Episode 14: The Teeter-Totter Caper

Hello once again readers, family and friends.  Today we review “The Teeter-Totter Caper”.  The episode aired for the first time on December 31st, 1971.  It is the first episode of the third season to focus on the two youngest Bradys.  They featured prominently in the Grand Canyon episode “The Brady Braves”, but the story was more about Jimmy the Indian boy than it was Bobby and Cindy.  While “The Teeter-Totter Caper” is a solid and believable episode, it’s not one I care much for.  However, that was true of many of the episodes centered on Bobby or Cindy.  I like their characters, just not the stories they were given.  Let’s begin our review!

opening

The episode opens with a different version of the music than I recall hearing before.  Carol and Alice are in the kitchen.  Carol is delighted that her cousin Gertrude has finally found love and will be getting married.  She says it is marvelous and Alice counters that if she herself were getting married it would be miraculous.  Poor Alice, she is ever the lonely old maid and we are so often reminded of that.  Mike enters and he must not think much of cousin Gertrude as upon learning the news of her pending nuptials says he might faint.  The wedding is a week from Sunday night.  Maybe the reception hall was cheaper on a Sunday night.  Every wedding I recall attending in my lifetime was on a Saturday.  Bobby and Cindy enter the room and learn they were not invited to the wedding.  They are disappointed despite Alice assuring them the three of them can have fun together at home.  1971 was a different time as small children are very commonplace at weddings today.  Heck, in today’s time, people’s own children are often part of the wedding party.

Upstairs Greg and Peter are working on repairing a radio.  Bobby is told he is too young to be of any assistance.  Today, if that radio wasn’t working, it would go in the trash as the cost and effort needed to repair such an electronic would exceed the value of just getting a replacement.  Outside, Marcia and Jan are painting a chair for their room.  Cindy is told she can’t help.  If her lack of painting experience caused some mistake, then they would have to start all over again.  This thing certainly is no heirloom or prized piece.  It is hard to imagine what harm Cindy could have done brushing some paint on it.

lament

Bobby and Cindy share with one another their miseries of being pre-teens.  They suggest some great accomplishments they could do to prove their value to the world.  These include stowing away on a spaceship and climbing the Alps. Check out those mangled hula hoops beside the garage.  Those things need to be trashed as they are no longer hoops!

collegeboys

They both go inside to watch Cartoon King.  This was a nice callback to the episode “The Winner” as this was the show that hosted the ice cream eating contest.  Before the show begins, Bobby and Cindy catch the end of a newscast.  The “human side” of the news is sharing how two college boys from Farrowville are out to set new record for teeter-tottering.  The record stands at 124 hours and these guys have been at it 100 hours.  The announcer ends the newscast with “Now there’s a record to shoot at.”  Whoever writes the newscasts for this station needs some coaching.  Not only is that a strange statement, the newscast also fails to mention the names of the “two college boys” on the cusp of setting a world record.  A Google search produced only one town named Farrowville and it was/is in Virginia.  The age of the documentation of Farrowville suggests it no longer exists.  There is a town called Varroville in Australia.

Before we move further friends, I have a question to pose.  Growing up, what did you and your friends call the teeter-totter?  Folks in my neck of the woods call it a see-saw.

Bobby and Cindy are inspired to break the teeter-totter record as evidence that young people can make an impact on the world.   Before we see them commence to marathon teeter-tottering, Carol and Alice discuss Carol’s leaving to buy a wedding present for Gertrude.  Carol recalls getting nine toasters when she married Mike.  Most every guest must have bought them a toaster as there weren’t too many people at their wedding!  Carol gives polite encouragement to Bobby and Cindy’s ambitions.  Mike does the same as he leaves for a morning appointment.  Alice is a tad more supportive giving them their start time as 8:03 am.  Then giving it again as 8:03 and 20 seconds later!

radioreturn

Up in the girls’ room they are trying on their dresses for the wedding.  One will notice these are the same nice duds they wore for the anniversary photo.  Greg and Peter enter with Marcia’s repaired radio.  Greg tells her the variable tuner was out of whack.  A Google search did not produce “variable tuner” as being a radio component.  It did list “A tuning capacitor is a variable capacitor used in an electronic circuit of a radio.”  If Greg was able to tweak/tune this, no wonder he was a doctor by the time the girls were married in The Brady Brides.  He has some serious know-how and skilled hands!  Of course, 1971’s radio technology may not be prevalent on Google, so that part might have been something more simple than a Google search today would suggest. The boys question the girls dressing up for a wedding that is still a week away and then mock the girls’ joy at the idea of marriage.  In a funny line, Greg says he will someday get married when he has nothing else to live for.

silverfrog

Some time has passed and Carol returns home from shopping.  She has purchased a silver frog for Gertrude.  Her brief explanation of the device did not make it clear to me bruisedwhat it was to be used for, but yet another Google search cleared it up.  Carol is surprised that Bobby and Cindy are still going for the record.  Even if they had been going more than an hour, that is pretty impressive for kids their age. Carol and Alice go outside to serve the kids lunch, but ever committed to their record, they can’t stop for any reason.  They dine on their sandwiches while teeter-tottering.  During this scene, I noticed what appears to be a bruise on Susan Olsen’s cheek.  Not only did I wonder what caused it, I also wondered why the makeup artist didn’t conceal it.

recipe

The next scene seems to be nothing but filler and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.  Alice is writing down a shopping list and then turns on the radio.  A man with an Italian accent is going to share a secret recipe for spaghetti and meatballs.  Alice decides that is what they will have for dinner.  She scrambles all around the kitchen to make certain she has all the ingredients being called out on the radio.  Why did she not write them down on that same pad she was using for the shopping list?!!  C’mon Alice, you are smarter than that!

ballast

Alice’s futile attempts at making the secret recipe are interrupted by Cindy summoning for help.  Cindy needed to visit the privy and Alice is the sit-in. Mike arrives home and discusses with Carol the kids’ motivation and determination.  In a funny line he says their minds may be ironclad, but it is the other end that is going to make them quit.

razz

In the next scene, Bobby and Cindy’s efforts are being ridiculed by Greg and Peter, while Marcia stands by with no support of her own.  Greg suggests they set up an umbrella so Bobby and Cindy won’t get wet during the rainy season.  Peter’s words are more harsh as he declares their ambition as dumb.  Bobby should have countered with, “Is the personality you settled on that of a jerk?”

reporter

Despite their siblings’ ridicule, Bobby and Cindy continue on and are recognized by the media!  A reporter and photographer arrive after having heard about Bobby and Cindy’s attempt at the teeter-totter record.  The reporter identifies himself only as Winters.  The photographer goes unnamed, but savvy viewers will recognize him as the same photographer from season two’s finale, “Tell It Like It Is”.  His mutton chops are a bit photographerlonger now.  The pictures he snapped of Carol not fully dressed must have gotten him fired from Tomorrow’s Woman magazine as he now finds himself taking photos for the Daily Chronicle.  The actor portraying him is not credited in either appearance.  Winters interviews Carol but won’t let her answer any questions as he notes her “answers” on his pad.  As the newspapermen leave, Mike and Carol finally realize why the kids are determined to break a record.  They want to feel important.  Mike and Carol are now 100% in support of their ambition.  During the conversation, it is revealed that Bobby and Cindy called the newspaper about their plans to break the record.  For some reason, I recall it being Alice who made the call.  Maybe her doing that for one of the kids was from another episode.

winters
Dick Winslow as Winters

Winters was played by Dick Winslow.  This was one of two appearances he made on The Brady Bunch.  He began appearing in front of the camera in 1924 and while never a regular, graced the set of countless TV shows.  He often portrayed a musician of some sort which was fitting as he was an accomplished musician.  He appeared in feature films as well including “King Creole”, “Airport” and “The Apple Dumpling Gang”.  His final role was in the 1988 TV movie “Fatal Judgement”.   Dick Winslow died in 1991.

Bobby and Cindy’s efforts outlast the daylight, but their energy is waning.  Both yawn as they continue teeter-tottering.  Mike and Carol sit on the patio enjoying a cup of coffee/tea and watch as the kids’ stamina fades.  They remain ever supportive and even put sweaters on them to help keep them warm.  Finally, they are taken inside for the night.  So exhausted are they that they put up no resistance and won’t even realize their attempt ended until the next morning.

newspaper2

The next morning, Peter almost seems irate that Bobby and Cindy’s efforts made the newspaper.  Unlike the television broadcast, the newspaper gives the names of the current record holders.  Mike reads the article aloud and shares their names.  Maybe this was done in case a viewer was concerned about the efforts of the guys in the earlier news story. Bobby and Cindy come downstairs bummed about not setting a new record.  Mike and Carol put things into perspective sharing that the current record holders are much older than Bobby and Cindy and therefore at their age, the accomplishment is record worthy.  With this exciting news, Gertrude calls and invites Bobby and Cindy to her wedding.  They decline and Mike shares with Jan it wasn’t about going to the wedding, it was about being excluded from the invite.  Peter summons Jan to join him in breaking a record as they can’t let two little kids beat them out.  Peter really was kind of a horse’s rear in this episode.  Mike comments about two records being broken in the same week; the second one being Gertrude finding a man after 25 years.  Alice is passing through and shares she is still in the running for that record.  The closing music in this scene sounds a great deal like “Auld Lang Syne”.

newspaper

With Bobby and Cindy’s attempt at record breaking, we get the second episode in a row with a newspaper to analyze.  Their efforts take up more newspaper real estate than stories about water rates on the rise in South City, the board head to speak and the mayor’s seeking a budget boost.  Another headline, “Firemen Praised for Heroic Deeds At Annual Dinner”, was present on the newspaper touting Peter’s heroics.  How about that?  The Bradys made the newspaper on the same date the annual firemen’s dinner story ran for multiple years! The article also gives Bobby’s age as 10 and Cindy’s as 9.

The epilogue includes two different scenes.  The first is of the Bradys coming home from the wedding.  Mike makes a really mean comment about Gertrude’s looks describing her as bald with a think scraggly moustache.  Carol’s hair is done differently and looks nice on her.  The other scene is Marcia and Jan coming home from school and talking about the wedding.  Greg and Peter make fun of them for their finding the wedding romantic.

This concludes our review of “The Teeter-Totter Caper”.  While sound in script, plot and dialogue, there is nothing especially memorable about it.  Perhaps one of our readers has different feelings and will share them via the comments section.  All thoughts, comments and observations are welcome.  Next week, we review another episode centered on Bobby, “Big Little Man”.   Have a great weekend!

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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.

23 thoughts on “Episode 14: The Teeter-Totter Caper”

  1. 1. Greg’s cynicism on marriage reminds me of a Jerry Seinfeld line: “A wedding is the joining together of a beautiful, glowing bride and some guy.”
    2. I was always of the belief that when contesting a world record, you are permitted a 5 minute break every hour, which can be saved up for eating, peeing, sleeping, etc.
    3. What would Donald Trump think of that reporter making up his own story?!
    4. Cindy’s photo in the newspaper is certainly consistent with the one that “Mutton Chops” took, but not Bobby’s — he had both hands in the air when his picture was taken.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I noticed that too about the picture of Bobby… I guess the photographer must have taken a few pictures. But if I was the editor, I would have put the “Look, no hands” picture in myself, as long as it came out good

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If they were out to set a world record, they might get a five minute break and they’d need better documentation than Alice’s wrist watch too!
        I had the same thought as Tweety, the editor decided Bobby’s no hands shot was not as good as another.

        Like

  2. This episode was never a big favorite of mine either, I like Bobby and Cindy but I agree that I didn’t much

    care for most of the stories in the episodes that featured one or both of them.

    1) Re: Sunday weddings… First wedding I was ever invited to was around 1979 or 1980. Every wedding I’ve gone to except for one has taken place on Saturday. I got married myself on Saturday (June, of course). Only one wedding was a Sunday evening wedding.

    With churches having services and Sunday School on Sundays, weddings don’t typically fit in on that day. And I’m sure Pastors are busy enough that the last thing they need is a formal event like a wedding.

    I know a few couples who did marry on Sunday, but those weddings were not held at a church. They were either at a country club or ourdoors in a park.

    2) You are right about 1971 being a very different time. I do recall my Mom and Dad going to a handful of weddings, but us kids (three of us) were never invited. And frankly, I was glad we weren’t. Saturdays were way too much fun as a kid to be ruined by having to go to a wedding.

    And with all the divorces taking place these days, kids today are certainly more involved and, as you said, are often in the wedding parties themselves.

    3) My brother (who is 4 years older than I) would tinker with the electroics of the day, such as transistor radios. He actually taught me a bit about how they actually worked. The insides would have a circuit board kind of like computers have today. I don’t know how much repair work one could actually do, but I could see how having two people could be helpful if it involved one person holding something in place while the other worked on the repair. Having three people is probably one too many, but it was a convenitent plot device here to make it look like Bobby was simply too young to help.

    4) lol, you’re so right about the chair… what’s the big deal if they let Cindy slop a little paint on it? As long as it’s all the same paint, there’s nothing she could do to ruin it.

    5) Never noticed those old hula hoops…you’re right, those have got to go! And it looks like the wagon is also still in the driveway. Who still uses a wagon in the Brady family? That stupid wagon seems to be a permanent part of the “Brady Obstacle Course” (as Mike called it.

    6) lol, “two college boys” about to set a world record, but they don’t mention names… That’s like saying “And in sports, a Yankee hit a home run today in the bottom of the ninth inning to win the game. Isn’t that every boy’s dream growing up? Now on to other news… ”

    7) I seem to recall referring to a teeter totter both ways. Maybe we called it a teeter totter and then later called it a see saw. I think stories we read usually called it a see-saw, but both terms were used. It wasn’t unusal to hear it either way.

    8) I don’t know how long wedding regestries have been in existence. I’m sure high society folks probably started the practice, and for a time it was a big city thing… but in those days, I remember wondering if people got a lot of the same gifts at weddings… I don’t know when registries became common. But obviously, Mike and Carol didn’t make use of such an idea, getting nine toasters.

    With their wedding being the second one for both Mike and Carol, and with each of them having three school-age children, I’m not sure why that many people thought they needed a toaster! Although I guess with a family that size, they could make use of several toasters at once.

    9) lol it was just like a kid to ask Alice “how long have we been at it now?” exactly 20 seconds after they asked the last time!

    10) When Mike comes home and sees the kids are still at it, he talks to Carol, who says “Do you think we ought to let them keep going?”. For cryin’ out loud Carol, they’re just on a teeter totter, and it’s in their own back yard! Can you just let the kids play??? What do you think is going to happen to them??? Geez!

    11) And yeah, Peter was certainly a jerk in this episode.

    12) The next morning, when Bobby and Cindy realize that they slept in their own beds, they are disappointed at not breaking the record. Then Mike gets and idea, and asks the kids how old the boys were that were setting the record… Bobby replies “REAL old…like in college”. I thought that was a great line, with a great delivery by Mike Lookinland

    13) If I was Bobby and Gertrude invited me to her wedding only after I appeared in the newspaper, I’d have told her where she could stick her wedding.

    14) We see a strange team up of Peter and Jan…Peter decides that the two of them need to set a world record so as not to let two little kids beat them out. Strange line. What a jerk. Did he forget how fleeting fame is (“The Hero”)? Now for one moment, his brother and sister are in the paper, and he can’t handle it?

    15) lol, newspaper picture caption… Bobby Brady (10) and Cindy Brady (9 1/2)… nine and a half?

    16) I agree, Carol looks very nice with her hair like that in the last scene. I never liked the “flip” thing she did, nor did I like the wig she wore in the first season. I always liked it just cut short with no flip to it.

    As I mentioned earlier, I agree with you that the episodes centered on Bobby and Cindy were typically not the best. Without actually tabulating anything, my gut feeling is that my favorite episodes center mostly on Peter and Jan. I like a lot of the Greg and Marcia episodes, but a lot of them center on dating, which is a very common thing for sitcoms featuring kids. But the

    epsiodes featuring Peter and Jan had a lot of memorable lines and situations that were unique to them. Stories with Bobby and Cindy complaining about being the youngest might perhaps ring true, but again, that’s a common plot line in sitcoms throughout TV history.

    For the record, I was the youngest in my family…brother was 4 years older, sister was a year older.

    Thanks again for an excellent review, so glad to have found this blog (I have Jack to thank for that as he linked to it in a Sitcomsonline thread).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Regarding Cindy’s reported age 9 1/2, I remember half-years were a big deal for me. I’d even break down my age to quarter-years.
    My niece was married on a Sunday evening, but it was not in a church. It was also out of state for most of us, so one of her other uncles had to leave a bit early since he had a 4-5 hour drive to get himself & his wife home for work the next morning.
    This was a rare episode with 2 scenes in the tag. I don’t recall any other episodes like this, but I’m sure someone else will if there was one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know what you mean, 1/2 years (as well as 3/4) were indeed a big deal to kids in those days. It was just funny to me that the newpaper reported it that way.

      Good catch, btw on the 2 scenes in the tag. It’ll be interesting to see if that was done again.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I actually like this episode.
    -Noticed the beat up hula hoops too..lol
    -You are absolutely correct that those are the same clothes kids wore in the photo episode.. pretty sure Greg and Peter suits were the same as well. They got a lot of value out of the clothes on the show… It’s very noticeable that episodes near each other use the same clothes over and over again
    -Bobby 10 and Cindy 9 1/2… At the time the actors Mike L just turned 11 and Susan O about 10 1/4… Producers obviously trying to keep them as young as possible
    -The two names mentioned for the Teeter Totter college boys..Ralph Nelson and Alan Rudolph.. is a production inside joke as you will see both names in the production credits at the end. Ralph Nelson also signed one of Marcia’s award certificates on her nightstand in the Marcia Marcia Marcia episode
    -I always called it a teeter totter (maybe because of this episode?). Didn’t have one but my school did
    -the 124-hour teeter totter record was totally made up for the show. It wasn’t until 2004 that 75 hours became the world record and I’m pretty sure it was much less than 75 before then.
    -There was one line between Mike and Alice which totally confused me and didn’t make any sense. Mike comes home and ask what’s for dinner and Alice says it depends what day it is. Can someone help me understand what I missed here? I don’t get it…
    -The reporters just barged into the Brady backyard without knocking or asking permission… I found this a bit creepy especially since one of them was
    that creepy mutton chops guy.
    -Something that has changed on network TV since this season aired is that first-run episodes today do not happen during the holidays. This episode was first broadcast on New Year’s Eve and the previous one with the photograph was first broadcast on Christmas Eve. At the very least.. today would air a repeat… But if I’m not mistaken networks back then tended to first run all first run episodes and then repeat them all starting in March or so. Today it’s more spaced out.
    -It looks to me as if the night-time house scene right before they show Bobby and Cindy falling asleep is simply a day shot of the house that’s darkened… you can even see shadows from the sun..do you agree?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I seem to recall reading or hearing one time that the so-called “nighttime” shots of the Brady home were in fact the same standard daytime shot, with the film darkened. However, I’ve never noticed (or even thought to look for) the shadows…i’ll have to check that out, that’s a GREAT catch!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Great catch on the names! I decided a few blogs ago to leave those finds to the readers, so thanks for sharing that! Interesting thoughts on episodes running on holidays. You are right in that today New Year’s Eve would certainly warrant a rerun. Thanks for commenting Marty!

      Like

  5. Re: Reporters barging into the back yard without knocking… looking at it through today’s eyes, I can understand some uneasiness about something like that…however, in 1971, I don’t think anyone would have thought of it as being creepy…

    Since the reporters were obviously there to do a story on the teeter totter, they probably saw that there were several kids in the yard and simply went directly to them. They may or may not have done that if it was just Bobby and Cindy out there, but with several obviously older kids, the reporters probably felt that they could approach the kids in the yard.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. From Wikipedia: “Vito Giusto Scotti (January 26, 1918 – June 5, 1996) was a prominent American character actor of Italian descent, who played many roles, primarily from the late 1930s to the mid-1990s on Broadway, films and later television. He was known as a man of a thousand faces, for his ability to assume so many divergent roles in more than 200 screen appearances, in a career spanning 50 years. He was known for his resourceful portrayals of various ethnic types. Born of Italian heritage, he was seen playing everything from a Mexican bandit, to a Russian doctor, to a Japanese sailor, to an Indian travel agent.” I remember him from that episode of Gilligan’s Island, where he portrayed a Japanese soldier who went in hiding and didn’t that World War II had ended.

        Also from Wikipedia: “June Lucille Foray (born June Lucille Forer; September 18, 1917 – July 26, 2017) was an American voice actress who was best known as the voice of such animated characters as Rocky the Flying Squirrel, Lucifer from Disney’s Cinderella, Cindy Lou Who, Jokey Smurf, Granny from the Warner Bros. cartoons directed by Friz Freleng, Grammi Gummi from Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears series, and Magica De Spell, among many others.” I remember her well from the Bullwinkle cartoons, where she portrayed his sidekick, Rocky.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve always called it a seesaw. One of the most fascinating things about growing up is finding out that things in your everyday life have different names depending on where you live.

    I question the newspaper’s decision to go all-in on Bobby and Cindy’s attempt on the record, and to devote so much space to it so soon. It would have been better for the paper to report on the record if they got any closer to breaking it. I also thought that Carol claiming a “junior division” record for the kids was a bit patronizing; would the paper have come back for a follow-up article to report on how the attempt turned out? Of course, if the kids did break the record, you would have to consider going about getting offical recognition. Maybe someone from the Guinness Book of World Records (or a generic one-off organization) should have come to the Bradys to ratify the new record.

    Anyway, here is documentation from Guinness regarding the actual teeter-totter record:

    http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/longest-marathon-on-a-see-saw-(teeter-totter)

    And additional trivia from IMDb:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0531150/trivia?ref_=tt_ql_2

    Like

  7. One must wonder that if Bobby and Cindy had been able to keep it up for five straight days non stop, and Mike and Carol stayed with them, that they would go for five straight days without sleep. Maybe Carol could sleep during the day, but Mike would have a tough time staying awake at work.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. If Bobby and Cindy had been able to go on for five straight days, and Mike and Carol sat on the patio watching them at night, it would seem that they would lose a lot of sleep as well. Carol might be able to sleep during the day, but Mike would probably not be able to stay awake at the office.

    Like

  9. Almost forgot about the “silver frog”… give Carol points for thinking outside the box for a wedding gift!

    The scene with Alice listening to the Italian chef on the radio and trying to get a spaghetti sauce recipe was pretty much a filler; her calling the family to dinner was the only tie-in (“Salsa Squisita a-la Alice!”).

    Peter does have a funny smart-aleck response to Jan during the wedding discussion in the girls room:
    “Well don’t you want a home and children?”
    “We already got a home, and a whole bunch of children!”

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Very funny review and comments. Still wondering what Gertrude looked like. And yeah, the fact she only invited the youngest kids after they got in the paper, I’da told her where to stick her wedding too!
    Mutton chops guy is really creepy. Probably worked for the show lol

    Liked by 1 person

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