There’s a reason that Robert Reed didn’t appear in the final episode of The Brady Bunch.
The series creator Sherwood Schwartz revealed to the Emmys why Reed isn’t in the last story. In real life, he objected to the plot of the episode. It concerned the youngest Bobby is selling hair tonic. The oldest Greg bought some from him, the only bottle he sold. Then the next day, his hair turned green on the day of his graduation.
“Bob called and said [that was an] outlandish story, unbelievable, ridiculous and I won’t do the show,” he recalled.
Schwartz said that The Brady Bunch does its research. They contacted Clairol and said that the biggest problem that they have on a weekly basis is lawsuits from customers saying that their hair turned orange, green, or black.
“But he wouldn’t even listen he said I won’t do the show,” he continued. “He didn’t tell me this the week before the morning of the show. He calls and tells me that he can’t do the show, won’t do the show. I have to use the word ‘won’t’ because that was his word. So it’s early and I was shaving actually what’d he call I said to myself I quickly reviewed that episode and he was really very light in it. He wasn’t in it very much at all and I saw that I could remove him from one scene and put in Davis. I could rearrange another scene and let Florence take his dialogue and it could easily be done.”
The New Plot of ‘The Brady Bunch’
Once he was finished showering, he called his secretary and told her the news and that the new The Brady Bunch script was coming to them.
“She was terrific just took it all down and I said put that in and work immediately and get it to the cast,” he added. “She did and she was told and so they all got this new script and I get a call from Bob Reed’s agent who said what are you doing about the script.”
Schwartz told his manager that he did not have to report for work in the week. This also meant that he is not getting paid or residuals from the episodes. The agent questioned how he would even take him out of the show.
“The ball is not in my court. It was in his court now, it’s in my court. I said him to stay home, go play golf or tennis. Do what you want.” The manager begged him to let him talk to Bob again to attempt at convincing him. Schwartz clarified that he did not ask for new lines or to be out of the majority of the episode, but the episode in its entirety. He alerted the network, Paramount, and they approved. Then things got complicated.
“We’re in the midst of shooting and he shows up, Bob Reed shows up at the stage door,” he shared. “He comes in and says hello I said hi. I said you didn’t have to come down… He’s well I’m very interested in the show he says this show means a lot to me. I said well it means a lot to me too but that’s how things are.”
He ended up standing on the stage in the view of the other actors. Schwartz noted that it was disturbing to the other actors with learning the new script and him not working. He asked him to step aside to get out of their eyeline because he didn’t want the kids to be confused or upset.
However, Reed did not want to move and refused. So Schwartz had to call the head of Paramount Television. He suggested that security hauls The Brady Bunch father off the set. But Schwartz believed that it would have hurt the actors’ feelings. He pleaded with Reed one last time to avail. It ended with high fives and a great sitcom.