Imagine being a child actor in the mid-1970s as Saturday Night Live was taking off. Better yet, imagine the set you’re working on is right next door to one where Chevy Chase is filming a special. That’s the exact situation the children of “The Brady Bunch” cast found themselves in. And apparently, they ditched their teacher to go hang out with the legend.
There are few personalities in entertainment that can rival the humor of Chevy Chase. The legendary comedy actor starred in classic titles like “Caddyshack” and “National Lampoon’s Vacation.” He’s definitely a type of figure that young actors would gravitate toward.
Susan Olsen and Mike Lookinland remembered how he and Paul Shaffer used to snatch them from class to hang out during the filming of “The Brady Bunch Variety Hour.” In an interview from the DVD release of the show, Susan tells the story.
“Chevy Chase was filming a special there. And Paul Shaffer was with him. And we used to ditch school. You and me and Jerry would ditch school,” Olsen recalled. “And Paul would play the piano, Jerry would sing, you and I would, I don’t know, pick our noses. Chevy Chase would pretend to play the- or do something funny. And we’d see the teacher through the window. She’s off looking for us. I thought, ‘Wow. At last, we’ve learned how to ditch school on a set. This is really cool.’ So Chevy Chase and Paul Shaffer contributed to the corruption of us minors.”
Susan Olsen and Mike Lookinland on ‘The Brady Bunch’
Susan Olsen and Mike Lookinland played the two youngest children of “The Brady Bunch.” As Bobby and Cindy, they appeared in every episode of the show. But their age meant that there were some pretty strict rules on set.
To protect minors, child labor laws require that underage actors only work a certain amount of hours per day. Further, they require children to receive equivalent schooling to what they’d get outside of the industry. As a result, the two youngest Brady’s spent plenty of time with a tutor on set.
But these laws aren’t perfect, especially when the children themselves would rather be doing things like hanging out with Chevy Chase. And in one case, working longer hours than they were allowed. In the interview, Susan remembered how she and Mike nearly had their work permits revoked for trying to cheat the system.
“We used to say goodbye to the welfare worker, and we’d drive off the lot and then we’d sneak back and come in. And one day, she was waiting for us. So we almost got our work permits revoked because of that,” Susan said.
It was especially tough for them because they were the only underage members of the cast at that time. Thankfully, they were allowed to continue working on “The Brady Bunch Variety Hour.”