Episode 14: Father of the Year

Hello again!  I hope you have all had a good week.  Today, we review “Father of the Year”.  It originally aired on January 2nd, 1970.  Folks, we have entered the 1970s now, the decade that would become synonymous with The Brady Bunch.  Despite being in the new decade, this episode still as the 1950s sitcom feel to it.  So let us see if Mike is deemed top-pop by the local newspaper in our review of “Father of the Year”.


The episode starts with Mike leaving for an evening business meeting and Carol brings him his notes for the speech he will be giving that night.  Just as he is heading out the door, Marcia enters needing help with homework.  Carol offers to help, but is turned down as she is apparently no good at math.  Mike tries to delay his own assistance until early the next morning, the most logical and convenient solution, but Marcia guilts him into helping her that night.  Why Marcia couldn’t wait until then is not made clear, but Mike decides to arrive late at his business meeting and help Marcia that night.  At least he didn’t just blow it off entirely like he did for the bicycle shop.  I also recall in “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” where Alice was chomping at the bit to help Greg with his math homework and he turned her down so Carol could help.


In the next scene, Marcia is finishing up her homework in the family room when Carol enters.  Marcia praises Mike for keeping all those important men waiting so he could help her with her homework.  She thanks Carol for marrying such a fine man.  She then volunteers to toss out some newspapers Carol was gathering for the trash.  Marcia scans the headlines and flips over the newspaper’s front page to see the notice that paper’s annual Father of the Year contest is underway.  She rips out the notice from the front page.


One thing the wonder of DVDs and DVR has afforded us is the pause button.  One thing I often find myself doing when a newspaper or other listing is shown on TV is pausing on the shot and scanning the surrounding information.  Upon doing this for this shot, it was revealed that the rest of the father of the year contest announcement concerned itself with building codes.  The surrounding articles are complete sentences, but not in any kind of order.  One day while watching another TV favorite, King of the Hill, I paused on a shot of the phone book.  The other visible listing on the page of the phonebook listed the address as Trivial Knowledge Blvd.

The episode continues with Cindy waking from her slumber and noticing Marcia not in bed.  She wakes up Jan and they both commence to searching for Marcia.  In the kitchen, Alice and Carol are working on laundry when Jan and Cindy enter.  One must wonder why they didn’t just tell Carol and Alice that Marcia was missing from her bed.  Instead, Jan creates a ruse of needing a glass of water and looking in the family room for the heck of it.  It seems Carol and Alice would have been more suspicious than they were.   Carol does question Jan’s prompt abandonment of her glass of water, but allows the girls to leave without further questioning.  Jan and Cindy find the door to Mike’s den cracked and the lights on.  Upon discovering Marcia writing a letter, they question her actions.  In a callback to “Vote For Brady”, Jan asks if Marcia is writing a letter to Felix Brown.  Felix Brown was mentioned in “Vote For Brady”; he was the kid Greg’s campaign manager wanted to start a rumor that  Marcia was seen at the movies with.

Back in the kitchen, Mike comes home and touts the success of his speech.  So successful was this speech that Mike has been asked to deliver it again to the CIA.    As any person would, Alice assumes he means the Central Intelligence Agency.  Mike says the CIA he will be addressing is the Creative Institute of Architects.  I bet Robert Reed cringed at having to deliver this line as a sensible person would have said Creative Institute of Architects instead of CIA to begin with and avoid such confusion.  A joke from Alice or Carol about the Creative Institute of Architects being the CIA seems more fitting.  As I typed this out, I questioned what kind of organization is the Creative Institute of Architects?  Is this a school just for creative architects?  Well, whoever they are, Mike is proud to be speaking to them and goes to store his notes for safekeeping.


Upon entering his den, Mike finds the girls screaming and laughing as the nature of Marcia’s letter is being sought.  How he, Carol and Alice didn’t hear this commotion in the kitchen remains a mystery.  Once caught, Jan and Cindy are sent back to bed.  Marcia is in some serious trouble for being up past bedtime and hanging out in Mike’s den.  Jan and Cindy get off scot-free  However, Mike reminds Marcia that they have a saying around their house: a wise man forgets his anger, before he lays down to sleep.  Just as Mike is forgetting his anger, he is reminded of it when he spills a bottle of correction fluid on his drafting table.  To prevent it from spilling on the carpet, he uses his speech notes to stop messthe flow of the spill.  He repeats the saying, but has trouble believing it this time around.   While it will later be stated the notes were ruined, it looked to me that only a card and half were lost.  I guess if Marcia could bawl over two sheets of notebook paper being trashed in “Vote For Brady”, Mike can be chapped over a notecard and a half.

The next morning, Marcia visits Mike as he prepares for work and feels horrible about the spill in the office from the night before.  Mike is very forgiving saying he can write an even better speech and those weren’t the only set of courtblueprints he had.  After telling her all is well and asking her to smile for him, he does a complete about face in his demeanor and tells her it’s punishing time.  It was a strange exchange between the two of them.  In a mock court session, Marcia pleads guilty and is sentenced to an afternoon’s hard labor that will include extra chores.  Marcia says “Thanks judge, you’re outta sight” and he tells her she is late for school.

That afternoon, Mike comes home and finds at least one of the chores assigned to Marcia was not completed, only to find another one undone as Jan walks through with a wastebasket full of papers.  Jan questions “Marcia who?” when Mike states that was another of Marcia’s extra chores.  Was Jan just voluntarily emptying wastebaskets that afternoon?  Greg comes downstairs and asking about Marcia’s whereabouts.  He states she was supposed to have fed Tiger two hours before and knows she did not because Tiger was chewing on one of his shoes.  Was the dog so starved that he was eating shoe leather?


The next scene begins with Marcia in her room working on her essay for the contest.  Why did Greg walk all the way downstairs in search of Marcia before checking one of the most obvious places in the house?  Mike enters and questions why the extra chores were left undone.  Marcia claims she was working on something, but can’t tell him what it was.

Mike’s jacket looks to be made of patched together sandpaper.

For shucking off the extra chores, she is grounded for an entire week.  There will be no playground or friends’ houses after school.  As he leaves the room, Marcia wads up the essay and trashes it.   He’s no longer her candidate for father of the year!

Marcia remembered her anger after she laid down to sleep, but chose to forget it once in bed.  She gets out of bed and retrieves the trashed essay.  She adds a line about how with her dad, the punishment fits the crime.  She prepares the letter for mailing and notices the deadline to mail them is almost due!  The entire essay is contained on one sheet of paper.  Even if she used both the front and back to complete it, that took her over two hours?  We know she had started it the night before and spent an entire afternoon working on it instead of doing chores.  Each word must have been labored over intensely!  Much like I do with this blog.


Down in the family room, Mike is ignoring Carol as he reads the paper.  She is discussing the longevity of the boys’ clothing and questions if there isn’t a thing they can’t wear out.  Mike answers with “Snow!” to which Carol answers  that boys can and it becomes slush.  After this weak attempt at humor, Mike explains he just saw in the newspaper that there will be snow in the mountains that weekend.  A ski trip is planned and it is agreed that Marcia’s grounding can be suspended to allow her to join the family.


Just as Marcia is catching another break, she is blowing it at the same time.  She has climbed down the trellis in order to sneak out and mail the letter.  A later season would

The fourth wall!

have seen her crawling and down the trellis and sneaking past the window as Mike and Carol discuss the suspension of her sentence.  That would have been a funny scene.  Instead, we see Mike and Carol checking on all the kids.  We get our first glimpse of the fourth wall of the boys’ room.  Upon checking on the girls, Mike and Carol discover Marcia missing.  Just as they start to worry, she comes climbing in the window.   Sneaking out the window is a serious infraction that costs Marcia her suspended sentence.

The next scene reveals that Marcia’s outlaw ways have paid off.  Hamilton Samuels, publisher of the Daily Chronicle, declares Marcia’s essay to be one of the three finalists for the contest.  In the wide shot of the office, Marcia’s essay still appears crumpled, but in the close up of Mr. Samuels, it’s flat and smooth.  Mr. Samuels and Mr. Fields discuss the challenges surrounding the year’s selection.

Hamilton Samuels was played by Oliver McGowan.  While he had a long and busy career, his longest recurring role was that of Harvey Welk on a short lived western program titled “Empire” that began in 1962.  He also played a doctor in a number of one-off roles through the years.  His final role was on “My Three Sons”.  He died in 1971.  Mr. Fields (who is only identified by this name in the credits) was played by Bob Golden.  He played several bit parts through the years, usually as a policeman.  His final role was a noncredited part in Clint Eastwood’s “Every Which Way But Loose”.  He died in 1979.

In the next scene, Marcia punishes herself by watching all her siblings and Alice have a great time down in the yard.  A ramp covered in hay is the training ground for Alice’s ski lesson.  Peter states they built it so Alice could practice.  That’s a lot of cost and effort just so Alice can practice skiing down a short ramp.  Alice is all about the lesson as she has donned skiing attire, to include the stocking cap, for backyard practice.   The comedic montage of Alice’s practice ends with her falling on her rear and commenting how the snow has splinters.  The joke is just too much for Marcia who flops on the bed in tears as the scene ends.

In the kitchen, Marcia’s punishment is discussed again by Mike and Carol who enjoy a cup of coffee at the table.  Mike suggests that Marcia be allowed to go, but Carol states that cheerwould not be fair to all the other kids who did not break the rules.  Upstairs, Jan and Cindy enter the bedroom and try to cheer Marcia up.  Jan has given strict orders that the ski trip not be mentioned, but Cindy fouls this up in no time.  Jan asks Cindy who has the biggest mouth next to her and the answer is “nobody.”  This was the episode’s laugh out loud moment for me.

The next scene opens with Marcia reading the paper and noticing that the winner of the Father of the Year contest will be announced soon.  This gave another opportunity to view the paper.  Again, the Father of the Year Contest article abruptly changes into one about housing.  This contest must be huge event in town as the pending announcement of the winner is among the banner headlines of the day.  One can also see here that the daily newspaper cost only ten cents in 1970.  That equates to about sixty-two cents in 2016.  The daily paper around here costs $1.00.   Marcia must tell somebody about the contest and decides to tell Jan.  Jan is dying to know what

Jan “fourple” swears!

the secret is and even “fourple” swears she will keep the secret.  This is the line from this episode I’ve always remembered.  Just as Marcia is about to share the news, Cindy enters.   Marcia knows Cindy has a big mouth, as evidenced in the earlier scene, and makes up a reason for sneaking out to send the letter.  She claims she wanted Felix Brown to ask her to a dance, so she wrote him a letter that had to be sent in time before the dance.  It seems Jan would have asked, “Why not just give him the letter at school?  Why on earth mail it?”  Greg enters the room searching for Peter.  Cindy, true to form, blabs the subject matter of the secret.  It’s a good thing Marcia had made one up!

Bill Mullikin as Lance Pierce

The following scene begins in the living room with Carol answering the door.  Carol opens the door to and meets Lance Pierce from KTRY.  He can’t tell Carol the reason for his being there.  She suspects it is related to Mike’s off camera speech that impressed the Creative Institute Of Architects.  Despite not knowing his purpose for being there, Carol allows him and his camera crew to enter her home.  As they entered, I noticed a brass plate on the wall outside the door.  Is this a mail slot?  It sure is a strange place for one, unless all mail dropped into the slot falls into Mike’s den.

The mysterious mail slot!

As the crew sets up for the big reveal of the award, Alice approaches a cameraman for a suggestion on her good side.  The rude crew member says it doesn’t make a difference.  Alice looks nice all dolled up.  The rude cameraman was played by Lee Corrigan.  This was his first ever television role and not too many would follow.  His biggest role was in “Twice

Lee Corrigan as the cameraman.

In A Lifetime” starring Gene Hackman.  His last appearance in front of the camera was in the TV film “Dark Mansions”.  He died in 1997.  Lance Pierce was played by Bill Mullikin.  His most notable role was as Private Cumberly in the 1962 feature film, “Hell Is For Heroes”.  His final role was that of “poor man” in 1988’s “The Arrogant”.  The IMDB summary for the film is as follows: A waitress hitchhiking in Nevada is picked up by a man on a motorcycle. Unbeknownst to her, the man is a psycho killer who thinks he’s God.  Bill Mullikin died in 2010.

In typical Brady fashion, Mike comes in the back door while the entire film crew awaits his entrance through the front.  Lance laments that things like this always happen to him and he shifts the entire shot to accommodate Mike’s backdoor entrance.  Hamilton Samuels then presents Mike with the Father of the Year award and shares that the letter Marcia wrote about him was the best they’d ever gotten.  Earlier he could not decide on which was the best, but subsequent readings must have led him to this conclusion.   Mike realizes that Marcia’s misbehaving ways were not to be rebellious or mischievous, but to express her love for him.  Mike and Marcia hug and the scene ends.


The epilogue is Mike and Carol in bed reading the newspaper.  They are delighting in the photo of Marcia and Mike’s embrace and Carol states how proud she is of Marcia.  Mike says she should be proud as Marcia is her daughter.  Carol queries Mike on Marcia’s parentage and he corrects himself and declares Marcia both his and Carol’s daughter.  They hug and the credits roll.  I was expecting the epilogue to show the entire Brady clan coming home from skiing, but we got this instead.  The episode leaves it up to the viewer if Marcia was allowed to go skiing or if the punishment stood.


“Father Of The Year” is unique for an early Brady episode as the boys are not at odds with the girls for any reason, Mike and Carol’s only disagreement is about Marcia going skiing and the only “woe is me” moment is Marcia’s crying after watching Alice practice skiing.  The episode is definitely short on laughs.  The joke about snow being slush and snow with splinters failed to even garner a chuckle from me.  Cindy and Jan’s attempt to cheer up Marcia was the only laugh out loud moment.  I never remember Cindy delivering so many funny lines in the early episodes, but she has.  The conclusion is very predictable, but still heartwarming for those who enjoy the family values the Brady Bunch touted.  Next week’s episode offers all the conflict and absurdity we’ve come to expect from The Brady Bunch.  “54-40 And Fight” was one that I never cared much for growing up, but I am sure I will enjoy seeing it again and reviewing it with you all.  Have a great weekend!


Episode 13: Is There A Doctor In The House?

Hello again friends and readers! Thank you for joining me for this week’s review of “Is There A Doctor In The House?” The episode originally aired on December 26th, 1969. The plot sees all six of the Brady kids stricken with measles and Mike and Carol being forced to choose a pediatrician for them all. It’s another pretty solid and sensible episode with two guest stars who were no strangers to television. So, let us begin our review of “Is There A Doctor In The House?”


The episode opens with Carol and Alice cleaning up the house. Peter is sent home from school early with a temperature of 101.1. He must live really close to the school to be sent home without the school calling a parent, especially with him sick. Suppose he passed out on the sidewalk between the school and house? He questions if his fever is a record or not before being sent upstairs. Alice’s immediate concern is if the other kids will soon find themselves sick. Alice even tries to crack a joke. She quotes the warden of the state prison saying, “I’d hate to seem them all break out at once”. Carols sees absolutely no humor in this and walks off. Usually, Carol will say, “Oh Alice” or something like that, but not this time. At least the laugh track kicked in for Alice.

No laughter from Carol here!


The next scene opens with a shot of the exterior of Mike’s office. I am not sure if we have seen it before. Mike chuckles at the news that Peter has the measles and says he will bring officehim some comic books home. After the phone call, Carol asks Alice the whereabouts of the thermometer which Alice immediately assumes she is referring to the meat thermometer.  She must have forgotten that Peter was sick or perhaps she was being passively aggressive towards Carol after her reaction to the warden joke. Carol then calls Dr. Porter and asks her to come by the house. At the conclusion of the call, some dramatic music plays as it is revealed that Jan also has the measles!


Now two Brady children have the measles! In my entire life, I’ve never known somebody with the measles. Upon researching the illness, it was found that today, vaccines have contributed largely to the decline of the illness. Per Wikipedia, the measles were eradicated from the Americas in 2016. The illness is described as red blotchy spots that include a fever, runny nose, cough and achy feelings.

In the next scene, Alice is taking Peter’s temperature while he works a crossword puzzle. He can’t think of a seven letter word for drink and in an irritated tone seeks Alice’s help. Jan begins yelling for Carol, but Alice goes to assist her. All Jan needs is to show somebody the picture she has drawn. It’s an artsy looking bird that Jan asks Alice to identify. Peter then summons Alice again to come help with the crossword puzzle. Alice goes back and forth with guesses for both Peter and Jan. This scene concludes with Peter needing a five letter word for tired, to which Alice suggests A-L-I-C-E.


Back at Mike’s office, he is making a call to Dr. Cameron and asks him to come to the house and check on Peter. Back at the Brady house, the other doctor that Carol summoned is just arriving. Upon the news that Jan has since came home with the measles, Dr. Porter accuses Carol of trying to get two for the price of one. Here begins the episode’s conflict. Peter does not want to be seen by Dr. Porter. He is very uncomfortable with a woman examining him. As Carol tries to explain to him that he has nothing to be concerned about, Jan begins yelling for Carol. Carol asks Dr. Porter to explain to Peter why he has nothing to be jancameronworried about while she goes to see what Jan needs. Carol enters the girls’ bedroom and walks right past Dr. Cameron. She doesn’t even notice there is a man standing in the room until Jan points this obvious fact out! Upon finally noticing him, Carol protects Jan, threatens to call the police and accuses Dr. Cameron of breaking and entering. Dr. Cameron explains who he is and that Alice brought him up.

Carol meets Mike coming down the hall to see Peter and tells him it is conference time. They discuss the two doctor dilemma and Mike says both doctors will be drummed out of the AMA if it is discovered they are both making house calls. This got me to pondering doctors making house calls. I’ve never known of it occurring in my lifetime. Per Wikipedia, in the early 1960s, 40% of doctor-patient interaction occurred during house calls. By 1980, this was down to .06%. A Google search suggested that there is a small segment of doctors looking to revive the house call. However, with today’s technological advances in medicine, the effectiveness  of a house call is diminished. Readers, if you have any memories of a doctor making a house call and would like to share, please do so!


While Mike and Carol discuss women taking care of boys and men taking care of girls, it is revealed that the measles have spread to all the Brady children. The value of Dr. Porter and Dr. Cameron is touted by Bobby and Cindy as it is revealed that Dr. Cameron gives lollipops and Dr. Porter gives all day suckers. Mike says that doctors must have a deal with dentists. Upon the doctors coming down the stairs, the kids mob them and the scene ends. What follows is Mike and Carol discussing with the doctors that they will have a discussion about which of them the family will continue using. Dr. Cameron says they understand as he doesn’t expect Mike and Carol to “double” their doctors.

Marion Ross as Dr. Porter and Herbert Anderson as Dr. Cameron.


This is a good spot in our review to discuss the episode’s guest stars. Dr. Porter was played by Marion Ross. She is certainly no stranger to television. Most fans of classic sitcoms will easily recognize her as Mrs. Cunningham from the long running show “Happy Days”. She has been acting since 1953 and remains busy today! IMDB reflects three 2016 acting credits. She also had regular roles on The Drew Carey Show, That 70’s Show and Gilmore Girls. Dr. Cameron was played by Herbert Anderson. Classic sitcoms fans might recognize him as Henry Mitchell from the 1950s classic “Dennis The Menace”. This was one of my favorite shows growing up. I still enjoy it today, as long as it is a George Wilson episode and not a John Wilson one. Nothing against Gale Gordon, I just like Joseph Kearns’ Mr. Wilson much more. Herbert Anderson’s final television appearance was on “The Waltons” in 1975. He died in 1994.

After the doctors have left, Mike is seen mixing a drink. I don’t recall ever seeing either Mike or Carol enjoy an adult beverage before of after this. I guess the stress of picking a doctor has driven Mike to the bottle. In an odd exchange about choosing a doctor, Carol drinksaid she would never be able to forgive herself if they chose Dr. Porter and “something happened”. Mike says he feels the same if Dr. Cameron was chosen. Did they anticipate one of these pediatricians performing a delicate operation on the kids? Both had all ready touted their confidence in each doctor and now they talk as though they are taking a risky bet by allowing one or the other to continue seeing the children. Carol tells Mike to decide “which doctor” they will use and Mike says he’d settle for a “witchdoctor” at this point.


Upstairs, the four older Brady children are playing a board game. I had always assumed it was Monopoly, but the DVD allowed a closer look during this viewing. Marcia laments that Greg won her railroad and Peter says all he needs is two more houses. This certainly didn’t sound like typical Monopoly jargon to me. Upon freezing the frame, it is revealed that while the kids are using a Monopoly game board and pieces, the name of the game has

That’s not Monopoly!

been covered up. The producers were no doubt looking for a way to avoid paying any kind of royalties or fees to Parker Brothers and decided to be extra vigilant against any such payments by having the kids reference made up rules and gameplay. Bobby and Cindy are keeping themselves busy coloring in the other room. They both enter the girls’ room arguing. Bobby has decided to color Cindy’s measles another color and she protests. This childish dispute soon gives way to the episode’s main conflict of male and female healthcare professionals. Upon voicing support for the male doctor, female nurse stereotype, the boys are booted from the girls’ room.


Down in the kitchen, meals are being prepared for all six children. Each have come to possess a different means of summoning the adults of the household and each are working to be even more obnoxious with it! After one crazy noise is heard and identified, another follows. Greg’s bongo drums have gotten to be too much and Mike finds a cowbell for him to use instead. In a preview of the Brady craziness that is yet to come, the inventory of the food to be delivered to the kids’ rooms is sung to the tune of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

“And oo-oo-ooone cowwwwwbelll!”


As the food is delivered, some of the kids act like entitled brats. Greg complains about there being no baloney and Mike tells him the meal he was brought is a feast fit for a king. Greg tells him to give it to the king and get him some baloney. Peter turns his nose up at broccoli and Jan wants gravy with her meal. In an iconic dense Cindy moment, she asks why she always gets peanut butter and jelly, to which Carol reminds Cindy that she loves peanut butter and jelly. Cindy’s reply of “Oh yeah, I keep forgetting” goes down as one of the dumbest Cindy moments of the series. In case you missed it last week, regular reader and contributor Jack shared via the comments section how these lines that made Cindy look so dim really chapped Susan Olsen. Thanks Jack for sharing! The scene concludes with Mike and Carol going up and down the stairs in continued service to the children.

In another dose of low level craziness, the next scene opens with a chalkboard listing each child and Tiger and the illnesses they have experienced. It seems the list could have been handled a bit more easily on a sheet of paper, but this is the Brady Bunch where chartthings tend to be overdone. I won’t even try to determine why the Brady’s own a chalkboard this size. Maybe it was included with the lectern they used in “Vote For Brady”.  Mike enters wearing one hideous jacket. I love vintage stuff, but his attire hear looks like something a shady car salesman would wear in a comedy routine. Mike looks over the chart and asks about the kids having distemper. Alice points out that is Tiger’s column. If you watch closely, you will see that Mike asked about some other illness, but it was looped over with distemper. Best I can tell, he asked about rabies, but I am no lip reader. Upon learning that the kids will be getting ice cream sundaes, shortly before dinner, Mike suggests the kids are taking advantage of the situation. However, Alice reminds Mike of how entitled he felt when he was stricken with the flu as he was equally needy and demanding of pampering.

Yikes!  That jacket!


In the living room, Mike and Carol revisit the discussion about which pediatrician they will continue to use. Mike suggests the most logical, reasonable, intellectual option of flipping a coin. He then says that the children should decide. It seems there really is no decision to be made on their part as they have all voiced their desire to use their respective doctors. The scenes that follow are of Mike and Carol trying to convince the kids that the other doctor is a good choice. The girls all hide under their blankets as Carol tries to convince them and questions their actions in the scenario of a sinking ship with only a male doctor to rescue them. It’s an absurd analogy as being saved from a sinking ship really can’t be equated with the regular care of a doctor. Regardless, the girls spring up from their hiding and yell in unison they’d rather drown than allow a male doctor to treat them. Mike is equally unsuccessful in his attempt to explain the merits of a female doctor. Upon trying to make clear there is no difference between a male and female doctor, Greg reminds Mike that he taught the boys about the birds and the bees. Here Mike should have countered that the male and female anatomy has nothing to do with medical knowledge. Instead, the scene ends.

Downstairs, the two doctor dilemma is discussed again. Mike points out that neither he nor Carol changed doctors when they got married, so why should the kids? He proclaims himself a genius for coming to such a conclusion. Carol immediately shoots him down by pointing out a genius would have realized that much sooner. Conveniently, the doctors happen to stop by at that moment to check on the kids. They reveal the exciting news that they will be combining their practices. Mike and Carol think this is great news. My thought that was that the Bradys are back to square one as I highly doubt both doctors would come to the Brady home in the future should a doctor be needed. The issue of a male versus female doctor would still remain depending on which doctor was working or available that day. While sharing this news, Dr. Cameron notices a spot on Mike’s face. It appears he too now has the measles. Mike offers to prove a point to the boys and allow Dr. Porter to examine him, but Carol nixes this idea quickly.

Mike has the measles!


The epilogue sees the oversized illness chart again. Just as it seems everyone is well and will remain as such, we find out that Alice now has the measles. I hope the kids had to wait on her hand and foot like she did them!


This concludes the review of “Is There A Doctor In The House?” I remember growing up, that this episode numbered among my favorites. It was fun seeing all the kids together and how they responded to being sick. As an adult, I find the episode to be just average. Other than Cindy’s most memorable line about peanut butter and jelly and seeing Henry Mitchell and Mrs. Cunningham, there isn’t much that occurs that was noteworthy. Please share any comments or thoughts of your own as they are most welcome! Next week, we review “Father of the Year”. It’s another episode I remember seeing aired quite often. Have a great weekend!

Peter has the measles?  Hahahaha!

Sunday Special: Vote For Brady

Hello my fellow countrymen, women, friends and readers. With the presidential election only a few days away, I found it fitting to review our next episode early. “Vote For Brady” originally aired on December 12, 1969. Politics were just as dirty and divisive  in 1969 as they are today. This is another episode that leans more on drama and story, and one that I am sure pleased Robert Reed as we experience very little craziness. So, before we all go out and vote on November 8th, let us first review “Vote For Brady”.


The episode opens in the backyard. Carol is tending to some flowers while Alice picks up leafy twigs. Alice commends Carol on her gardening skills, stating her own gardening efforts resulted only in muddy seeds. Marcia comes into the back yard with the great news that she has been nominated to be the student body president. She is concerned about her opponent but Alice and Carol assure her she will defeat any opponent with ease. Seconds later, it is revealed that her opponent is Greg. Thus begins this episode’s conundrum.


Mike arrives home late and Carol has shared with him the day’s events. As the issue is discussed in the kitchen, he closes the broom closet door and is chided by Carol. Alice has a cake in the oven and any loud noises could ruin it. The three continue to discuss the election and Mike and Carol are certain it won’t be a big issue as Greg and Marcia are sensible kids.  Their certainty is dashed as a fight erupts in the family room between the political rivals. Mike and Carol enter to mediate the dispute and find that it is over use of the phone. Marcia slams the phone down and Alice fears the cake is ruined, but it’s not. Mike makes Marcia put the receiver back down properly. It’s funny how some parenting never changes as I find myself making my daughter “do it again, correctly” quite often.phone Greg accuses Marcia of wanting to use the phone to get votes. When asked what he wants to use the phone for, he sheepishly confesses to wanting it for the same. This was a funny moment. Instead of threatening to return the payphone to the family room, Greg and Marcia are limited to using the phone for only 30 minutes each per day during the campaign season.

Upstairs, Peter, Jan, Bobby and Cindy argue about the most worthy candidate and Jan’s

Bobby is threatened with a bop!

foot stomp threatens the cake. Based on the home’s layout, I find it hard to believe the boys’ room sits right above the kitchen, but apparently it does. The dispute among the siblings almost escalates to violence as Bobby’s support for Greg leads to Cindy threatening to “bop him”. Carol and Mike enter the room and must mediate yet another dispute. The kids are forced to smile and do so. Downstairs, the cake saga concludes with Alice knocking a cutting board off the counter and ruining the cake. Political tensions have the potential to divide families and ruin cakes! In this case, it was only the former as Alice ruined the cake with just old fashioned clumsiness.

Wop wop waaaaah.

In the Den, Mike and Carol discuss the political rivalry while assembling a dollhouse. The dollhouse has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the episode. Perhaps the director or a producer had been putting off doing this for one of his/her own childten and decided to have the actors do dollhouseit while filming this scene. The discussion between Mike and Carol results in them confirming with both Greg and Marcia that they are impartial and will be helping each of them defeat the other in the election. In the girls’ room, Carol and Marcia decide that the $10 campaign war chest will be spent on making campaign signs. Mike and Greg conclude that his funds will be spent on cassette tapes used to record his campaign promises, so that he may broadcast them over the loud speakers at school. Mike and Carol swap rooms so they may help the other candidate.

A location shot opens the next scene. We learn here that Greg and Marcia attend Fillmore Junior High School. Greg discusses the campaign with his campaign manager Rusty and Scott. They have been given permission to hold a rally as long as it is over by first bell. Fillmore Junior High sure takes a student election seriously. The kids are allowed to hold rallies and use the loud speaker and give a $10 campaign fund to candidates. Greg is excited about his recorded messages, but when he goes to play them for his friends, only silence can be heard. Scott says, “At least you didn’t promise them too much.” That was a funny line. Greg can’t understand what happened to the recordings that had consumed two hours of his time. Rusty suggests it was sabotage! Greg is certain that was the case!

Back at home, Marcia is searching the family room for her list of campaign slogans. I noticed as she closed up the back of the couch, it appeared to be full of linens. That seems like a strange place to keep them, but with a family that big, I guess storage space is limited. Jan and Cindy enter to help Marcia search for the notes, but initially failed to ask what they were even looking for. They leave to go look upstairs for the notes and Greg enters accusing Marcia of erasing his tape. An argument ensues and Mike and Carol enter to mediate, yet again. This time Alice joins them. After the accusations are stated, it is

“And you were going to be impartial!”

revealed Alice, thinking they were just doodles, tossed Marcia’s notes. Marcia accuses of Alice of purposely tossing her work in the trash to help Greg who she has known longer and leaves the room. Alice feels terrible about her gaff. Upon Mike suggesting the tape was erased due to Greg’s user error, Greg utters a line I’ve always remembered from this episode. In his screechy season one tone he says, “And you were going to be impartial!” In Greg’s defense, those old tape recorders were pretty simple to use. It’s hard to imagine accidentally erasing an entire tape.


Up in her bedroom, Marcia is bawling over the tossed notes. Good grief Marcia, it was two sheets of notebook paper and only a day since you wrote it all out. I am sure most of those ideas are still fresh and can be written down again. Carol comes in and consoles her and has Marcia admit to herself that she knows Alice didn’t throw the notes away on purpose. Marcia concedes she knows this to be true and resumes her crying. Here is some of that Brady Bunch drama we’ve been largely spared of up until now.

Downstairs, Alice is helping create campaign posters for Marcia. Cindy has completed her’s but in a very poor manner. Random letters are spread across the posterboard. Cindy says she was told what letters to use, but not to put them in any particular order. Did neither Alice nor posterJan bother to look over at Cindy’s poster as she worked on it or were they so engrossed in their own efforts that Cindy’s train wreck went unnoticed? Marcia enters and makes up with Alice, without really even having to do so. It’s a fairly touching moment in the episode. Alice says they haven’t time for all that mush and must resume working on the posters, but she is touched by Marcia’s apology efforts.

Greg and Mike have a talk about how user error was likely the culprit in the tape being erased. The discussion concludes with Greg commenting “lots of kids think their parents are wrong about everything, but I think you’re right quite often.” This was chuckle worthy.  In the family room Alice, Peter and Bobby use the complicated recording contraption to record a new message for Greg. Alice states she learned how to cheer in her cheerleading days and demonstrates an old cheer. She suddenly finds herself in pain and says, “I remembered the cheer, but my back didn’t.” Back in the girls’ room, Marcia and Carol discuss her campaign promises. Marcia’s efforts as student body president will include getting more boys to attend the Friday night school dances. What? How can a student body president do that? If the dance attendance was poor to begin with, why even have them? Mike enters the room and Marcia states she’s promised everybody everything she can think of. Mike says that she sounds like Congress. Marcia states she means to keep her promises and Mike says, “Forget what I said about Congress.” This episode was filmed almost 50 years ago. I guess political times haven’t changed much as the same sentiments could easily be repeated today.


It is decided that both Greg and Marcia will practice their speech in front of a small crowd; the Bradys and Alice. I could not help but wonder why the Brady’s own a lectern. Does Mike break it out when the kids need a serious talking to? We only see Marcia delivering the end of her speech. The boys suffer through it with a scowl on their face and contempt in their hearts. The laugh track is played here. They boy’s ice cold stares are too much for Marcia. As she concludes her speech and the boys don’t applaud, she breaks down into tears. In this episode’s laugh out loud moment, Cindy breaks out in to applause.

While I found it hilarious, the episode’s editors didn’t as no laugh track kicks in. What follows is the episode’s “talking to”. Mike chides the boys for their icy treatment, but also states the girls’ were as equally harsh when Greg gave his speech. Carol makes a good point that Marcia can’t expect to seek public office and not be able to endure rude treatment from the opposition, but then states how Marcia should not have to expect it in her own home.   It is a good thing Marcia practiced her speech at home as a meltdown like this at school would have been awfully embarrassing.  Carol continues by saying the kids have made it a contest between boys and girls.  It seems more to me like sibling love as each kid was supporting their own flesh and blood who they’ve grown up with. Mike says they are going to be a family longer than any child holds a student government position and that must be remembered. The kids are dismissed to a walk of shame for their behavior.

The next scene has Carol in the kitchen making a salad. Instead of two trips to the refridgerator, she loads up her arms and chin with the veggies. Marcia enters the room concedeasking about paint for her campaign signs. Carol subtly suggests that since Marcia is a year behind Greg in school, that she wait to run for office. Marcia doesn’t care for the idea. On this note, I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of nomination criteria had to be met for the candidacy. In my experience, student body president was a position reserved only for those in the uppermost grade of the school.

Outside, Greg, Rusty and Scott are tallying potential votes. Marcia is walking through the yard, unnoticed, and hears the entire conversation that is about to occur. Rusty comes up with an idea to run a smear campaign against Marcia. He suggests they start a rumor that she was seen at the movies with Felix Brown. Greg will have none of this! He threatens to knock Rusty’s head in if anything dirty like that goes down. Rusty is fired as campaign manager and leaves. Scott says Greg just lost the election. I can’t help but wonder what type of rumor Rusty might have started that afternoon to cost Greg the election.

Stephen Liss as “Rusty” and Casey Morgan as “Scott”.

Before moving forward, let’s take a look at the two actors playing Rusty and Scott. Stephen Liss played the low down campaign manger, Rusty. His first and only regular gig was a two episode recurring role on “Flipper”. Several bit parts followed. His last acting gig on IMDB was in 1979 playing the role of “teenager” in the the TV movie “Transplant”. Scott was played by Casey Morgan. IMDB lists only six acting credits for him, the most recent being in 1975. However, in more recent years he has served Hollywood in a construction capacity working on such hits as “X-men: First Class” and “The Avengers”.


The next scene is the big day where Greg and Marcia address their constituents. Greg is concluding his speech that touts his experience. I could not help but wonder who those other kids on the stage were. Were they contenders for the presidency or some other office? Mr. Dickens introduces Marcia as the next speaker. He was played by Martin Ashe. He had several bit parts through the years with his final one being in another Sherwood Schwartz creation “Rescue From Gilligan’s Island”. He died in 1991.

Martin Ashe as “Mr. Dickens”

Marcia’s speech is short and to the point. She is conceding the election to Greg, stating he is the best candidate and groovy. Greg is surprised by this and he and Marcia have a moment on stage. Back at the Brady home, Alice has a successfully completed cake celebrating both Greg and Marcia. Each gush all over each other with praise and compliments on how great a candidate the other was.

The epilogue is a brief summary of the episode, played out with Bobby and Cindy. It has brother-sister rivalry, tears and consoling. Cindy runs into the bedroom excited that she has been made crossing guard for the week. I hope she is only stopping bicycles and other people walking. After seeing the sign she made, I can’t imagine I’d trust her to direct traffic! You can guess who she beat out for the job. Bobby enters crying over not getting the job. Seeing how Cindy has it only for a week, it seems Bobby has plenty of time to get the job later. However, he is still mighty upset that Cindy will be crossing guard that week.  Us regular Brady fans know he will get his comeuppance later on as he will eventually be Safety Monitor at school and ticket Cindy for an infraction.


Well friends, this was another solid episode with little to pick apart and poke fun at. The drama ran high and we got to enjoy the sibling rivalry, aka boys against girls, that would drive so many Brady Bunch episodes. This is one I recall seeing often growing up. It seemed to air more than others. I had no recollection of the scene where Carol asks Marcia to withdraw from the election. Perhaps this was cut in syndication at some point. Normally, this Friday’s blog would be “The Voice of Christmas”, as it was next in airing order. However, I am breaking protocol and holding off on blogging that one until closer to Christmas, since we are still in season one with Christmas only a few weeks away and “The Voice of Christmas” a season one episode. As a kid it always annoyed me seeing a sitcom’s Christmas episode aired in July. So, please join me on Friday as we review “Is There a Doctor In the House?”!

Episode 10: Every Boy Does It Once

Hello again readers and friends! First off, thank you all who have joined the Facebook group “Here’s the Story: Every Episode of the Brady Bunch Reviewed”! Your readership is most appreciated. This week we review “Every Boy Does It Once”. It originally aired on December 5th, 1969. After the craziness that we enjoyed last week in “Sorry, Right Number”, we must endure a mostly dramatic episode this week. I have no doubt Robert Reed and Sherwood Schwartz got along well during this episode’s filming; I am sure Robert Reed was pleased with the script and story. So, let us begin the review of “Every Boy Does It Once”.


The episode opens in the family room with Bobby, Cindy and Tiger watching “Cinderella” on television. Upon the conclusion of the Cinderella program, the subject of stepmothers is discussed between Bobby and Cindy. Cindy says that Carol is not a mean stepmother to Bobby to which Bobby counters, “Not yet.” Bobby says it is always the stepmothers who are mean as he has never heard of a mean stepfather. Oh, what innocent times that were in 1969. Cindy finally convinces Bobby that Carol is not a wicked stepmother. All that convincing is undone when Carol enters with a fireplace broom and very politely asks Bobby to help Alice out by sweeping the fireplace. She was not demanding or harsh, yet Bobby interprets the request as evidence of her being a wicked stepmother.

When I first started this blog, I mentioned how I recalled the Brady Bunch being full of “woe is me” moments. It was not until this episode that I realized how the past nine we’ve reviewed were largely devoid of the self-pity. Well friends, this episode makes up for it! It seems it is mostly dedicated to Bobby moping around feeling sorry for himself. This is quite evident as he complains about Greg and Peter leaving without saying goodbye. They were only leaving to go to a friend’s house, not for summer camp or even an overnight visit someplace. What does Bobby care if they said goodbye or not? He also doesn’t like getting hand-me-downs from his brothers. However, look at his pants! If anybody needs better fitting clothes it is Bobby, unless he is expecting a flood! He leaves to try on the altered clothes, when Jan and Marcia make their only appearance in the episode. Hand me downs are discussed again, this time for Jan. Carol mentions Marcia “filling out” in front of Mike and Marcia chides her for being so thoughtless. Mike tries to assure her he wasn’t listening, but she quickly calls him out on that since he knew to say he wasn’t listening. Jan and Marcia ask to join a friend at the movies and assures Mike and Carol it is rated acceptable for children. Mike states it must have been made before 1950. Bobby returns to the living room as they are leaving for the movies and both girls are excessively and needlessly rude to him. Marcia says, “Hi and bye, small fry” and Jan gives a very snarky “See you later”. They then ridicule him for wearing the hand-me-downs saying they couldrude not leave the house with him looking like that. The girls are then allowed to leave for the movies without the slightest rebuke from Mike or Carol. I think they earned themselves a good talking to, if not a revocation of permission to go to the movies. There was no need for them to be such jerks to Bobby.

Bobby then mopes into the kitchen and discusses with Alice how stepchildren are not as loved as biological children. Alice assures him this is nonsense as Carol loves he and his brothers very much. She compares it to how she, the stephousekeeper, loves Marcia, Jan and Cindy as much as she does the boys. Although, if she’d seen that exchange that just took place in the living room, she might be rethinking things. After her assurances, Bobby tells him he knows he’s not loved because he saw Cinderella on television and it evidenced how stepmothers don’t love stepchildren. Alice could have explained how television doesn’t always equate to reality, but instead allows Bobby to saunter away, still feeling sorry for himself.


The self pity continues as Bobby enters Mike’s den. Mike is fixing Cindy’s doll cradle. Bobby takes this action as another means to assure himself he’s unloved as his bicycle needs fixing too, but that hasn’t been handled. Mike assures him that is a bigger job that will have to wait until Saturday. Mike pries a bit into Bobby’s listless ways, but doesn’t get far. Bobby inquires about fairy tales being real. Mike says Cinderella has given stepmothers a bad name and this leads to another talk about how much his stepmother loves him and his brothers and how much Mike loves the girls.

In the kitchen, Alice and Carol discuss Bobby’s moping around and how Cinderella shook him up. Carol then asks Mike to delay a business meeting so he can go to the bicycle shop carolalicewith her and they can buy Bobby a new bicycle to cheer him up. Mike says cheering up Bobby trumps the importance of his business meeting and he will just skip it. During this conversation, it is mentioned for the second time this episode that it is Friday night. Could the bicycle shop trip not be put off until Saturday morning so Mike could maintain his livelihood?

Bobby is in the kitchen again and sad that Mike and Carol left without saying goodbye. Alice again tries to assure Bobby he is loved. Bobby says that everybody leaving without bobbytigersaying goodbye “ain’t love”. He and Tiger go outside where Bobby shares with the dog that he is going to run away from home. Upstairs, Peter finds Bobby packing his suitcase. Bobby won’t share why he is doing that, but Peter assures him he can keep his mouth shut and not share why. He even gives a demonstration. This was one of the semi-funny moments of this episode. Bobby shares with Peter he is running away from home.

Peter showing how he can keep his mouth shut.


Down in the family room, Bobby’s secret is quickly shared. Peter reasons that Bobby shared it with one brother, so it might as well be shared with another. Greg says Bobby’s tellsalicerunning away plans must be thwarted and goes into action. He enters the kitchen where Alice is making a shopping list. Instead of just telling her outright, he beats around the bush in the most roundabout fashion. He lets Alice know that milk purchases will soon decline in the Brady home. Then he shares with her that every kid in the house, except Bobby, is not planning to run away from home. Alice immediately goes into action to notify Mike and Carol. Greg reminds her Bobby’s running away was to be a secret and Alice states everybody knows she can’t keep a secret. Greg confirms he was counting on that. That was another semi-funny moment for this episode.


The next scene is at the bicycle shop, Oscar’s Cyclery. Mike and Carol marvel at the new bicycle they will be getting Bobby. The salesman talks them into spending $1 more for a license plate with Bobby’s name on it. The scene changes over to Alice calling around looking for Mike and Carol. They had not shared their destination with her before leaving.

A fashionable license plate is added.

Back at the bicycle shop, the license plate has been installed. Even as a kid, I thought this addition made the bicycle look strange. I didn’t see how adding that piping on the back with a nameplate made the bicycle any cooler, it only made it ugly in my opinion. Maybe this was one of those fads like bell bottoms, zoot suits or jelly-roll hairdos that looked cool at the time, but silly in retrospect. Well, the salesman keeps pushing to increase his commission and loses the sale. After suggesting side mirrors for the bicycle, he tells Mike and Carol that any boy they give this to, will be won over for life. This gives Mike and Carol the self-realization that they are trying to bribe Bobby and win his love. Well, they are not having that and decide he won’t be getting a new bicycle. Mike tells the salesman to just hang on to it for a month or so and they will come back for it. I guess Mike spends a lot of money at this place, because that seems like an awfully entitled request to be made of a business.



Before we move forward, let’s discuss the bike salesman. He seems like one creepy dude. There was something about the way he delivered his lines that just seemed strange to me. I can’t see him being all that effective of a salesman. Maybe that is why he is selling bicycles instead of cars or real-estate. The credits list the character as Johnny. Maybe he is related to Oscar, of Oscar’s Cyclery, and that is how he got the job as a salesman, or maybe Oscar was desperate for help willing to work on a Friday night. The actor playing Johnny is Michael Lerner. This creepy salesman performance did not end his acting career as he has stayed very busy through the years. He was a regular on “Glee” and appeared as Senator Brickman in “X-Men: Days of Future Past”. He was also the owner of the publishing company in the Christmas classic “Elf”.


Mike and Carol come home and Alice just can’t come right out and say, “Bobby is going to run away from home.” Instead she has to tell them one of the chickadees is going to fly the coop. Upstairs, Bobby is packing a larger suitcase and telling Tiger he will send for him when gets settled. Mike then enters and Bobby confirms his plans to run away. Mike says that will be fine as a person who isn’t happy where they are is free to look elsewhere. He assures Bobby everybody at the Brady home loves him and he thought Bobby loved them too. He asks Bobby to write and keep in touch and asks him how he is set up for funds. Bobby is pretty sure his $9.86 will get him started. Mike says a lot of famous men started with less. He also lets Bobby know he will have to find a job once he is on his own. He concludes the talk by stating he doesn’t want his son staying where he doesn’t want to and decides to walk him out.


As Bobby starts down the stairs, Carol is seen at the bottom waiting with her own suitcase. Carol says she is leaving with Bobby, since she loves him so much and wants to make sure he is okay and that she cares the most about him. Bobby claims he is but a stepchild to her and in a touching moment, she tells him the stairs he just came down are the only steps in the house. I could see this scene in a later season that had Carol waiting by the back door only to have Bobby leave out the front and create some Brady zaniness. However, this is season one and things are still much more realistic for the most part. This is the last time I ever recall either the children or the parents being referred to a as stepparents or stepchildren. I wonder how the term “step” came to be aligned with children brought into a marriage?

The epilogue has Mike and Carol retiring for the night, only to have Cindy rush in very upset. Like Bobby, she has taken fairytales as reality, but instead of fearing a stepmom, has been kissing frogs in hopes of them turning into a prince. Hoy, is Cindy really that dim? I know she is playing the part of a small child, but that is a bit much. I guess Sherwood had to get in one good jab at Robert Reed and did so in the epilogue!


Thank you readers for suffering through this episode with me. Bobby’s excessive self-pity was quite grating and the entire episode short on laughs. We hardly see the other kids during this one. It’s definitely among my least favorites, if not topping the list. Next week we review “Vote For Brady”. It’s one I recall seeing many times and has some great blogging fodder! As always your comments and thoughts are most welcome!

Episode 9: Sorry, Right Number



Hello and Happy Friday! This week we review “Sorry, Right Number.” It originally aired on November 21st, 1969. It is the first sampling of some of the more outlandish Brady Bunch plots. It’s also somewhat of a time capsule as it presents a time when land lines were the most technologically advanced means of communication between homes and businesses. This is an episode I remembered well as it seemed to air more often than others through the years. It is also the first time we see Alice’s beau Sam the Butcher. Let us begin reviewing “Sorry, Right Number”.


The episode begins with Mike and Carol in his office. Mike is expecting a phone call and seems to forget there are eight other people in the home. He answers the phone sans a “hello” and begins a conversation, fully expecting it to be somebody calling him regarding a golf game. It’s not. The caller is Carol’s friend Martha. She is calling to talk about a dress Carol is helping her alter. This will be a very minor subplot in this episode. After ending the call, Carol gives Mike a demonstration of how a dress will “rich up” and he enjoys it. I don’t recall the Brady Bunch being so racy, but season one has given us some rated PG humor. The phone rings again and Mike’s expectations are again dashed as he answers without saying “hello”, only to find this call is not for him either. It is Sam the Butcher calling for Alice. This is the first reference to the character. Carol states that he and Alice have been dating and the quality of the cuts of meat he sells them have greatly improved. I wonder who Sam gave those better cuts of meat too before he and Alice commenced to courting? Carol suggests the home needs a second phone line and Mike agrees.

The next scene is of Mike enjoying his own phone line. He is so enamored with it that even with nobody to call on it, he calls to check the time, despite the fact that he is wearing a

Allan Melvin as Sam.

watch. The next shot is of Sam coming into the kitchen to visit Alice. It is the first time we have seen him. Mike passes through the kitchen and compliments Sam on the roast the family enjoyed recently. Sam says Alice isn’t a “bad little lamb chop”. Mike enters the family room where Carol is again talking to Martha about the dress. Mike remembers he has to make a call. It seems his use of the phone is just as excessive as the children’s! He enters his office only to find Greg using the phone. He reminds Greg the kids are supposed to stay out of the den and only use his line for emergencies. He allows a one time exception. This begins a back and forth montage of both phones being used. In the family room, Jan is talking to Dori about freckles. Back in his office, Mike finds Peter talking to Jerry. In a reference more dating than landlines, Peter is instructing Jerry on “the new math”. Peter guilts Mike into allowing him to continue the call and Mike goes back to the family room. There Marcia is talking to Phyllis about her school’s dating scene. Apparently, all the Brady children, must reference the caller’s name mid-conversation. And these must be very short conversations as quickly as users of the phone are changing. Mike’s had enough and determines it is time to set an ultimatum for his, er, his and Carol’s phone.



What follows is the episode’s “talking to”. He lays down the law regarding using the family phone and his own. Problems continue as the kids wait to use their phone. Carol attempts to introduce an egg-timer as a solution. Carol tells Greg that when the timer sand runs out, “It’s goodbye Charley”. Greg tells her he’s speaking to Harvey. In a line that always garnered a chuckle from me, Mike says, “Then it’s goodbye Harvey”. He is shooting daggers at Greg as he and Carol walk away. Greg ignores the timer and the Brady’s phone woes continue.

Mike’s not happy here!


A new problem enters the equation in the next scene. The financial cost of this dilemma becomes apparent when Mike opens the phone bill. He bemoans that the toll calls on the bill were five times as many units as they are allowed. This has him pacing the bedroom as he and Carol prepare to retire for the night. He says they have great kids who “don’t play hooky, don’t lie” and are not “fresh”. In another line that has been etched in my memory for decades, Carol tells him he will be even more unhappy with the bill for the new carpet he is wearing out pacing the floor.

Before moving on, I am hoping some reader might enlighten us younger folks. Were phone bills back in the day billed based on the number of calls placed? The time used making calls? What constituted a toll call? I can’t imagine the kids had many classmates they would have to use long distance to call. What kinds of toll calls could they be making?


Sam’s butcher shop is seen for the first time in the scene that follows. Sam knows something is wrong with his “lamb chop” when Alice starts dissing his goods. He closes the shop for the day so the two of them can talk. After offering her a crate to sit on, which Alice scoffs at, she tells him that when all the Bradys are upset, so is she. Sam asks if maybe she is “making meatloaf out of a hamburger”. After explaining how everybody is upset and she is concerned, Sam tells Alice she has a heart as big as a cow. Now, I know what a joy in life it can be to love your work and what you do, but Sam needs to give all the meat references a rest. It seems most every reference he makes or point of conversation has to have some meat analogy. It’s like talking to that friend who just went through a bad break up and can speak of nothing else.

While chatting, Alice notices that Sam’s store now has a pay telephone. Sam says customer’s using his business line was devouring his profits ten cents at a time. The payphone has solved all that, save the dime Alice borrows to use his phone and call Mike. payphoneshopSoon thereafter, a gift wrapped box hangs on the family room wall, that must remain unopened until Mike comes home. When he does, it is revealed the box has been concealing a pay telephone! Carol says it looks like a pay telephone, a real pay telephone. Upon confirming its authenticity, Mike tells the kids they will get an allowance supplement allowing them to make two calls per day. Any additional use of the phone will come from their existing allowance. Jan states she makes ten calls a day and Marcia complains she can’t lay on the floor and talk on the payphone. Mike tells them to suck it up.

Carol again calls the financial aspect of the phone problem to Mike’s attention. The allowance supplement will cost them $36 per month, which was more than the phone bill was in the first place. Using just a simple inflation calculator on the internet, $36 in 1969 is about $236.82 now. That’s quite an expense for the children’s additional allowance! For another comparison, Sam’s butcher shop advertised ground round for .89 cents a pound. That translates to about $5.85 today. The payphone rings and Mike asks, “Who could be calling on a payphone?” Had the Bradys disconnected the existing phone line all together? The kids could no longer get calls? Friends and family who used to the old number prior were unable to get through now? As I wrote about this scene, I thought a great reveal for the payphone would have been if started ringing while still gift wrapped. Each kid and Carol would experience great confusion searching for the ringing phone.  In true Brady Bunch fashion, there would be a montage of this happening to each kid and Carol, one scene at a time.

What follows is a montage of how change has become a hot commodity in the Brady home. Nobody wants to make change so that others can make calls. Marcia just outright refuses, Peter says he’d rather be a rich brother than a generous brother and Bobby and Cindy fight over a piggy bank. I guess each of them had a racket going to supply change to their siblings. Carol is in Mike’s office again discussing the dress with Martha. Carol says she no longer has time to worry over the dress because she is having so much trouble finding nickels and dimes for the kids. How about you go to the bank and get a roll of dimes? Regarding the dress, can Martha not just come over and let Carol break out a measuring tape? Why must all the dress alterations be discussed by phone? marthaMike did mention earlier that all calls to Martha are toll calls. Carol can save all those 10 cent charges by taking the time to drive over and visit Martha in person! Mike enters the office excited about some good news he’s received regarding some designs for a factory complex. He urgently needs the phone to call Mr. Crawford to set up a meeting. Mike says you can’t keep multi-millionaires waiting. During the exchange, Martha’s feelings have been hurt and she has laid down her own phone and walked off. Neither Mike nor Carol can get the office line to disconnect so he can call Mr. Crawford. Mike is getting panicked and goes to use the payphone. As he passes through the kitchen, he finds Sam visiting with Alice. Finally, a non meat reference/compliment is made as Sam says he must accompany Alice to an R-rated movie since she isn’t 16 yet.

Mike plops a dime in the phone and finds he must go through two other contacts to reach Mr. Crawford. Upon finally reaching Mr. Crawford and being seconds away from closing the deal, the operator comes on the line and says ten cents more is needed to continue the call. The look on Mike’s face when this occurred was a laugh out loud moment for me. He reactionfrantically searches for another dime and calls out for help. Alice is fresh out of change, but Sam comes to the rescue. Alice comments that the kids could find no dimes because he had them all. This made me laugh too. Well, Sam’s dimes come too late. The call has ended and Mike’s deal is seemingly ruined. He is sitting on the couch dismayed at the millions that he was just disconnected from. Sam suggests he call Mr. Crawford back and Mike realizes that this common sense solution is the best one. Alice tries to get Sam back in the kitchen, but he says he wants to hang around and see what happens. This made me laugh too. Alice and Sam leave and Mike calls back Mr. Crawford. This time he connects straight to him without going through either of the previous contacts. Mr. Crawford questions the quality of Mike’s company if they must conduct business from pay telephones. Mike explains the phone is in his home. Mr. Crawford states that doesn’t restore his faith in Mike or his company (another funny line) and he must use his own non-payphone for other calls. Mike then explains he installed the phone in his home because his six children were running up a high phone bill. Mr. Crawford is intrigued at this idea as he has three teenagers of his own. It would have been funny if Mr. Crawford stated, “Well, that doesn’t restore my faith in you if you must resort to such measures to ensure your children are disciplined. Goodbye Mr. Brady”. Of course, that isn’t what happened. Mr. Crawford, the multi-millionaire, likes the idea of charging his children for making phone calls and sets a meeting with Mike.

Howard Culver sits in one ugly chair.


Mr. Crawford was played by Howard Culver. Per IMDB, he had a long career in show business, to include playing the role of Howie on Gunsmoke for several years and being among Jack Webb’s regular players. His last appearance on television was in 1983, in an uncredited role, in the made for television disaster movie titled “The Night The Bridge Fell Down”. His last credited role was in 1982’s TV movie “The 25th Man”. Horror fans might recognize him as the Man in Pajamas in “Halloween II”. He died in 1984.

The epilogue is a bit strange. Mike is patching the wall as the regular Brady phone has been returned to service. Alice says she will miss the payphone. Why on earth she would, I have no idea. Mike tells her that if she has hankering to pay a dime to make a call from a private residence, she can go to Mr. Crawford’s!


This was a fun episode. I had forgotten how funny the whole scenario with Mike calling Mr. Crawford was. Bradymania shared the story how Robert Reed and Sherwood Schwartz quibbled over this plot. Robert Reed researched which southern California municipality would allow for a pay phone to be installed in a residence and tested Sherwood Schwartz on this. When Schwartz confirmed the Bradys lived in a city allowing such, the show went on. Next time we will review, “Every Boy Does It Once”. I remember little about this one. Please share your own thoughts and comments on “Sorry, Right Number”! If you have not joined the Facebook group, “Here’s The Story: Every Episode of the Brady Bunch Reviewed”, please do so!

Episode 8: A Camping We Will Go



Hello again friends and readers, today we review “A Camping We Will Go”. It originally aired on November 14th, 1969. The DVD provided a commentary by Barry Williams, Christopher Knight and Susan Olsen, so some of their comments will be shared. What makes this episode more memorable than other season 1 episodes is that it was filmed on location. It was mentioned during the commentary this is the last time they would film on location until The Grand Canyon episodes. Let us begin this week’s review of “A Camping We Will Go”!


The episode opens with Mike and Carol packing the camping gear. Apparently it has been packed away for a year, but look at that dust and grime! That certainly looks like more than a year’s neglect to me. One thing I enjoyed seeing in this opening shot is the old style bench seat in the back of the station wagon. I recall a friend’s family having a station wagon like that growing up.  Can any readers share with us the make/model and year of the station wagon?

The next scene opens the initial conflict of the episode. The boys are not happy that the girls will be joining them on the annual camping trip. Peter is suddenly keen on the idea of them going at Greg’s suggestion that the girls might get lost while camping. Mike chastises Peter for his remark and tells the boys that everybody will have the time of their lives, or else. Upstairs it is revealed that the girls don’t want to go on the camping trip. After Carol romanticizes the experience, to include waking up to the smell of bacon frying, she admits she has never been camping herself. She states that if the boys like camping, then so will the girls.


The following scene is of Alice marching all the kids out to the station wagon and loading them up. Alice is dressed in some military garb and has taken on the persona to match it. The station wagon barely holds the entire Brady Bunch, but eventually everybody is squeezed in. Mike comments how Carol looks beautiful in camping attire. He says, “Any woman can wear a $100 dress, but a girl who can put on a pair of blue jeans and one of my old shirts and look the way you do, that’s A-number one.” This is among the best observations I recall being made on the Brady Bunch. Speaking of clothes, this is one of the few times I recall seeing Robert Reedreed dressed in clothes that were not the typical Mike Brady attire. 99% of the time we saw him in a suit, collared shirt or a sweatshirt, that is unless he was Charlestoning around the living room or acting in a play. Here we see him in some classic camping gear and he wears it well. Upon everybody entering the station wagon, all of the occupants, save Mike, exit to go and visit the bathroom one more time.

The next shot is of the family en route to the camping spot. They all sing “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” while driving along the road. As a kid, this seemed hokey to me. As an adult, it just seems unrealistic. The lake being used for the camping scenes is the same one used many times over on the Andy Griffith Show. I suspected this while watching the episode and it was confirmed during the commentary. The boys set out to go fishing and bemoan the fact that the girls will be accompanying them. Alice then steps on a bucket of water and it spills on her foot. Mike and Carol find this very funny.

The fishing trip is a bust as first Greg and Jan, then Peter and Marcia and then Mike and Cindy all return with a tale of how each of the girls ruined the catch of the day. No fish caught equals nobody eats! Mike tells the boys they’ll survive. There is no mention among the boys of preparing some other means of eating. Going fishing doesn’t always guarantee a fish will be caught. I can’t imagine they thought casting a line guaranteed a meal to follow. This was very poor planning on the part of Mike. Carol comes to the rescue! She and girls had packed some emergency rations.  They emerge from their tent with a picnic basket. Despite it being dropped on the way out, the food somehow maintains its tabletop display when presented to the boys.  She’s brought bread, cheese, cold cuts and “friiiiiied chicken.” The boys declare it sissy food, but Mike digs in and the fellows soon follow. Somehow, the ladies fried that big pile of chicken legs, unbeknownst to Mike and the boys and packed them among the camping gear.

After the day’s adventure, Mike and Carol sit by the fire and take in the wilderness surrounding them. This is interrupted by Marcia calling for water and Greg asking where the blankets are. In a subtle PSA, Mike tosses dirt on the fire as he and Carol retire to their tents. Inside of Carol’s tent, viewers are treated to a comedic montage of Alice in curlers, airing up her air mattress and forgetting to turn off her lantern. It isn’t long before a hooting owl invokes terror among the females. Mike comes to the their tent and assures them it was only an owl. Barry Williams or Christopher Knight noted in the commentary the brief shot of the owl was taken from “Daniel Boone”. I don’t know if they meant a TV show or a movie. Back at the boys’ tent, Mike reminds Bobby about how he was scared of a hooting owl just the year before.

Soon, the girls are terrified again as Alice’s deflating air mattress is mistaken for a rattlesnake! It seems that even the most city-fied person could distinguish the sound of something deflating from a snake’s hiss or rattle. Mike again comes to the rescue and points out that all the hardware on Alice’s head was the reason for the mattress deflating. He also assures the females that there are “no wild animals in this area”. Susan Olsen and I had the same thought at this line that to Mike Brady, an owl is not a wild animal.  Perhaps people kept them as pets in 1969.

The boys complain about the girls being scared, but Mike reminds the boys it was the girls who brought the food they had for dinner. Otherwise, they’d all be laying there very hungry. The boy concede the girls were good for the meal and all go back to sleep. However, the girls have plans of their own to spook the boys. Either via some extensive planning ahead or very resourceful craft skills, Marcia and Jan have a cardboard cutout of a bear. Casting the bear’s silhouette on the boys’ tent wall tricks the boys into believing a very silent and very stationary bear sits outside their tent. While this is a cute prank, had the boys been heavy sleepers, Jan and Marcia could have been standing outside the tent for a very long time. Even Susan Olsen commented how it was a very paralyzed bear. In the Brady universe this prank worked and the boys exit the tent in horror, only to find Marcia and Jan are pranking them and they chase them into their tent where a fight erupts, toppling the tent. Susan Olsen mentioned she was not inside the tent for this scene, as the director feared her getting injured, and that being excluded upset her greatly as a child. Mike tries to break up the fracas but gets drug into the tent himself. This ends the Brady’s camping adventure. The scene with the bear prank was so iconic that makers of the show’s lunchbox included it on one side. Although, on the lunchbox, it is Cindy pulling off the prank by herself while Jan and Marcia stay in their tent.


During the epilogue, we see the first visit by Greg to Mike and Carol’s bedroom. This would become a common end to future episodes, but this was the first. Mike and Carol are still in their camping attire, but Greg is wearing a collared shirt and jeans. He must have changed immediately upon coming home or spent the last day dressed nice for the wilderness. He has come upstairs to ask if future outings can include the entire family. Mike and Carol are most pleased with his request.  Barry Williams mentioned in the commentary that an alternate epilogue was filmed that included the boys getting the girls back with another prank. He states the unused epilogue was the better of the two.


I recall this episode being longer and was surprised it ended with the tent collapse and fight. It has been decades since I had seen it before this week, but I just thought more happened in it. It is another episode that has a very 1950s aurora about it. The jokes are cute, the situations very typical of a sitcom and the male/female stereotypes typical of the era. The commentary by Barry, Chris and Susan added some fun observations. One thing that was mentioned  more than once was the vibrant color used in the film stock when filming the program. Many 1970s television programs lacked this. It was also interesting how when they watch this show now, it’s much like watching a home movie. When the shows were originally filmed, the kids did not seem the completed effort until it aired on primetime television. Overall, the episode is only memorable because it was filmed on location, otherwise, it lacks the true Brady craziness that would define the show in the seasons to come. Please share your thoughts with us!  Next week we review “Sorry, Right Number”.  It will be the first truly over the top Brady Bunch plot and should be fun.  Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!


Episode 7: Kitty Karry-All Is Missing



Hello dear readers and happy Friday!  Today we review “Kitty Karry-All Is Missing”.  It originally aired on November 7th, 1969.  I remembered very little about this episode, so watching it was almost like watching an entirely new one.  I did remember the story’s ultimate resolution, but had forgotten most everything else.  I will say that after watching it, I realized why it was so forgettable.  The plot is bland, the dilemma nothing special and the writing solid enough to function well, but lacking any charisma.  We can be thankful that all Brady episodes were not like this; if they were we’d not love the Brady Bunch as much as we do.  With a functioning plot and decent writing, this episode is Shakespeare when compared with last week’s nonsense that was “A Clubhouse Is Not a Home”.  Let us begin!


The episode opens with the slowest zoom in on the Brady home I’ve yet to see.  One can surmise the episode needed to be extended a few more seconds, so they did a really slow opening zoom.  Cindy sits in the family room playing with a doll that is the episode’s namesake.  Kitty Karry-All is a pretty standard looking doll.  A brief internet search revealed the toy was marketed as a Brady Bunch toy in 1972, but I could not find any

Check out that vintage toy stove!

other information on the doll’s origins.   We’ve seen her before in previous episodes.  Mike and Carol sit in the kitchen and marvel at how much Cindy loves this doll and mothers it.  Bobby enters blowing on a kazoo with Tiger walking alongside him.  Readers, is there any real purpose for a kazoo other than to just make that buzzing noise?  I can’t i
think of any.  Upon Bobby entering, he starts hating on poor Kitty Karry-All.  I can’t imagine why he hates Cindy’s doll so much, but boy does he have some harsh things to say about Kitty Karry-All.  Cindy leaves the room to get her doll a fresh bottle and returns to find the doll gone.  Bobby is immediately accused of taking the doll; a charge he denies.  Thus begins this episode’s quandary.  Yes, that is it; a missing doll Bobby is accused of taking.


Bobby invokes the “sacred oath”.

Upstairs, Greg and Peter interrogate Bobby about Cindy’s missing doll.  Bobby continues to proclaim his innocence and even swears by the “sacred oath”.  This is enough for Peter to believe Bobby did not take the doll.  In the girls’ room, the missing doll is the topic of discussion and Bobby is named the chief suspect in her dollknapping.  This all leads to a confrontation in the bathroom of all places.  As the kids argue, Mike and Carol enter.  The entire Brady clan fits in the bathroom. That must have been one big privy!  I never realized it was so spacious.   It is here that Mike and Carol decide the entire house will be searched for Cindy’s doll.



Despite this being a pretty boring, yet solid episode, we are treated to some absurdity in the next scene.  Mike enters the kitchen in search of Kitty Karry-All.   Bypassing the moresearch realistic and logical locations of the broom closet and cabinets, he goes to checking the refrigerator, dual ovens and stovetop, all while not bothering to brief Alice, who is standing in the room, on the entire situation surrounding missing doll.  It’s not like she cleans the house and knows it well, so why bother to tell her?  After checking only the most ridiculous kitchen locales, Mike is off to search the service porch and Alice suspects he’s been out in the sun too long.  She may be onto something.

The search continues upstairs as both the boys’ and girls’ rooms are trashed.  Jan and Marcia both celebrate finding other lost items.  The boys head downstairs and worry that they are eternally bound to searching for the missing doll and hope it will be found soon.  Bobby starts hating on Kitty Karry-All again, hoping the doll is never found, leaving Greg and Peter to suspect he might have had something to do with it after all.

Bobby becomes the Brady outcast as his siblings all begin to shun him.  Mike and Carol are distressed at this, so Mike gives the episode’s “talking to” to Greg and Marcia.  In a scene that would make a great sound byte for a lawyer’s commercial, Mike shares how in the United States, the law is a sacred thing that allows an accused person a fair trial and how people are innocent until proven guilty.   It’s a nice and brief lesson on legal matters.  What follows is another lesson in the way the law so often works.  Marcia says, they will give Bobby a fair trial and then hang him.


The scene that follows gives us a low level dose of Brady zaniness.  A makeshift courtroom is set up in the living room.  The kids took the time to relocate the couch and set up a witness chair.  Alice is drafted as the judge, despite her being worried about a pot roast burning while she oversees the trial. Jan and Peter are the jury, while Marcia and Greg are the attorneys.  Maybe Robert Reed argued his way out of this scene.  I could easily see him as the judge, Carol as the court reporter and Alice the bailiff.  On the stand, Bobby again proclaims his innocence.  The jury wounds up being hung as in a surprise plot twist, Jan votes innocent and Peter votes guilty.  I guess Bobby’s sacred oath from earlier in the episode is no longer convincing.  While the trial is underway, Cindy smells something burning and Alice and all the kids rush into the kitchen to find the pot roast burned.  Alice comments that judges earn such a high salary because they have to buy new pot roasts.  If it went from being fully cooked to being burnt in the short duration of the living room trial, I can’t help but think it had been cooked too long before Alice even agreed to be the judge.


Carol and Mike return home from a shopping trip and we see the interior of the garage for the first time.  With the exception of the attic room, we’ve now seen all the regularly used parts of the Brady home.  Mike and Carol learn that Greg is mad at Peter and Marcia at Jan due to their actions as jurors.  After briefly discussing this in the Mike’s office, he and Carol go to check on Cindy who retired early that night.  Cindy says a prayer for the entire family and her doll.

The next day, Cindy is sitting in the family room and Bobby enters again with his kazoo.  elephantThere is a new toy sitting on the couch.  It’s a plastic elephant that does flips.  Cindy says it came from Africa.  Bobby marvels at the new toy while Tiger enters the room.  Bobby is just one rude kid in this episode. He tells Tiger to “beat it” because “dogs don’t belong in the jungle”.  I never recall him being so harsh before. Cindy says the elephant’s smarts don’t equal those of Kitty Karry-All, since she talked to Cindy all the time.  Bobby argues this wasn’t true because the doll never spoke to him.  Cindy makes a fresh accusation against Bobby.  It’s only a matter of seconds before Bobby’s kazoo has gone missing!

Mike enters and has Bobby empty his pockets to search for the missing kazoo.   What follows here is an overdone joke about the amount of items Bobby had in his pockets.  pocketSeriously, how could all that stuff fit?  Again, it seems like the episodes running time needed to be extended a few seconds, so they just added more junk for Bobby to place on the end table.  Mike gives his second law lesson of the episode as he schools Bobby and Cindy on circumstantial evidence and how innocent men have gone to jail over it.  In this episode’s laugh out loud moment, Cindy says “I believe Bobby is innocent, even if he is guilty.”


The next scene opens with Bobby in his bedroom starting to feel bad for Cindy’s loss.  He retrieves his piggy bank and heads to the toy store.  Even though this is a pretty dull toystoreepisode, the viewer is treated to a number of vintage toys.  With the toy stove at the episode’s beginning, the flopping elephant and now this toy store, there are some cool vintage toys to gaze upon.  In this scene we see a Tru-Smoke set, the flopping elephant again, a Kewpie doll, a Star Trek toy and Baby Sister Grow a Tooth. An internet search reveals that many toys seen here, including Kitty Karry-All were from the Remco line of toys.   If any viewers recognize some other cool toy from the past, please share your observation.  In this toy time capsule, Bobby purchases another Kitty Karry-All for Cindy.  The clerk at the toy store commends Bobby for making such a pricey purchase.  As Bobby leaves, there is a shot of the clerk watching him go.  What is that in his hand?  Is that a pipe or a kazoo?  I couldn’t help but think some exchange was cut from the final edit where the man offered Bobby or Bobby tried to buy a kazoo.

Pitt Herbert


The toy store clerk was played by Pitt Herbert.  He will appear again as the same character when Peter becomes a hero.  Pitt Herbert was a very busy actor, per IMDB, playing one-off parts on dozens of shows during the course of a long career.  Per IMDB, his last television appearance was in 1983 on an episode of “Mama’s Family”.  He died in 1989.

Bobby presents the doll to Cindy along with a line that garnered a chuckle.  He states he got her the doll, “not because I like you or anything”.  Cindy tries to treat the doll like the identical old one, but it just isn’t happening for her.  After holding her for all of two seconds, she discards the doll as this new Kitty Karry-All is not her Kitty Karry-All.  It isn’t tigerlong before Tiger thieves the doll and runs toward the kitchen and Mike and Carol give chase.  There must have been a wide open door or a huge doggy door installed between there and the home’s exterior as the next shot has him running into the backyard from the side of the house.  Mike and Carol give a frantic chase and catch up with him at his dog house.  Instead of Tiger exiting the house by unknown means, a comedic scene of Alice trying to bring in groceries through an open door and dodging first Tiger, then Mike and Carol, followed by the kids would have been good. Those extra seconds used for the slow opening zoom and excessive junk in Bobby’s pockets could have been used for this. The pursuit of Tiger leads to the mystery being solved as both Kitty Karry-Alls and Bobby’s kazoo is found inside the doghouse.  Tiger is about to get a stern lecture from Mike when Carol asks about his fair trial.  Mike asks how does Tiger plea and he does a cute stand on his back legs.  With that, the entire episodes chief dilemma, a missing doll, is resolved.

In the show’s epilogue, it is Mike who gets a lesson.  He can’t understand how a child Cindy’s age could be so attached to a toy.  Mike says being attached to an object is for children.  Carol then mentions she lost his favorite golf club, a lucky 7-Iron.  Mike laments the loss of this favored club and says he might as well quit golfing.  Then, for whatever reason, Carol has it stashed beside the bed to hand to him and does so.  Mike’s learned his lesson and pretends he wants to snuggle the 7-iron, then proceeds to love on his wife.  That’s where the episode ends.


Thank you readers for suffering through this episode with me!  Please share any thoughts or observations with us via the comments section of this blog or on Facebook.  Next week we review “A Camping We Will Go”.  This is another episode I remember little about, so it should be fun to see it again.  Have a great weekend!