Barry Williams talks about his new Brady book
Somewhere high above Texas, the original Brady cast sat drenched in a first-class cabin. Earlier, doing publicity for the 1990 spin-off The Bradys, they were caught in a Florida deluge while taping an outdoor segment of The Sally Jessy Raphael Show. Now, Florence Henderson (Mom) jovially signed autographs, Ann B. Davis (Alice the maid) knitted, and Susan Olsen and Mike Lookinland (Cindy and Bobby) debated the merits of Jim Beam versus Jack Daniel’s. Thus begins Growing Up Brady: I Was a Teenage Greg. Barry Williams and his coauthor, Chris Kreski, MTV’s editorial director, have concocted a lighthearted tell-all about Williams’ years on the show — a witty Goodbye to All That for the Brady generation.
Williams includes a behind-the-scenes account of each episode. ”I could’ve ended up writing a book that was about as interesting as the Brady shows themselves,” he says. ”But there is drama, there is conflict.” And it’s all there in 29 chapters that include ”Dating Your Mom” and ”Cindy and Bobby, Sittin’ in a Tree.” He gives his thoughts on early stardom in ”Child Actor To Be or Not to Be.” The top salary for the kids during the show’s run was $1,100 per week — ”hardly enough to carry you through the slow periods that inevitably followed,” he writes.
Even though most cast members usually won’t discuss the show, Williams persuaded all of them to share their memories. ”I have a long history with them,” he says. ”Over 23 years. I think they trust me.” Here are the best of the book’s feuds, flings, and adolescent antics:
GREG PLUS MOM: Florence Henderson indulged her 15-year-old TV’s son crush by accepting a date to the L.A. nightclub Coconut Grove one night. Yes, she kissed him good night.
PETER PLUS JAN: After the show was cancelled in 1974, Eve Plumb and Chris Knight experienced make-out interruptus when the police found them entangled in the back of his truck in a secluded parking spot in the L.A. hills.
BOBBY PLUS CINDY: The youngest Bradys used to sneak off to Tiger’s doghouse for make-out sessions, and even staged a mock wedding ceremony. The relationship ended, says Olsen, when her beau began to notice the older actresses’ breasts.
DAD VERSUS SCHWARTZ: Robert Reed, a Method actor rooted in Shakespeare, fired off several exhaustive memos to Brady producer Sherwood Schwartz explaining the subtle difference between melodrama, comedy, farce, etc. He also occasionally showed up on the set drunk, just out of spite.
MOM PLUS JOE: Henderson surprised guest star Joe Namath when they were filming his goodbye scene by leaping on him, wrapping her legs around his waist, and begging him to take her with him.
ROLLING STONED: On a day off in 1972, Williams, 17, was called to the Paramount lot after smoking a joint at home, and had to film a scene stoned, glassy-eyed, and smiling.
TO BRA OR NOT TO BRA: McCormick and Plumb tried to go braless on the set as much as possible. A producer used to sneak up and feel their backs to to make sure they were properly dressed.
GREG PLUS MARCIA: In 1973 Williams and McCormick nearly consummated their mutual admiration dinner at his parents’ house in Santa Monica, Calif. Alas, just when things were starting to heat up in his bedroom to the strains of Barry White, they were interrupted by his mother’s call for dessert.