Greetings once again fellow fans, family and friends. This week we review “Dough Re Mi”. If first aired on January 14th, 1972. While it is an entertaining episode, part of me still sighed when I realized what episode this was. This episode set our happy blended family on a new course that would be prevalent in the rest of the series; the producers aspired to make the kids singing stars. Personally, I liked the Brady kids as just normal suburban kids dealing with typical teenage problems. Thankfully, not every episode going forward would focus on the children’s singing careers. However, this episode marks the beginning of another phase of the series that sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t. The episode itself is fairly solid, save the ludicrous conclusion.
The story begins with Peter and Bobby seeking entry to their bedroom. Greg has locked them out. They seek entry through the bathroom and for some reason must go through the girls’ room to get there. The girls follow as Peter tries to quietly enter his bedroom. Before he can, the door slides open and Greg says, “Get lost”. Marcia asks, “Is he kidding?” In a funny moment, Greg opens the door again just to say, “No.” In his bedroom Greg studies over sheet music. Satisfied with his work he rises and exits the house. He passes through the kitchen and tells Alice and Cindy he’s “got it” and leaves. Unless he shared with Mike somehow, he let nobody else in the house know his destination.
Outside, Carol and Alice are firing up the barbecue grill. They both mention Greg’s telling nobody where he was going. The phone rings and Peter answers. It is Sam calling and he mistakes Peter for Marcia and then Jan. This scene must have been cut in syndication because it was during this viewing that I first saw it. I recalled later in the episode Alice mentions Sam calling and thinking Peter was a girl, but never seeing it happen during the episode.
Peter goes outside and offers words of comfort that if Greg fails to come home due to some major injury, the police will call. Greg then arrives home alive and well, yet bummed. He shares that he is out $1 million dollars. In a funny reply, Alice says it was easy come-easy go. Greg knows the song he just wrote will make a pile of money. However, to record his sure fire hit song, the recording studio will charge him $150. In 2017 dollars, that is around $930! Greg refers to the recording studio owner/manager as Mr. Dimsdale. Peter ponders if this is the father of a classmate.
The next scene begins with an establishing shot of the Mercola Building. A Google search of the name Mercola Buidling produced a result on the webpage http://www.iamnotastalker.com/2016/06/06/the-brady-bunch-megapost/. It appearing in this episode must have been the peak of its notoriety as the Mercola Building. It is now the Fred Hayman Building. That link has some other fun Brady references.
Peter is visiting the recording studio to plead his brother’s case and hopes to get a discount for Greg since he is a friend of the owner’s son. Greg refers to the place as the best recording studio in town. Mr. Dimsdale must offer top notch recording at low prices because he saves money on office space. The door from the hallway leads right into the studio’s control booth. There is no front office, reception area or anything of the sort. Peter’s entry interrupts a recording being done by The Five Monroes. Mr. Dimsdale is polite enough and lets Peter know that $150 is the lowest price he can offer. Peter assures him Greg’s song will result in a gold record. Mr. Dimsdale tells Peter if he wants to see a guaranteed gold record, he should just watch The Five Monroes. The Five Monroes were likely just an imitation of The Jackson 5, created for this scene. I wondered if they might have been a legitimate band making a small cameo appearance. A Google search produced only a reference to this episode. Perhaps they were a group trying to make it big back in 1972, but the guaranteed gold record never came to be.
Back at the Brady house, Greg is suggesting to a very inattentive Bobby ways he could raise the rest of the $150. In a humorous moment, Bobby replies to everything said with “Sounds great Greg” while watching a cartoon. Peter suggests to Greg that the Bradys record his song as a family. He even adds they will make three times as much as The Carpenters as there are only two of them and six Brady kids. For those who may not know, The Carpenters were/are a legit singing duo. Peter suggests that by doing this, the other kids can contribute to the recording studio fee and the recording can happen.
Greg gets clever in getting Marcia and Jan on board. One will notice here that Jan is wearing her glasses. Neither girl is interested in being part of The Brady 6. As they both tell Greg no, he suggests they said it wonderfully and asks them to each sing the word. Then he has them sing it together. He loves the sound and tells Peter it is too bad such melodious sounds will go to waste and the girls won’t be rich and famous like him and Peter. This motivates the girls to contribute all their funds to the recording effort. Cindy enters and is told to do the same. Her money is hidden in a decapitated doll.
Earlier in the episode, Greg shared he had $43.12 to his name. At that point, he was $106.88 away from recording his sure fire hit. The next scene has him pleading with Mike for $96.88. The other kids pooling their money resulted in only $10. Greg tries to offer Mike a percentage of the first million his record makes, but Mike won’t hear of it. If the kids want $96.88, it will come via an advance in their allowances. In today’s dollars, he was giving the kids a collective $600 advance in their allowances. .50 cents will be deducted from each week’s allowance until it is repaid. That adds up to a shorted allowance for the next 32 weeks for The Brady Kids. This might have been a good time for Mike to discuss with Greg that even after the record is cut, more costs await. Recording that money making tune is only the beginning. It is highly unlikely that Mr. Dimsdale is going to press copies of the record, promote and distribute it. I know little about the recording business, so maybe Southern California at the time offered these things at no cost if the production company saw promise in the recording.
The viewers finally hear Greg’s guaranteed hit as the kids rehearse it in the family room. “We Can Make The World A Whole Light Brighter” is a nice ballad that resembles many of the other popular songs of the day. This is one of two songs performed in its entirety for this episode.
The next scene has Greg paying Mr. Dimsdale for use of the studio. Mr. Dimsdale was played by John Wheeler. This was his second appearance on the show. He previously appeared as the postman in “The Tattle-Tale”. He would also appear later in The Bradys in another role. Per IMDB he has not acted since 2001 and he is still with us.
With the first conflict of the episode resolved, the second one arises in the next scene. While the kids rehearse in the family room, Peter’s voice begins cracking. Carol calls the first instance a clinker and Alice refers to the second as a clunker. Carol then realizes those noises aren’t clinkers or clunkers, but Peter’s voice changing. Here Alice references Sam’s phone call earlier in the episode where he thought Peter was a girl.
Greg tries to combat Peter’s cracking voice with steam and honey. Peter sits under a towel while warm vapors rise to his nasal passages. Carol did something similar in “The Voice of Christmas”. Readers, do any of you recall ever treating ear, nose and throat issues this way? Or do you know of anybody who still uses this remedy today?
The next scene begins with Carol being awoken by strange noise. She wakes Mike who asks if anybody in the neighborhood owns a pet coyote. That is really what came to his mind to ask when being woken up? The pair go downstairs to investigate. As they make their way toward the noise, they encounter Alice yielding a baseball bat. However, she is walking away from the noise. The three find Peter laying in the front seat of the car squelching like an injured dog. He is hoping that by making ongoing and continual noise, the changing of his voice will complete itself in time for the recording session. It’s a sound enough line of thinking for a thirteen year old boy. Alice goes back inside while Mike, Carol and Peter have the episode’s talking to in the front seat of the station wagon. Carol references her brother, who has never been mentioned before, underwent a change in his voice. Mike recalls when it happened to him. Peter is unhappy that his voice changing is letting the others down.
It is a new day and the kids are taking a vote on whether to keep Peter in the group or “dump” him. In the episode’s “dumb Cindy” moment, we learn she voted twice, thereby making the vote useless. Although, it was funny how when they realized somebody had voted twice, they all knowingly glanced Cindy’s way in irritation. The kids commence to arguing the matter again. Carol enters and they discuss the matter with her. Here, Jan presents the most reasonable and fair for everyone solution. She thinks the kids should record minus Peter but still include him on any profits the record yields. They really are dreaming big aren’t they? They’re all ready thinking about profits when the song isn’t even recorded. Marcia said that wouldn’t be fair since the group was his idea. It’s also not fair to the other kids who are also vested to have Peter foul up the recording either. Peter’s idea to form the group, speaking to Mr. Dimsdale and helping Greg convince Jan and Marcia to join shows he certainly had a talent for managing things. Peter should have been kept on in a management capacity and brought back in as a singer once his voice was finished changing. I can’t imagine this was the only song they planned to record with all their thoughts of profit and fame. Carol is of no help. She says it is a problem the kids will have to solve themselves. I can’t help but think if they let her know Peter was for certain out, then she’d be making some decisions and highly encouraging them to keep Peter in the group. She does give a strange line, sharing with them that money and fame are important, but so are people. For her to say money and fame are important just rang strange.
The decision is made to cancel the recording. The kids are on their way to let Peter know when he enters the family room. He graciously bows out of the recording. After he leaves, the kids seem unaware of what to do again. They had just decided not to record at all. Then Peter bows out, telling them while it sucks he can’t sing, he wants them to do so. There was too much time left in the episode for it to end with a normal and believable conclusion like this. Bobby again says he wants Peter to sing with them and foul things up. Greg says the song can’t be recorded with Peter’s voice changing throughout it. If Greg thought this way, why was he even hemming and hawing over Peter’s inclusion in the recording? The idea of Peter’s voice changing through the song gives Greg the idea for another hit song!
Hoy, the recording session has to be one of the most idiotic scenes of the entire series. Greg has managed to write an entirely new song titled “Time To Change” in less than 48 hours. Somehow, he also found instrumental backing for he and his siblings to record to. While this is a fun and upbeat song, possibly a hit, Peter’s cracking voice is part of the track and sounds awful. Also, how on earth were they able to know Peter’s voice would crack at the exact moment during the song when it needed to? It’s just dumb, dumb, dumb! I remember feeling this way even when I was a kid watching this episode. I can see Mr. Dimsdale stopping the recording equipment at Peter’s first delivery and saying, “Hey kids, somebody hit a sour note, let’s start over.” Greg says, “No Mr. Dimsdale, that’s part of the song.” Cindy gleefully adds, “We are letting Peter sing, even if he does sound terrible”. Mr. Dimsdale shrugs, tells the studio tech to record it and goes for coffee thinking of how he just made the easiest $150 of his career. I noticed Mike was not present to watch his children sing. I daresay Robert Reed refused to be present for this nonsense!
Dear readers, I hope you will tolerate my sharing another personal experience. Some years ago, on Christmas Eve, I was plagued with a sinus/throat infection like I’d never experienced before and like I never have since. My voice would go from a muffled hiss to a weird shriek within the same sentence. I was at least 25 at this point, so it wasn’t puberty, just some bizarre ear, nose and throat malady. While my entire family convened to celebrate the holiday my manner of speaking did not go unnoticed. At one point, I looked over at my sister, a fellow Brady Bunch fan, and said with my strange voice inflections “Sha-na-na-na”. We both laughed so hard for so long. My cheeks were hurting we laughed so much. So, while I think the previous scene was beyond dumb, it did give me a memory to cherish the rest of my days. A more recent experience came just the other day as I was watching this episode for the review and my wife, who was never really a fan of the show, passed through the room and heard Peter sing his line. She had the most quizzical look on her face and asked what I was watching. That too was funny.
The epilogue has Greg and Peter going downstairs for a snack. Greg is doing all communicating for Peter. Alice flips out at the idea that Peter has lost his voice. She is worried Peter has laryngitis because they have to record Greg’s song. This scene must have been filmed and planned to be included in the episode itself; they have all ready recorded Greg’s song. Surely “Time To Change” hasn’t sold enough copies or generated a generous enough advance that more studio time has all ready been purchased. Greg assures Alice that Peter’s not speaking is being done to preserve the group’s special sound of Peter’s changing voice.
Curiously, the closing credits give no writing credits for either song the kids performed. The Brady kids get a singing credit only for “Time To Change”. In “Where There’s Smoke”, the closing credits acknowledged the writers of “Till I Met You”.
This concludes the review of “Dough Re Mi”. Thank you for joining me! Aside from the conclusion, I found it to be a very enjoyable and fun episode. Your own thoughts are always welcome! Next week we review “Jan’s Aunt Jenny”. Have a great weekend!