Here’s the story, of the kids named Brady, who were animated for a little while; all of them played groovy songs, from their albums, in that Filmation style.
THE KIDS FROM THE BRADY BUNCH (1972)
Paramount Records PAS-6037 (12” 33 1/3 RPM LP / Stereo / 28 minutes)
MEET THE BRADY BUNCH
Paramount Records PAS-6032 (12” 33 1/3 RPM LP / Stereo / 31 minutes)
THE BRADY BUNCH PHONOGRAPHIC ALBUM
Paramount Records PAS-6058 (12” 33 1/3 RPM LP / Stereo / 32 minutes)
Producer: Jackie Mills for Wednesday’s Child Productions. Arranger: Al Capps. Engineer: Lenny Roberts. Art Direction: Bill Levy. Illustration: Joe Petaglio. Package Concept & Design: Pacific Eye & Ear.
Cast: Barry Williams (Greg), Maureen McCormick (Marcia), Eve Plumb (Jan), Christopher Knight (Peter), Mike Lookinland (Bobby), Susan Olsen (Cindy).
The Kids from The Brady Bunch Songs: “Love Me Do” by John Lennon, Paul McCartney; ”It’s a Sunshine Day” by Stephen R. McCarthy; “Keep On” by Jackie Mills, Thomas Jenkins; “Ben” by Walter Scharf, Don Black; “Playin’ the Field,” “Merry-Go-Round” by Brian Neary, Joe DiMuro; “Candy (Sugar Shoppe)” by Gene Rogalski, Jan Erik Lindwald; “In No Hurry” by Tony Dancy, Craig Fairchild; “Saturday in the Park” by Robert Lamm; “You Need That Rock ’n Roll” by Don Hull).
Meet The Brady Bunch Songs: “We’ll Always Be Friends,” “I Believe in You,” “Love My Life Away; “Ain’t It Crazy” by Jackie Mills, Danny Janssen; “Day After Day” by Pete Ham; “Baby I’m-A Want You” by David Gates; “American Pie” by Don McLean; “Time to Change” by Raymond Bloodworth, Chris Welch, Billy Meshell; “Me and You and a Dog Named Boo” by Kent LaVoie; “I Just Want to Be Your Friend” by Curt Boettcher; “Come Run with Me” by Richard Obegi, James Bryant; “We Can Make the World a Whole Lot Brighter” by Michael Gately, Robert John.
The original Brady Bunch series–which premiered in 1969 but cemented itself firmly in the 1970s–is a paragon of the gentler suburban side of those turbulent times, where “psychedelic” meant nothing more than the designs on school notebooks, and the most serious issues of the day involved swollen noses and what to do with a too many trading stamps.
The Brady Bunch Phonographic Album Songs: “Zuckerman’s Famous Pig,” “Charlotte’s Web” (from Hanna-Barbera’s Charlotte’s Web), “River Song” (from Tom Sawyer) by Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman; “I’d Love You to Want Me,” “A Simple Man” by Kent LaVoie; “Colorado Snow” by Annette Tucker, Jan Rado, Arthur Hamilton; “Parallel Lines” by B. Bryan, G. Ballantyne; “Everything I Do” by Tony Dancy, Craig Fairchild); “Yo-Yo Man” by Marty Cooper, Rick Cuhna; “Summer Breeze” by Jimmy Seals, Dash Crofts; “Gonna Find a Rainbow” by Stephen R. McCarthy.
It seems fitting, then, that Filmation’s most Filmationistic production should be oh-so Brady. The Brady Kids had all the classic elements of Filmation cartoons: kicky pop tunes, a laugh track, fantasy sitcom elements and lots of vocal heavy lifting by just a few skilled actors—in this case, primarily Larry Storch and Jane Webb. The series also holds the distinction of being the first cartoon to present Wonder Woman and Diana Prince as one of the many “guest stars,” who also included The Lone Ranger and Tonto, Superman, Clark Kent and Lois Lane, and Miss Tickle from another Filmation series, Mission: Magic — to name a few.
Most of all, it had the Filmation trademark of repurposed animation. Fans of The Archie Show can relive that enchantment on The Brady Kids by virtue of seeing so many of the same poses, a pet that’s simply Hot Dog with different cel paint, and most amusingly, the exact same rock band animation as The Archies. Even most of Ray Ellis’ background music was heard on various Archie and Sabrina incarnations.
The business model of TV teens as pop stars goes back to the early days, when Rick Nelson, Annette, Shelley Fabares, Paul Petersen and of course, The Monkees, sold millions of records by way of a powerfully popular presence on TV as well as skillful musical direction behind the scenes—and yes, talent, in the form of charisma and appeal if not always musical expertise.
Such expertise was at a premium when Paramount decided to package the Brady Bunch kids as a pop group. Their Friday night neighbors, The Partridge Family, were becoming so successful that, to quote a TV Guide commercial, their merchandising had “practically became a branch of the U.S. mint.”
There was a major difference between Partridge and Brady records. When Keith, Shirley, Laurie, Danny, Chris and Tracy started singing, all we heard was Keith and maybe Shirley in the background, but mostly the skilled, mature-sounding Ron Hicklin Singers including John and Tom Bahler, Jackie Ward (who sang for Cindy Bear in Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear) and Ron himself (who was one of The Hanna-Barbera Singers, too).
When the Bradys sang, it was really Greg, Jan, Peter, Cindy, Bobby and Marcia-Marcia-Marcia. Their voices were doubled on some tracks and a few songs did include backup singers, but for the most part, the Bradys sounded as earnest as the church choir at the Sunday 5 p.m. Youth Mass.
The three above albums were preceded by a Christmas album in 1970. By the release of the third LP (and the only one to feature Filmation character designs), The Kids from The Brady Bunch, some of the same songs were occasionally played on both the Friday night sitcom and the Saturday morning cartoon.
Their fourth and final vinyl, The Brady Bunch Phonographic Album, had less to do with either Brady TV show and more connection with the big screen with three Sherman Brothers songs. One was “The River Song” from musical adaptation of Tom Sawyer with Johnny Whitaker and Celeste Holm. The other two Sherman songs were a wonder of synergy between Paramount’s TV, movie and recording divisions.
“As a promotional event, the Bradys performed their single, “Zuckerman’s Famous Pig” and the stronger B-side, “Charlotte’s Web” at the premiere of the animated feature,” wrote Lisa Sutton, who compiled, annotated and designed the 1993 Best of the Brady Bunch CD. “This took place at the Avco Theater [in Westwood Village at the entrance to the UCLA campus], where they also obliged fans by signing autographs of the picture sleeved 45.” (For more on Charlotte’s Web, see last week’s Spin.)
When Barry Williams appeared on The Dating Game during that period, host Jim Lange introduced him by mentioning the recently released single. Williams pondered his selection of bachelorette, as the Bradyized version of “Charlotte’s Web” played out to the commercial break:
Perhaps Mike Brady (as played by Gary Cole in the 1995 Brady Bunch Movie) summed it all up best. “Alone, we can only move buckets. But if we work together, we can drain rivers.” Does it make sense? It’s best not to think about it too much. Just enjoy.
GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“It’s a Sunshine Day”
The quintessential Brady Bunch hit, this is 1970’s delirium at its zenith.
Here is the original TV debut of the song on the ABC Friday night sitcom:
This is the “Sears Wonderland” sequence from the 1995 feature film:
Here’s Filmation’s animated version:
And here is the Archie Show animation they reused to make it:
CBS’ Saturday morning kids block forays into pop music and NBC’s flirtation with “The Monkees” aisde, ABC in the 1960s and 70s was always the network that targeted the youth demographic — aside from the Bradys and The Partridge Family, they also had Bobby Sherman from “Here Comes the Brides” hitting the pop charts at this time. So no shock they and Paramount would be pushing the Bradys to try and become a multi-media money-maker.
As for Fimilarion, it’s always amazed me that when they did the animated “Star Trek”, they didn’t give Kirk and Spock guitars and put them in the same animated poses reused from The Archie Show, based on what they did with every one of their other shows from 1969 through the mid-70s.
That’s very funny, J Lee! Especially since Shatner and Nimoy had recording careers. J J Sedelmaier did do a hysterically funny parody of FIlmation on SNL with The “Ex-Rpesidents,” who played in a band with the same Archie/Brady animation.
The Brady Kids recently came out on DVD. I’d be interested in hearing anyone’s thoughts on the set. Is it worth picking up for a Brady Bunch (live-action) fan who never saw the animated version before?
If you are a fan, you should take a look at it. If you love the Bradys and Filmation with affection and find their silliness fun and campy, it is highly recommended. To paraphrase Willy Wonka, “Come with me, and you’ll be in a world of Pure Filmation.”
It’s main appeal is nostalgia and the episodes guest-starring Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Lone Ranger. The stories for the most part are fantasy-oriented and bear little or no resemblance to the live-action show, with a few exceptions like the class election plot. As far as presentation goes, it’s pretty bad. Little or no restoration was done. The colors are faded and there are scratches and other imperfections aplenty. Still, it’s not unwatchable and it’s likely the best transfer we’ll ever see. I didn’t notice a lot of compression artifacts, so it has that going for it. The worst part of the transfers for me, however, is that CBS removed the vintage red paramount logo and replaced it with the ghastly current CBS television studios clip. And they did that right in the middle of the closing credits and theme song! So you can’t just skip it without losing part of the closing, which kills some of the nostalgia value for me. I’d say if you can find it cheap enough, go for it – I got mine used (but mint) for $7.99 shipped from an Amazon reseller, so there are bargains to be had on it if you look hard enough.
Oh, there is one other reason to get this set. Watching The Brady Kids will give you a greater appreciation of the psychedelic magic mushroom scene in the movie A Very Brady Sequel. Since Filmation had gone out of business by the time Sequel was made and an overseas studio appears to have been used, the animation isn’t quite spot-on, but it’s a decent parody nonetheless.
The Brady Kids lasted for two seasons on ABC TV and it was a start on how Filmation got popular sitcoms and dramas of the 1950’s & 1960’s and animated them some were successful (The Brady Kids, Lassie’s Rescue Rangers, Gilligan’s Island (The New Adventures of Gilligan), the rebooted version of The Lone Ranger,Tarzan and Zorro) and some had failed (My Favorite Martian & Gilligan’s Planet (the sequel to Gilligan’s Island)
Surprisingly Robert Reed (Mike Brady),Florence Henderson (Carol Brady) & Ann B. Davis (Alice Hyatt) didn’t reprise their roles in The Brady Kids being replaced by a dog that looked like a doppelgänger for The Archies’ Hot Dog, Merlin a Magical Mynah bird and Ping and Pong two young twin pandas (who were created in honor of the first two pandas that were exhibited in the US).
Superman (who was also animated by Filmation) made a cameo in one of the Brady Kids episode.
And in the second season all but three of The original Brady Kids returned for the second season,the only ones who didn’t returned was Barry Williams (Greg Brady) Maureen McCormick (Marcia Brady) and Christopher Knight (Peter Brady) being replaced by David E. Smith (Peter Brady) Erika Scheimer (Marcia Brady) and Lane Scheimer (Greg Brady) who was also the voice of Chuck the resident troublemaker to the Brady Kids.
Watch the end of this episode of “X-Presidents” for the Archie[-like pop band.
I recall the disclaimer in the Partridge Family credits that “the voices and music…were augmented by other performers.”
(I also remember having to look up “augmented.”)
I read somewhere that Paramount first approached Hanna-Barbera about producing the Brady cartoon (until Filmation under-bid them); there is a spot-on drawing of the kids reportedly drawn by Iwao Takamoto in Gary Glassberg’s “Saturday Morning TV” book.
The minah bird was named Marlon, and if he reminded you somewhat of Merlin the Magic Mouse, it was the same actor, Larry Storch (though Merlin was more W.C. Fields-ish).
The second season had only 5 or 6 episodes, and the voice substitution was too noticeable (Lane sounded nothing like Barry). It was common for networks to order fewer episodes of a cartoon after the first season.
And yes, “The Brady Kids” was a silly affair. They lived in a treehouse instead of the familiar split-level home of the original show. In one episode, Marlon was missing and the kids advertised a $10 reward, but the newspaper misplaced the decimal point and the ad read $1000; the Bradys were besieged by people passing off various animals as Marlon (including a cat). In another, the kids met the “Wrong Brothers” who claimed to have invented the airplane (70 years late). Hilarity did not ensue.
Lane Scheimer was the voice of Chuck who was a troublemaking ruffian and took over the role of Greg Brady after Barry Williams left and boy you can really tell the difference!
The other two teenage friends who hung out with the Brady Kids were Fleetwood a hippie like character and Babs (voiced by Janet Webb) a ginger hair lass who hung around the Brady Girls and looks like a younger version of the schoolteacher from Mission:Magic! And of course Marlon (or was it Merlin?) always introduce the song of the day near the end of each episode (either a original composition or a popular song that is currently broadcasting on the radio like Poco’s “Me and You and a Dog Named Boo”.
Garry Grossberg, nopt Glassberg (though you had it close.)
Yeah, Grossberg… thanks, Steve, it’s been years since I read the book.
“Me and You and a Dog Named Boo”…not Poco, LOBO.
What amazes me is, looking back from this era of endless wrangling over character rights, Filmation was able to simply drop characters like the DC heroes and Lone Ranger & Tonto into the same show with the Bradys, apparently just because they were using them at that time…and even more amazing that they can still be shown today!
What is also amazing is during the run of the live action Brady Bunch,the Brady Kids (who later star in the Brady Kids) would costar with several stars who also did voice overs in animation. Jim Backus (Mister Magoo & The New Adventures of Gilligan), Natalie Schaffer (The New Adventures of Gilligan), Allen Melvin (Magilla Gorilla,Wacky and Packy and others) and Hal Smith (who starred both as a department store Santa in the Brady Bunch Christmas special and as The Cartoon King).
Plus Paul Winchell as a hippie-ish tv commercial director who hires the Bradys for a detergent commercial…until they go from ‘natural” to “motivated” in their acting.
Larry Storch was the voice of Chuck (and Fleetwood, and Marlon, and the mayor who appeared in a few episodes), not Lane Scheimer. Even the Bradys who returned for the last five episodes in season two were seriously underused compared to season one. The replacements for Greg, Marcia and Peter (and Larry Storch as Marlon) got more lines than Eve Plumb, Susan Olsen and Mike Lookinland did. For Brady Bunch fans and Filmation completists, this is a fun DVD set. For everyone else, there may be more enjoyable ways to pass the time, like putting your head in a compression vise.
For Season 2, Lane Scheimer played Greg. Erika Scheimer (who sung the She-Ra end credits song and played Tweeter Bell in the Brown Hornet segments and other various one-shot teen characters in the Fat Albert Show) played Marcia. Keith Allen (Sutherland? Son of Hal?) played Peter. .
Hi! I just wanted to remind you that Cindy’s face looks too much like Archie, and also, Peter should have used the Upright Bass in lieu of the Bass Guitar…this is my preference.
I read in Lou Scheimer’s book that Sherwood Schwartz’s kids were fans of Filmation’s Archie series and Sherwood Schwartz’s kids got the ball rolling by getting their dad to talk to Filmation regarding a Brady Kids animated series. Sherwood Schwartz’s kids also wanted the Brady kids to move exactly like the Archies musically. Perhaps Filmation shouldn’t have listened to those kids! However, there are very few recycled scenes in the series (the exception being the musical segments). Filmation still had a contract with DC comics which is how Superman and Wonder Woman both appeared as guest stars on the series. I thought Marlon was the best thing about the Brady Kids. Larry Storch delivered great lines as Marlon and also bridged the gap between the Brady Kids and Mission Magic series, since it was established that Marlon and Ms. Tickle (from Mission Magic) studied magic together at some magical school. I would have loved to have seen a cartoon about magic school pre-Harry Potter.