‘The Brady Bunch’: Alice Actress Ann B. Davis Was Once Hospitalized after Filming Pilot for Show that Never Aired

by Joe Rutland

Before starring as Alice on “The Brady Bunch,” actress Ann B. Davis was looking for a new gig. One TV show pilot ended up injuring her.

Davis, who played Alice the housekeeper for five seasons on the ABC sitcom, starred in 1963 in a pilot called “Get With It.” The show was a spinoff, according to an article from Variety, of the NBC show “McKeever and the Colonel.”

When Davis was filming the pilot, she ended up in the hospital with a strained arch. Davis told Variety reporter Army Archerd at the time that it was because of “prolonged marching scenes.”

“McKeever and the Colonel” was a sitcom about a young cadet, played by Scott Lane, always getting in trouble at his boys’ military academy. That led to his superior officer, played by Allyn Joslyn, going a bit bonkers on the young kid. Jackie Coogan also starred as Sgt. Barnes as the show lasted one season in 1962-63 on NBC.

Davis’ pilot, obviously, didn’t make it to the TV screen. It’s OK. She had just spent time playing Schultzy on “The Bob Cummings Show” between 1955-59, pocketing two Emmy Awards for her work.

In 1969, “The Brady Bunch” creator Sherwood Schwartz was looking to hire an actress to play the housekeeper role. Davis ends up getting the part and has been appearing on TVs around the world, thanks to reruns, for decades.

‘The Brady Bunch’ Star Recalls How Much Robert Reed Didn’t Like Show

While Davis loved playing Alice on “The Brady Bunch” all five seasons it was on the air, costar Robert Reed was no fan.

In fact, Reed, who happened to be a Shakespearean-trained actor, had a hard time seeing himself playing the role of Mike Brady.

“Bob was not a happy man on that set because, for one thing, he didn’t want to do the pilot,” Davis said in an interview for  The Brady Bunch Exposed documentary. “It was a contractual thing he had to do the pilot. And I think he was disappointed that [“The Brady Bunch”] sold.

“I mean, he had quite a classical training background,” Davis said, “and I don’t really think that working on a children’s show was his idea of where he wanted to go with his career. And so that you know there was that tension right from the start.”

What made Reed do the pilot for the show? His contract with Paramount Studios. Reed was under contract with them and, reportedly, two other pilots he had done didn’t get picked up. Schwartz came up with the idea for the show and cast Reed as the father.

“The Brady Bunch” has been quite a popular show, as we mentioned earlier, thanks to its run in syndication. But Reed never was happy on the show’s set. Davis and Florence Henderson, who played Carol Brady, were the ones along with Reed who would offer guidance to the child stars.

Reed died on May 12, 1992, at 59 years old. His death was attributed to him being HIV-positive. Davis died on June 1, 2014. Henderson died on Nov. 24, 2016.