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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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 what 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.
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!
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.
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?”
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 longer 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 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.
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”.
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!