Sherwood Schwartz's technique for auditioning child actors was to set out a bunch of toys on his desk, then during the interview see if the child paid attention to him or was distracted by the toys. If the toys went unheeded, Schwartz knew the child had the concentration needed to work on a television series.
Robert Reed was actually a closeted homosexual. Florence Henderson noticed early on that he appeared uncomfortable acting romantically with her, and he admitted the truth to her privately. They worked around it, rehearsing kissing and hugging scenes off-camera, so they would look more natural when it came time to film them. The entire cast kept Reed's homosexuality fact a secret until after his death.
A scene in the pilot makes it clear Mike's first wife had died, making him a widower, but the status of Carol's first marriage was kept a secret. Creator, Sherwood Schwartz maintains Carol was divorced from her first husband, but nothing about it was mentioned on the series. At that time, divorce was a subject matter that was still considered largely taboo for television, particularly a series aimed at family audiences.
Robert Reed, strongly disliked his role as Mike Brady. He claimed he only took the part because producer Sherwood Schwartz told him the show would be a serious, boundary-pushing look at modern day family life. Schwartz considered the possibility of either hiring a new actor to play Mike Brady or killing off the character altogether, if the series were renewed for a sixth season. Reed stayed with the series (and subsequent reunion spin offs) out of loyalty to the kids.
The house used for exterior shots, which was normally seen at the beginning of every episode as well as various points throughout the show's run, is at 11222 Dilling St., Studio City, California. Since the series ended, the owners of the home have erected an iron fence, let heavy shrubbery grow to cover much of the front, and have suffered numerous trespassers. They also refused to let producers use the home for exterior shots in the subsequent films in the 1990s.
We saw the Brady bathroom many times, but not once did we see a toilet. The popular joke was that the Bradys were so good, clean and wholesome that didn't even go to the bathroom. The truth was, the network censors wouldn't allow a toilet to be shown, at that time.
The family dog, Tiger, was killed by a car between seasons on the show. A replacement dog proved unworkable. The doghouse remained on set because one of the studio lights fell and burned a hole through the astroturf, and the doghouse covered up the burned spot.
Barry Williams (Greg Brady) did his own surfing in season four's three-part opening episode in Hawaii. In one scene Greg wiped out near some exposed rocks, injured himself and was briefly lost. Filming had to be postponed until he had fully recovered.
When Florence Henderson, arrived to do her screen test, there was no one on staff to do her make-up, so she went over to the adjoining studio where Star Trek was filmed and she found herself seated in a make-up chair between William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, being made up for their day's work on Star Trek (1966). Henderson recalls that both actors completely ignored her.
Robert Reed was written out of the show's final episode, The Brady Bunch: The Hair-Brained Scheme (1974), after an argument with producer Sherwood Schwartz over what Reed considered a ridiculous storyline (with Greg's hair turning orange from hair tonic), but he remained on set for its filming. Studio security offered to remove Reed, but Schwartz declined to have this done in front of the kids.
The Brady kids didn't always like the wardrobe they were expected to wear, and asked for more fashionable clothes. Producer Sherwood Schwartz declined the request, because he (correctly) expected the show to be syndicated at the end of its network run, and didn't want the fashions (and thus the show) to look dated.
Due to its marginal ratings (only reaching #34 in the Nielsen Ratings at its peak), the show was never renewed for a whole season until its last season on the air (1973-74). During its first four seasons, it was only renewed for thirteen episodes at a time. Several members of the cast have admitted that when they finished filming thirteen episodes, there was always an air of apprehension while they waited to see if ABC would renew the program or not. The program stayed on the air because of its popularity among children.
The theme song (written by show creator & producer, Sherwood Schwartz was performed by The Peppermint Trolley Company for the show's first season. The last four seasons, it was sang by the Brady kids, and re-recorded yearly. During the first season, a Brady Bunch writer, director, or producer, overheard and discovered Peter Brady, Christopher Knight rehearsing the theme song, alone and suggested them to sing it together. This led to all six siblings singing the show's introductory song for the last four seasons and 92 episodes.
During the series run Florence Henderson lobbied the producers constantly to allow Carol Brady to get out in the workforce. Henderson thought this would be more in line with how she was in real life. Unfortunately, the producers kept the character of Carol Brady unemployed.
The show received lots of viewer fan mail, including a few letters from children asking if they could come live with the Bradys, since their own families were troubled or imperfect. Show creator Sherwood Schwartz answered those letters with a reminder that "The Brady Bunch" was only a television show, and the children would do best to make the most of their own home situations.
The names of Mike's and Carol's previous spouses were never mentioned, throughout the show's five seasons. In fact, the only time a picture was shown of Mike's previous wife was in the very first episode and held by Bobby.
The Brady kids attended Westdale High School, Fillmore Junior High and Clinton Elementary School. However, in The Brady Bunch: Eenie, Meenie, Mommy, Daddy (1969), the name of Cindy's school was Dixie Canyon Elementary School (an elementary school in Studio City, California) in reality.
The Brady's home address was 4222 Clinton Way. Their telephone number was 762-0799 - mentioned just once by Jan in The Brady Bunch: The Not-So-Ugly Duckling (1970). Even though it was widely known that the show was set in the Los Angeles suburbs, the name of the specific town they lived in was never mentioned.
The Bradys all drove Chrysler Corporation vehicles (until the final season). Mike Brady drove a 1968 blue Dodge Polara convertible in the pilot; a 1969 Plymouth Fury III convertible also blue; second season a 1970 Plymouth Fury III convertible in blue; a 1970 blue Plymouth Barracuda convertible in year three; a 1971 Plymouth Barracuda convertible in year three (in one episode it has a rear clip from the '72 Barracuda; Plymouth dropped the Barracuda convertible in 1971); also there was a 1972 blue Chevrolet Impala convertible; a red 1973 Chevrolet Caprice convertible; and a dark red 1974 Chevrolet Caprice convertible in year five (the one Greg and Marcia used for their "driving test"). The "Bradys" 1974 dark red Caprice was also used in an episode of The Odd Couple in 1975. Carol, on the other hand, drove five different Plymouth Satellite station wagons, one representing each year from 1969 through '73. The '69 took the Bunch on an overnight camping trip in season one; the '71 took them to the Grand Canyon in season three; and the '72 was involved in a fender bender in the later part of that same season. The vehicles were loaned to Paramount by the Chrysler Corporation and The Chevrolet motor Division for filming. Incidentally, the 1969 Plymouth Fury III convertible that "Mike Brady" drove was recently restored to showroom condition.
Robert Reed refused to be in the pie throwing segment of The Brady Bunch: Welcome Aboard (1974), for there was no speaking dialogues. He called it "dumb" as if it were still silent movies of Keystone Cops' era.
This was the first television series to be created and produced by Paramount Studios, which up until that time had been a movie studio exclusively. Earlier TV shows, such as Star Trek (1966) and Bonanza (1959), were acquired by Paramount when the studio purchased Desilu.
Allan Melvin, who played the recurring role of Sam Franklin and Sam the Butcher, concurrently played a recurring role on All in the Family (1971), which is often viewed as an antithesis, (opposite genre and personality) to The Brady Bunch, Melvin also was comical, Sergeant Hacker, on Gomer Pyle: USMC (1964), that starred Jim Nabors. Allan Melvin also acted as a criminal occasionally on The Andy Griffith Show (1960) earlier in his career. Nabors and Melvin work acted on Andy Griffith's show.