounds them.

end

With that, the second episode of the Season 3 ends with members of the Brady family in peril again.  Does anybody know if these scenes were filmed at the bottom of The Grand Canyon?  It seems like it would have been quite an undertaking to get the equipment, cast, crew and props down there.  There really isn’t much to summarize as much of the episode is just the Brady family sightseeing.  The ghost town trauma is but a memory once the Bradys are back on the road.  The ending introduces a new adventure that will carry over to the next episode.  Please join us here on Friday for the exciting conclusion of the Bradys’ Grand Canyon adventure!  In the meantime, please share your own thoughts and observations!

 

 

 

 

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Author: bradybunchreviewed

I am a lifelong fan of the Brady Bunch. I love it for it's wholesomeness, it's absurdity and how it serves as a time capsule for a time that really never existed, but so many of us wish it did. The show was off the air by the time I was born, but I enjoyed it daily at 4:35 PM for years on Atlanta's Superstation 17, TBS. Through the years I've enjoyed the Brady Bunch spinoffs (however short lived), revivals in pop culture, books, reunions, movies and spoofs. Now, I am excited to be revisiting the show after nearly a decade's hiatus from viewing. I am a parent now, so there may be some new perspectives never before experienced. I hope my fellow fans, lovers and haters alike of the Brady Bunch will join me on this blogging adventure and share your own thoughts and observations.

18 thoughts on “Episode 2: Grand Canyon Or Bust”

  1. I think that the word is “Ya-ta-hay”, but that’s just a guess on my part. Someone will probably have to see the episode’s script to know for sure.

    I think I’ve read that the scenes at the bottom of the canyon were actually filmed at Franklin Canyon park, which is where the Bradys’ camping trip scenes were also filmed. The ghost town scenes were filmed, I’ve read, on a Western set near Hollywood, perhaps the Bonanza set, so not too much of the Grand Canyon trip was actually filmed at the Grand Canyon. Maybe that’s why there was so much footage of the mule train, so there would be some extended footage from that, at least.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I would love to know what tune is being played when Alice and Carol are displaying their saddle soreness. The first tune that came to mind was “Bear Necessities” (but no, not quite). Another tune which it almost sounds like is “Accentuate The Positive” (again, close but no cigar). If we can work out the actual tune then there is a little “easter egg” of a joke waiting for us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It sounds a great deal like a song I remember all the kids singing at church as a child. The song started with “I may never march in the infantry, ride in the calvary….but I’m in the Lord’s army”. The music sounds much like the “I may never march in the infantry” portion of the song.

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      1. Well done! In future episodes I shall be paying attention to tunes being played, to try and unearth more “easter eggs”!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hello! I just stumbled across thia site a couple weeks ago, and it’s great fun. Thank you for running it. I’ve not seen the episode for 20 years (prob. closer to 30 years), but I thought it was “The Old Grey Mare (She Ain’t what She Used to Be…)”. Now I’ll have to hunt around on YouTube….

        Liked by 1 person

  3. -Great observations, Brady Bunch Reviewed! I had never noticed that the Hopi Rain Dance Indians were not barefoot, contrary to Alice’s joke. And ever since I was a kid I asked myself why Mike scolded the kids who did stay at camp – made me laugh out loud when I read your review.
    -Season 3 is the only season where the opening theme song head shots of the actors does not differ from the previous season. Speculation is that the producers thought that the kids had not changed enough to warrant filming a new opening scene and saved a few dollars in the process.
    -Should I expect that the phone that Cindy picks up should also have had batteries in order to work, just like Greg’s phone needed? Ok, I will give the benefit of a doubt here and will assume there are batteries in the second phone..maybe.
    -The Bradys wake up to their second day at Grand Canyon, and interestingly everybody is wearing the same clothes from the day before except Alice. This is un-Brady like behavior to wear the same clothes more than one day in a row, but would of course have made it much easier to edit continuity between shots filmed throughout the entire Grand Canyon filming.
    -Alice’s comments about how knowing some Indian words would be handy if she runs into Tonto is an inside joke I believe, since the actor who played Tonto in the Lone Ranger (Jay Silverheels) shows up in part 3 as Jimmy’s grandfather.

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  4. Great observations Marty! I totally missed Alice commenting on how she might run into Tonto. I pondered the same thing about the other phone having a battery that still functioned after the town had been so long abandoned. I still take issue at just how pristine that place was. Even in 1971 I can only imagine souvenir hunters would’ve taken much of the furniture and other things left behind.

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  5. Thanks, as always, for your review. I, too, have long noticed that the young female gate attendant who says hi has no credit. I always suspected that she was actually a gate attendant at the national park, and not an actress. Perhaps someone on staff found her attractive and decided to include her, since the National Park Service cooperated with the filming of this episode.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I notice that she’s wearing high heels — not very practical for an attendant. This suggested to me that she was an actress…unless she really was the attendant and they decided that she needed sprucing up.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The bottom-of-canyon scenes look nothing like the actual bottom of the canyon, but very much like the SoCal desert east of LA. It reminds me of Little House – SoCal hills look nothing like Minnesota.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I always wondered about the rail the family leans on when they’re sightseeing, as shown in the pic at the top of this page. There is easily room for a small child to fall through. I’m wondering if that’s an actual site at the Grand Canyon because it wasn’t built for safety.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for this page! I’m taking my family camping to the Grand Canyon this summer for the first time and would love to know when I’m standing in the same spots as the Bradys did while shooting there. Anyone know the names/locations of the lookouts or other spots?

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Families do that, or at least they used to. Besides, if the radio is playing, then the producers would have to pay royalties to the copyright owner of whatever song was played. But they were already paying the cast.

      Liked by 1 person

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