The Brady Bunch ran for only five years but has endured as a pop culture phenomenon. The wholesome sitcom about a blended family was popular with children and teen audiences long after its initial run. The cast and crew were extremely close. Over the years, they've revealed personal stories and secrets from the making of the show, some of which are adorable while others are surprisingly dark.

Robert Reed was a great father figure

The actors who played Bobby and Cindy both said onscreen dad Robert Reed was closer to them than their own fathers. He was a warm and protective presence on set. At one point, Reed refused to let his young costars get onto a roller coaster for filming until it had been tested. This turned out to be a wise choice, as the camera flew off the train during the test run and could have seriously injured someone. He also paid to take the entire cast on a family vacation.

American actors Robert Reed and Florence Henderson stand in a hotel lobby with their television family in a still from the TV series 'The Brady Bunch,' circa 1969. (L-R) Christopher Knight, Barry Williams, Mike Lookinland, Maureen McCormick, Eve Plumb, Susan Olsen, Henderson, Reed, unidentified. Paramount Pictures / Getty Images


There were backstage romances

The actors who played the siblings had an unusual childhood. Many of their early crushes were on each other, as they weren't actually related and didn't have many peers to spend time with outside the show. The actors who played Marcia and Greg snuck off-set during the Hawaii episode for a kiss and moonlit walk on the beach. When he was only 15, the actor who played Greg also became enamored with Florence Henderson, who played his mother. He wanted to spend time with her, so he invited her to dinner. Henderson had no idea that he considered it a date until later.

THE BRADY BUNCH - "The Private Ear" - Season Three - 11/12/71, Greg (Barry Williams) and Marcia (Maureen McCormack) plotted their revenge against Peter, who eavesdropped on their conversations with a tape recorder ABC Photo Archives / Getty Images


A newspaper article inspired the show

Sherwood Schwartz was inspired to create the show by a New York Times article discussing the new increase in marriages between partners who already had children. Nowadays, blended families aren't surprising. During the 60s, however, they were often misunderstood. The Brady Bunch was particularly important for children from blended families who had never seen their type of family represented positively before.



The Brady kids protested for a better wardrobe

The actors who played the Brady children were often frustrated by their out-of-date clothing. Several actors asked Schwartz if they could wear more fashionable styles throughout the run of the show, but he always refused. Schwartz worried that putting the kids in trendy clothing would quickly make the show look dated. Given the timeless reputation of The Brady Bunch, that may have been a good call.

UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1970: Photo of Brady Bunch Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images


Florence Henderson was known for her sense of humor

Like her character, Carol Brady, Florence Henderson was a friendly and humorous person. Schwartz saw hundreds of fans approach Henderson during the time they worked together, and she was always ready to greet them with a smile and a joke. However, her actual sense of humor was much darker than her onscreen counterpart. When the show kept Carol Brady's backstory vague - she was a divorcee, but the writers felt that was too risqué to reveal in 1969 - Henderson began joking that Carol murdered her previous husband.

Florence Henderson as Carol Brady in THE BRADY BUNCH episode, "Pass The Tabu." Original air date September 29, 1972. Image is a screen grab. CBS Photo Archive / Getty Images


Cindy's lisp was real

Cindy Brady was known for her adorable lisp. While some viewers suspected it was fake, the lisp was an actual speech impediment that actor Susan Olsen had throughout her childhood. Other children outside the show teased Olsen for it. She visited many speech therapists who tried and failed to correct her speech. The actor eventually had to have corrective surgery at 19.

Susan Olsen as Cindy Brady in the BRADY BUNCH episode, "The Subject Was Noses." Original air date, February 9, 1973. Image is a screen grab. CBS Photo Archive / Getty Images


Robert Reed struggled in the closet

Robert Reed was gay during a time when coming out would have ruined his career. According to Susan Olsen, who played Cindy, he also struggled with a lot of self-hatred. In a social media post, she discussed how much being forced to hide who he was hurt Reed and how the stress of living in the closet may have contributed to his death. Olsen believed Reed would have been an amazing husband if he'd had the chance.

American actors Robert Reed (1932 - 1992), as Mike Brady, and Florence Henderson as Carol Brady, in the US TV sitcom 'The Brady Bunch', circa 1970. Archive Photos / Getty Images


Peter Brady couldn't actually sing

The Brady Bunch were a highly musical family and often burst into song. Backstage, however, they weren't always in perfect harmony. Christopher Knight, who played Peter Brady, had been cast for his acting talent and was actually tone-deaf. So Schwartz had him lip-synch instead. Knight later said that the musical scenes were traumatizing for him.

 THE BRADY BUNCH - "Dough Re Mi" - Season Three - 1/14/72, Peter's (Christopher Knight, right) voice suddenly changed before Greg (Barry Williams) had planned for the six Brady kids to perform the vocals for a song he wrote. ABC Photo Archives / Getty Images


The Brady house was missing some things

The producers of The Brady Bunch wanted to show some scenes of characters getting ready for the day in the bathroom, but at the time, television guidelines wouldn't allow them to show a toilet bowl onscreen. So they decided to remove the toilet altogether. The sliding door in the house was also made without glass so that it wouldn't reflect too much light on camera.


Florence Henderson wasn't there to film the first episodes

Florence Henderson was working in Europe during the filming of the first six episodes of the series. Rather than delay the entire production, the makers of The Brady Bunch simply filmed the episodes without her and then had her deliver her own lines alone when she got back. The actors had tremendous chemistry with people who weren't even in the same room.

BRADY BUNCH - January 1, 1970 Carol Brady (Florence Henderson) smiles looking at camera. ABC Photo Archives


Barry Williams injured himself surfing during the show

In the famous episode where the Brady family goes to Hawaii, Greg is seen showing off his talent with a surfboard. Barry Williams was a surfer in real life; however, he cut his foot on some coral while filming the scenes. According to Williams, sharp-eyed audience members can actually see the blood when Greg falls headfirst off the board.

Barry Williams as Greg Brady in THE BRADY BUNCH episode, "Hawaii Bound." Original air date September 22, 1972. Image is a screen grab. CBS Photo Archive / Getty Images


Tiger died in the first season

The Brady's dog Tiger shows up less frequently than his iconic dog house. This is because the trained dog who played Tiger in the first season was tragically struck and killed by a car while on set. Unsure what else to do, the trainer found a dog who looked similar. New Tiger was not trained, and the energetic dog was known for causing chaos on set. Writers addressed this problem by only including Tiger in a few episodes.

THE BRADY BUNCH - "Katchoo" - Season One - 10/24/69, Alice (Ann B. Davis, left) comforted Jan (Eve Plumb) after Tiger, the family dog, might have aggravated an allergic reaction. ABC Photo Archives / Getty Images


Maureen McCormick was hit by an actual football

The episode "The Subject Was Noses" was inspired when Marcia's actor Maureen McCormick injured her nose in a car accident. The producers decided to write an episode where Marcia is hit in the nose by a football right before a big date. They tried many methods of getting the injury on camera, but none of them looked real. Eventually, the producers had someone throw a football at McCormick's face.

Maureen McCormick as Marcia Brady in the BRADY BUNCH episode, "The Subject Was Noses." Original air date, February 9, 1973. Image is a screen grab. CBS Photo Archive / Getty Images


Hair color was extremely important

Schwartz waited until the parents were cast to choose the child actors. It was very important to him that the girls have hair like their mother's, while the boys took after their dad. Mike Lookinland, whose hair was naturally strawberry blonde, had to dye his hair dark to match his onscreen dad and brothers. Cindy was already blonde, but not blonde enough. Actor Susan Olsen had to bleach her hair for every episode and eventually lost patches of hair because it was so damaged.

Eve Plumb as Jan Brady, Susan Olsen as Cindy Brady, Mike Lookinland as Bobby Brady, and Christopher Knight as Peter Brady in the Brady Brunch episode, "Getting Davy Jones." Original air date, December 10, 1971. Season 3, episode 12. Image is a screen grab. CBS Photo Archive / Getty Images


Cast members struggled with addiction

Spending a childhood on television isn't easy. Many of the young stars struggled with addiction. Barry Williams, who played Greg, constantly smoked during the show. After playing Bobby Brady for much of his childhood, Mike Lookinland tried to relive his childhood in his twenties and struggled with alcoholism. Maureen McCormick, who played Marcia, developed a serious cocaine habit. This severely damaged her future career and nearly cost her her life.

UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01: Photo of Brady Bunch Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images


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