TV Bonus: Brady Bunch trivia

Alice’s beau Sam had a surname other than “the Butcher.” In one of the last season episodes, Mike leaves on his home drafting table an envelope containing plans for an expansion of Sam’s butcher shop. “Sam Franklin” is written on the outside of the envelope. Of course, later in the episode Sam refers to himself as “Sam the Butcher,” as he is frequently called during the series’ run. Even he couldn’t remember his own name.

Show business veterans like Imogene Coca and Don Ho made guest appearances on the Brady Bunch, but it was especially interesting when Jim Backus and Natalie Schafer appeared separately in consecutive episodes near the end of the series’ run. To Gen-X and Baby Boom viewers, the two are best known for their roles on Gilligan’s Island†as socialites Mr. And Mrs. Howell, even though they were Hollywood veterans with numerous movie and TV credits behind them (Anastasia, The Snake Pit for her; Rebel Without A Cause and the voice of the title character in the Mr. Magoo†cartoons.)

On the†Brady Bunch, Backus was Mr. Matthews, president of the architecture firm where Mike worked. He appeared in a single episode, in which he gave the Bradys a pool table as reward for Mike’s hard work. in the previous episode, Schafer played a wealthy client of Mike’s who ends up performing “On the Good Ship Lollipop” with Cindy. Don’t ask. † †

More Brady Bunch trivia: Despite what IMDB and other authoritative sites would have us believe, Robert Reed did not appear in every episode of the series. The seventeenth episode of the fifth season is the first in which Robbie Rist appeared as Cousin Oliver. The highlight of that episode is the participation of the kids, Carol, Alice, and Oliver in a circa 1920 mock slapstick movie scene during a studio tour. Obviously, the classically trained Mr. Reed, known to make suggestions (demands?) to the writers and producers, had finally encountered a situation in this sitcom that was too far below his dignity and he skipped the episode entirely.

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