HomeAmerican EntertainmentTVClassic TV‘The Brady Bunch’: How This Western Nearly Changed the Course of Classic TV History

‘The Brady Bunch’: How This Western Nearly Changed the Course of Classic TV History

by Taylor Cunningham
TV's Brady Bunch family as they appeared in (top) the original 1969-74 series and (bottom) the 1981 series The Brady Brides.

The Brady Bunch nearly went down in classic TV history with a much less catchy name—The Brady Brood.

While it seems ridiculous that creator Sherwood Schwartz would dub his wholesome and groovy sitcom family as a brood, it’s true. In fact, the show went through a short span where the alternative title was its official name.

According to a picture once posted by A Very Brady Blog, the script for the pilot episode—The Honeymoon—had The Brady Brood printed at the top. But someone eventually crossed out “Brood” and replaced it with “Bunch.”

Apparently, the studio had a very reasonable excuse (for the 60s) for the strange name though. In 1969, a not so wholesome Western called The Wild Bunch premiered. The movie was a smash hit and brought in high reviews and two Oscar nominations. But it was also highly provocative for the day.

The Creators Believed That ‘The Brady Bunch’ Sounded Similar to the Lewd Western ‘The Wild Bunch’

The Wild Bunch was full of blood, swearing, and nudity. In fact, the movie was so lewd that it stood a chance of never being released.

Up until 1968, there was no rating system. And to be sure that innocent minds weren’t subjected to unsavory content, all movies had to be family-friendly. In that era, that meant that married couples couldn’t even sleep in the same bed. So, if the review board had watched the first few mins of the flick, it would have been immediately banned.

But somehow director Sam Peckinpah lucked out, and the G through R MPAA system came out just in time to allow the film—with an R rating attached.

Because the Wild Bunch was practically everything that Swartz didn’t want The Brady Bunch to be, he was scared that people would associate his series with the risky words and images in the Western. So, he opted for The Brady Brood instead.

For a time, the family surname wasn’t going to be Brady either. Originally the lovely lady met a man named Bradley. And while deciding on a name, Schwartz and his team played with the idea of The Bradleys and The Bradley Bunch.

The script also revealed another major change up that Schwartz made before officially debuting the Bradys. Before Anne B. David took the role of the quirky and loveable housemade, a woman named “Kris” was standing in her place.

Not only was the name different, but so was the persona. The script described Kris as a “middle-aged” woman with “a fondness for her own good cooking [that] has made her plump.” And to top it off, this intended maid was also supposed to be Swedish.